UNESCO Cultural landscape of Colombia coffee

Cultural landscape of Colombia coffee

The Eje Cafetero (Spanish for ‘coffee ash’, where ash represents a geometric axis) is the most important coffee-producing area in Colombia. The area is also called Zona Cafetera and Triángulo del Café (‘coffee triangle’). Since 2011, as a coffee culture landscape of Colombia, it is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Coffee, among others from the Eje Cafetero, is one of the most important export products in the country. In 2013 Colombia produced almost 11 million bags of 60 kg, a growth compared to 2012 of 41%.


The Eje Cafetero is made up of 48 municipalities in the departments of Valle del Cauca (9), Risaralda (11), Caldas (17) and Quindío (11). The western part of the Eje Cafetero is located in the Cordillera Occidental, while the eastern side is located in the Cordillera Central. The central part is formed by the valley of the Cauca. The climatic (temperatures of 8-24 ° C), topographic (heights of 950 to 3000 meters) and geological features of this mountainous area proved ideal for the production of high-quality coffee. Much of the coffee from the Eje Cafetero is exported to Europe. The most famous brand of coffee in Colombia is Juan Valdez.


In the area, in addition to the publicly available coffee plantations, there are more tourist attractions. Transport to many of the places in the rural areas goes with typical Willys Jeeps. The Park Parque Nacional del Café in Montenegro, Quindío is specially designed for coffee cultivation.

Municipalities in the Eje Cafetero

The Eje Cafetero sensu stricto is formed by 48 municipalities in four Colombian departments. In a broad sense, other municipalities in the departments and municipalities in the neighboring departments of Antioquia and Tolima are also counted among the Eje Cafetero. The World Heritage is limited to the list below of which the altitudes, unless otherwise indicated, mean the heights of the community centers.

The Coffee route

The first coffee, a plant originally from Africa, was cultivated on a commercial scale in Salazar de las Palmas in the department of Norte de Santander in Colombia. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the agricultural culture in the current Eje Cafetero consisted mainly of rubber production and agriculture initially concentrated on beans, corn and bananas. In the course of the 20th century, the area became a coffee-producing region.  Over the years, coffee cultivation has improved considerably and harvesting periods have become shorter, although bean is still treated in the traditional way. The quality of the coffee is high, which means that most of the coffee from the Eje Cafetero is not sold in Colombia, but is exported mainly to Europe, but also to the United States.


In the summer of 2013, large-scale protests broke out in the Eje Cafetero against the signing by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos of a free trade agreement between Colombia and the United States. The large-scale peasant protests in Colombia started with blockades in Boyacá. The dairy farmers in Belén lost about 30,000 liters of milk per day and in total 8,000 farming families, which together produced 300,000 liters per day, were the victims. The damage caused by the strikes was estimated at 270 million Colombian pesos. At the peak of the strikes, 60,000 Colombian coffee farmers participated in the Eje Cafetero and 100,000 farmers in Huila.

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Coffee route
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