Urban Coffee Tour started in 2017, when one of its founders saw a need to develop a coffee tour in Medellín for travelers with limited time in Colombia who were still interested in learning more about the scientific side of coffee making.
It may not be a surprise to many that coffee is the second largest export in Colombia. One could say that coffee is synonymous with Colombia. And Colombia’s climate makes it a perfect place to grow these magical little beans.
In Medellín, there’s no shortage of coffee tours. Usually, the coffee tours consist of a day trip to the countryside at a coffee farm.
However, as lovely as these tours are – I was always curious what happens AFTER the farm? Where do the beans go? And how do they actually extract particular flavors? Luckily, there’s a new tour called the Urban Coffee Tour in Medellín that can answer those questions.
Having limited time, myself, I was excited to embark upon this new coffee tour. I’m also an avid coffee drinker but yet I never really knew how my coffee was made. In addition, I was eager to learn more about the differences between the different types of coffee you see in local menus.
Urban Coffee Tour: Meeting Location
The Urban Coffee Tour meets at the Floresta metro station on Line B of the Medellín metro at 10 am. Meet your tour guide under the X, as shown in the photo below.
If you need some guidance on how to use Medellin’s metro, check out our Medellín metro guide here.
Our lovely tour guide, Sebastian, met us promptly at 10 am. Sebastian was friendly from the get-go and it was an added bonus that he spoke fluent English.
If you have any questions before the tour, Sebastian was very accessible via WhatsApp. The number that is available on the website for questions is (+57) 310 427 7490.
Urban Coffee Tour: The Tour Beginning
Once our entire group had arrived, we began the tour by talking a bit about the history of Medellín. As evidenced by the name of the tour, we would not only be learning about coffee, but a bit about Medellín’s urban landscape.
The tour includes a history of the neighborhood (Floresta) and a bit of background about the coffee culture in Medellín.
We started out by not only learning about the beautiful Medellín, but also trying a hot cup of tinto. If you’re not familiar with tinto, there’s probably a good reason.
Tinto can mean a few different things depending on the country and place that is using the word. Here in Medellín, a tinto is Paisa speak for a tiny, quick cup of coffee. A tinto is not high-quality coffee. It is a mix of the leftover (good and bad) coffee beans.
People often don’t drink tinto for its quality. They drink tinto because it’s a cheap and easy way to grab coffee on the go. You can find tinto in many of the local coffee shops, panaderias or local stands in Medellín. Some people even joke a tinto is milk or sugar, with a side of coffee.
So, you’re probably wondering, why are we trying such crap coffee on a coffee tour?
I actually enjoyed the logic behind this. It’s important to know where all coffee comes from, both good and bad, and how it’s integrated into the culture. Don’t worry, the quality of coffee we tasted only went up from here.
I don’t want to give too many secrets of the tour away, but one thing I will note is how pleasant it was to walk through a beautiful part of Floresta on our way to the roasting plant.
After our tinto, the tour consisted of about 30 minutes of walking, talking, learning and sightseeing. We walked through several parks, up a few stairs and saw some beautiful views of the mountainsides.
As a person who has mainly resided within Poblado and Laureles, I enjoyed seeing a new neighborhood in Medellín. It really opened my eyes to how large and vast the city is. I found the walk to be easy, but it is about 1 mile (1.6 km) so bring comfortable shoes and water.
As you near the roasting plant, you will continue to learn more about the history of Medellin. I enjoyed that the guide was open to steering the tour towards our group’s interest, and was very accepting of any questions that we did have.
Urban Coffee Tour: The Roasting Facility
I knew we were getting close to the roasting facility as I could smell the coffee from a few blocks away.
When we arrived, we were greeted by Juan, who works with the roasting plant and utilizes the coffee for his own coffee shop in Estadio called Kory Café. And you could immediately tell he was knowledgeable and had a passion for roasting.
I happened to have met Juan a few weeks prior when I stopped by Kory Cafe and had a cold brew before a Nacional game. This coffee stand is located between the Estadio metro station and the stadium. It was genuinely one of the best cold brews I had ever tasted. This man knows his stuff.
We did a brief tour of the roasting plant and learned just how detailed the process is. Again, I don’t want to give away all the juicy details of the tour, but I can say that if you’re wanting to truly understand the scientific process behind your coffee – you’ll enjoy this tour immensely.
We were able to try a few types of coffee and I immediately noticed the different flavors. It was a pleasant surprise to be sent home with a free bag of their coffee, which I can enjoy in my own kitchen.
After we toured the plant, we headed back on the metro to Juan’s coffee shop where we tasted two more types of coffees.
I think the highlight of the tour was being able to sit, people watch and ask Juan and Sebastian a few more questions about life in Medellín, their coffee preferences and the process. It also gave me time to chat with my fellow tour mates and get to know some travelers from all over the world.
The tour ended around 1 pm. In addition, if you are looking for a bite to eat, there are snacks at the coffee shop or you are very close to LA 70 with a plethora of restaurants. The guide will be sure to point you in the right direction.
Urban Coffee Tour: Information
You can schedule a tour through their website:
Telephone: +57 310 427 7490
Cost: The tour in 2020 costs 80,000 pesos (about $24 USD).
Tours in Medellín
We have covered several different tours in Medellín:
- Two of the best walking tours in Medellín – walking tours are one of the best ways to explore Medellín, especially a tour of El Centro by Real City Tours.
- Self-Guided Metro Tour: A City Tour of Medellin – a self-guided tour of Medellin using the Medellín Metro system.
- Graffiti Tour of Comuna 13 – a community that has been transformed by improved accessibility, street art and community solidarity.
- La Sierra Tours tours – in the La Sierra barrio in Medellín – this community is being transformed with improved accessibility and investment.
- Pablo Escobar Tours – is a controversial Escobar tour worth going on? We do not recommend or endorse activities that appear to glorify Escobar.
- Urban Coffee Tour – a coffee tour in Medellín.
We also provided a recommended tourist itinerary for a day in Medellín.
The Bottom Line: Urban Coffee Tour
Overall, the Urban Coffee Tour was different than anything else I have experienced here in Medellín.
It was a combination of history lesson, neighborhood tour and a thorough scientific understanding of the coffee process. Furthermore, it’s the perfect length if you don’t have quite the amount of time to take an extended coffee tour outside of the city.
Also, if you are looking for a good coffee shop, see our article about the six best coffee shops in El Poblado.
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Editors note: updated on February 18, 2020 with current information including the current cost of the Urban Coffee Tour.