Finding a Colombian coffee plantation tour with little money and minimal time was frustrating, time-consuming and of course, expensive. But that's okay, because what we got out of it was the next best thing: an unforgettable, (and affordable) coffee education and tasting experience at Toucan Café in the city of eternal spring, Medellín (MEH-DE-JEAN). This super informative, intimate and laid back Coffee Tasting Experience touched on everything from coffee history, to coffee farming, production, exporting, roasting, tasting and brewing.
COFFEE KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
From what I understand, each coffee professional at Toucan has an expertise. They have baristas that lead barista trainings, coffee growers/buyers that accompany tour guides to plantations, and in this case, you have the very passionate, very tenacious, Juan—leading the onsite tasting class.
We couldn’t have asked for a better experience from a very experienced industry professional in Juan. His passion for coffee first started in his family, and can now be found in many different places. When he’s not writing about coffee on his blog, Coffee IQ, you'll find him searching for Colombia’s next best coffee as a coffee buyer at Mercanta - The Coffee Hunters. You can read more about Juan and his thoughts on speciality coffee in Colombia over at my friend’s coffee blog, Balls n Beans.
It’s fitting that Juan would work for Toucan Café, a company that genuinely cares about educating people on Café de Colombia. But that’s not all they do, they’re also passionate about sharing Medellín with travelers. Whether it’s on the role street tart has played in the city's recent revivial, or the reliance on exports like coffee and chocolate, Toucan Café and Tours really does care. I highly recommend them when considering a coffee-related tour in Medellín.
QUALITY OVER QUANTITY
As far as the coffee quality goes...Well, it's fully local, masterfully roasted and socially and environmentally responsible. That should speak for itself. And any café that sells coffee education before the coffee itself, I will support 100%. Forever a student of coffee, I at times value the education more than I do the product itself. And obviously, if you know the bean, you’ll know how to serve a good cup. No problem there!
Towards the end of our class, we got to try the coffee we cupped brewed via a few different methods: French Press, pour over, Chemex and siphon. My favorite was the Chemex. They also made us lattes and cappuccinos, explaining the differences between the two as well.
For someone that originally preferred an educational visit to a plantation over a café, I have to say, I was incredibly satisfied with my choice to partake in the tasting experience at Toucan. I think allocating apart of your café’s business to education is a smart long-term investment, and I’m not sure why more cafés aren’t catering to all of the curious coffee geeks out there.
WHEN IN MEDELLIN, GO TO TOUCAN
So yeah, when in the city of eternal spring, visit Toucan Café! Educate yourself, taste great coffee, and bridge that ever-so long gap between seed and cup. It’ll be worth every penny of your $17. If you’re a coffee lover on a budget like yours truly, even more reason to take advantage of this incredibly educational and tasty experience at Toucan Café.
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