Carulla es Café 2014

Carulla es cafe invitation 300 sqImagine some of Colombia’s best coffees all in one place ready for you to taste test. Now throw in beautiful gardens, connoisseur chocolates and classic Colombian music played on a violin. Oh yes, we were there. This year the event ran from August 22 through the 24th.

carulla es cafe invitation 2 320 sqMichael: As soon as we received our invitation to Carulla es Café we cleared our schedule. Not just because it was a chance to better get to know some of the country’s best coffee, but also because the ambiance would be enjoyable.

Graciela: They hosted the event at the Choco museum. The place is a surviving example of Colonial architecture in Bogotá. Once a finca (farm) on the outskirts it is now surrounded by the city of over eight million people.

Michael: Carulla is a grocery store chain in Colombia noted for offering quality products. We do 90% of our grocery shopping there.

carulla es cafe ladies 1280The adventure began even before we made it to the entrance. Young ladies in colorful dresses of an earlier period welcomed us and were kind enough to pose for photos in front of a coffee jeep.

carulla es cafe ballotGraciela: Once inside we received a smile and “Buenos Días.” They traded our invitation for a brochure and a coffee taste ballot.

Next came the life of a coffee plant from seedling to bean bearing bush. I liked that not only were there pictures and explanations but also the living specimens.

Michael: The chronological time of coffee interested me. The story panels mention how the Boston Tea Party helped push Americans towards coffee, the role that coffee played for our GI’s in WWII and that it was 1732 when the first coffee plant started in Colombia. But it was not until 1836 that the country began exporting the beans.

Next the smell of fresh roasted coffee beans enveloped us. A gentleman with a sophisticated roasting machine demonstrated the process and explained differences in the end product.

carulla es cafe tasting room bluredThen my favorite part opened before me, the tasting room. I swished saliva around my mouth and prepared my taste buds.

Graciela: That was the point where my husband’s eyes widened and one could almost see the gears turning as he tried to figure out which to start with.

carulla es cafe nestle anaFinally extraditing Michael from he building we took note of the lecture subjects and time taking place in a small auditorium. We chose one presentation by Ana Contreras of Nestle covering the coffee business in Colombia and the part her company plays in it.

Michael: I am very proud of my wife. Contreras gave away prizes for attendees who remembered facts she spouted off. We went home with couple boxes of a limited edition coffee thanks to Graciela and her memory.

Graciela: Many tables with umbrellas sat around the yard allowing attendees to take a break and enjoy a snack.

Next we entered a tent hosting chocolate vendors. I enjoy the sweet product as much as my husband enjoys his coffee.

carulla es cafe gardens 02Michael: The next section impressed and delighted me. Through a portal we entered the garden of the old hacienda. Beautiful flowers colored raised beds. Colombian music from a violin wafted across the space. Inside a door to the building Carulla offered not just the various coffees for sale, but food to eat. While I went for sushi made to my order, my wife chose a fresh sandwich on special bread designed to her liking.

Graciela: We enjoyed the nice day outside with the gardens around us and ate our lunch.

What followed was the lady from Nestle invited us into their company’s special exhibition. There an employee demonstrated their coffee machine that has only been out for eight months. And of course we got a coffee from it.

Michael: I returned to the tasting tent just to double check my thoughts about the best coffee, then marked my choice and deposited my ballot.

Graciela: Now we are looking forward the Carulla es Café in 2015 and hope to see you there.

For more photos check out our narrated slide show of the event

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