I’ve been drinking the coffee here, mostly to entertain my “when in Rome” mentality and partly because I really love it. I gave up drinking coffee a few years ago when I started to get caffeine withdrawal headaches, but the genuine Colombian stuff is just so freakin good – and so prolific – I haven’t been able to turn it down. But I think I overdid it on Friday when I had one of the worst hangovers I’d ever experienced.

Friday was our day-trip to Café de la Clima, a small, family-run coffee farm that gives plantation tours and explains the whole process from seed to roast. In the morning everything was peachy. We took the small bus to the big bus to the taxi jeep, which took us up the hill to the farm where we traipsed through the mountainside that was dotted with shrubby coffee trees planted in meandering rows. We even helped collect some small red coffee berries and dropped them into their collector – a trashcan with a chest strap. Now because their farm is essentially carved into the mountain, the easiest way to carry the beans down would be to employ gravity some way, which they’ve done by laying a pipe from the top of their harvesting area all the way to the bottom where the beans spill out into a container near the fermenter.

After the tour we were treated to a delicious lunch of chicken, rice, vegetables and arepas all served in a giant plantain leaf. After seeing the inner workings of the farm, and finally being able to truly appreciate the work that goes into perfecting each bean, how was I supposed to turn down a lovely cup of highly caffeinated homebrew? So what that it was my second one for the day. I gladly dumped in my sugar packet and delighted in the intense flavor.

After lunch was our coffee taste-testing challenge. Four different roasts from three different companies put our senses to the test. And, not having been able to properly drink the samples, I felt obliged to at least have one more cup before we hit the road.

Now, you would think after three cups for the day – after not really drinking coffee for several years – I would have a serious caffeine buzz going on, but instead I passed out on the bus ride home and continued to be a cranky mess until we got back to Paola’s. By the time we were back in our room it was already dark out and a monster of a headache was slowly spreading from the front of my forehead to encompass my entire skull. Not only that, but there were a few moments when I was sure I was about to throw up my delicious lunch.

Anywho, the coffee hangover continued all night – I think I slept about an hour in total – and into the next morning where it was hard to get out of bed. Thank god this ecohostel was able to scrape up some conventional painkillers. The point is, like Pablo Escobar, Colombian coffee can be dangerous.


January 26, 2014