Into the Cloud Forest: Finding a New Specialty Tea Origin in Colombia

ARRIVAL Sitting on the plane, having made my way from Los Angeles to Miami and now to Santiago de Cali, Colombia, it occurred to me that I hadn’t actually met anyone who’d been to this place. I’ve known a few people that have traveled to Colombia, sure, but had I met anyone who’d been to a secluded, shrouded-in-clouds mountaintop tea estate? Not even Brian Keating, of tea consulting company Sage Group, had been there, and he helped organize the trip. I was an American meeting a contact in Colombia, who would take me into a tropical cloud forest to discuss the [...]

Into the Cloud Forest: Finding a New Specialty Tea Origin in Colombia 2018-06-10T11:05:04+00:00

The History of Tea in Colombia

This is an expanded section of a larger article detailing tea growing in Colombia and my travels there. You can read the full article here. The history of tea in Colombia is, in part, a history of the Llano family. 1960 - Té La Sophia At the beginning of the 1950s, the Colombian Department of Agriculture set out to stimulate their export economy, after a series of conflicts and economic downturns, with tea seeds bought from Sri Lanka (both sinensis and assamica). They originally planted these seeds in Cundinamarca department (around Sasaima) and Santander Department (north of Bogotá). It [...]

The History of Tea in Colombia 2018-06-07T21:59:08+00:00

Processing Methods in Colombia

This is an expanded section of a larger article detailing tea growing in Colombia and my travels there. You can read the full article here. In addition to owning their tea garden, Bitaco has built a brand new, state-of-the-art tea processing plant outfitted with equipment purchased from India and organized specifically for the purposes of making top quality tea. It's perhaps the most modern tea processing facility in the Americas. Below is an in-depth, detailed account of how they process their black and greens tea. They still processed some tea in their older Hindú facility, just down the road, but much of [...]

Processing Methods in Colombia 2018-06-07T21:56:20+00:00

Tea Tasting at Bitaco

This is an expanded section of a larger article detailing tea growing in Colombia and my travels there. You can read the full article here. At a conference table in Bitaco's processing facility, I sat down to do a full cupping of all of their teas. Mind you, I don't find myself in a subtropical cloud forest tea tasting very often, so I was eager to warm up my palate and taste what I had been experiencing this whole trip. They, on the other hand, have to do this every day to test batches they’ve just worked on, benchmarking quality as they [...]

Tea Tasting at Bitaco 2018-06-10T17:07:06+00:00