4 traditions around coffee that you should know
Around this delicious drink, cultural practices that forge the Coffee Cultural Landscape have been consolidated. Various elements among architecture, gastronomy and its people live inside the streets and fields of the Colombian coffee towns. We will discover four traditions around coffee that you should know if you want to visit this region of Colombia:
Use of medicinal plants
It is very typical that around the coffee architecture there are beautiful gardens created and protected with great wisdom, patience and love by women. The plants are a whole universe to discover, and it is totally linked to the coffee culture.
Doña Ligia has a large first aid kit in her house: pennyroyal, aloe, spearmint, basil, are some of the plants that inspire her daily chore. Throughout the years, thanks to her grandmother and her mother, doña Ligia has built an invaluable knowledge about this universe.
Doña Ligia en El Patio de Experiencia Cafetera.
The use of plants as medicine and food goes back many years; natives had a harmonious relationship with nature and from it they supported all their needs with respect and reciprocity. Nowadays, this knowledge still lives in the coffee culture, with the ladies that from yard to yard exchange gajitos (buds of a plant), recipes, infusions and remedies and a casual chat about fulanito (the neighbor).
Undoubtedly the plants and flowers that garnish the houses and streets of the coffee towns are the product and pride of these women who daily fertilize, speak and pamper their flowered garden.
Corn and gastronomy
Corn, indigenous ancestral food that today is the essential raw material in the Colombian gastronomy and coffee culture, from which different and succulent foods are prepared: arepa, buñuelo, natilla, cakes, subidos, envueltos, tamales and drinks such as masato, mazamorra and chicha.
Envueltos de maíz.
They are part of a diversity of dishes that were taking shape with the fusion of other foods brought from Europe and Africa at the time of the Spanish colonization and that until now are offered as part of the delicious cuisine of the Coffee Cultural Landscape, as one of the most desired by travelers visiting Colombia.
We invite you to try many of the typical dishes that are prepared from this crop that was here before coffee and that you will be able to find in any market place or main park of a municipality of the coffee region.
Processions, great devotion to the virgin with altars in homes, neighborhoods and veredas, different religious celebrations all year round and with special tradition in the December time (see article about December traditions) are some of the cultural manifestations of the Coffee Cultural Landscape related to the Catholic religion.
Especially women are the leaders of religious communities in a municipality, at least once a week they join in groups to pray the rosary, actively participate in groups and meetings of the church, and all the time they profess great respect and faith for the religious deities to their family and visitors to the coffee region.
If you are in a coffee region, do not hesitate to visit the church in the main park, some altar of the Virgin with its special decoration of popular art, participate in a procession, or talk to a lady about her religious fervor.
Use of clay and bamboo
The coffee mountains, in addition to the coffee and plantain crops, have nearby streams and plants of guadua, which for many years were the most used resource for the manufacture of houses with techniques such as bahareque.
The bahareque is the type of indigenous and peasant construction based on natural materials such as guadua, earth and cow dung. It was used for the construction of houses, churches, farms, stables, all those constructions associated with the production of coffee; despite this, the technique is no longer used and there are very few constructions of this type; for that reason, at present the houses that are preserved with this architecture are considered material cultural patrimony of the humanity as part of the Coffee Cultural Landscape.
Casa construida en Bahareque en el municipio de Pijao Ver en Instagram
Today, the use of guadua is intended for the manufacture of accessories, furniture and crafts or large and aesthetic constructions.
Clay is a type of soil that is commonly called mud when water is applied to form a moldable mass. With it people make decorative and useful objects for home; It is also the dominant material in the fields of tejo (see article on the tejo) previously used for the manufacture of tiles, typical in the bahareque architecture.
The creation of objects with clay called Pottery, dates back to the time of the indigenous Quimbayas, who made ceramics with fine clays, achieving pieces of great technical elaboration in relation to other tribes; For this reason, Quimbaya ceramics is one of the most representative in Colombian pre-Columbian art; However, we can not leave behind the indigenous Pijaos who inhabited part of the Quindío mountain range and who also left a material and immaterial legacy in this coffee region. In the Mayor of Pijao's building you can find an exhibition of some pieces of pottery of this ancestral culture.
Most of the traditions are part of a cultural legacy left by the indigenous and that took their particular form when they merged with other traditions brought from the European continent or that have been shaped by the current cultural dynamics.
We invite you to live a genuine coffee experience, through a cultural trip around coffee and with direct contact with the real people that makes it possible.
Written by @LaurAcostaJ