What is a Colombian Tinto?

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Colombia, a land synonymous with mountains, emerald landscapes, and, of course, coffee. But there’s more to Colombian coffee than lattes and cappuccinos. At the heart of Colombian coffee culture lies the humble Colombian Tinto, a small, strong, black coffee that embodies the warmth, simplicity, and social spirit of the nation.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Strong Brew: Traditionally made with a dark roast and brewed strong, tinto packs a punch of caffeine.
  • Simple and Accessible: Brewed with readily available ingredients and techniques, tinto is enjoyed by everyone.
  • Social Elixir: More than just a drink, tinto is a reason to connect, share conversations, and build bonds.
  • Beyond Black: Variations like tinto campesino with panela or tinto con leche offer different takes on the classic.
  • More Than Coffee: Tinto represents Colombian hospitality, tradition, and a way of life.

So, what exactly is a Colombian tinto?

Tinto (meaning “tinted” in Spanish) is a small (4-10 oz) cup of black coffee, brewed strong with a dark roast. Unlike fancy coffee shop concoctions, tinto thrives on simplicity. Traditionally, it’s prepared by simmering coarsely ground coffee in a panela (unrefined cane sugar) water mixture until rich and strong. The coffee is then strained and served piping hot in small tin cups or mugs.

Columbian Tinto In A Small Cup
A Columbian Tinto is 10 ounces of dark roast coffee

Origin and Ingredients:

Tinto’s origins are rooted in Colombian history and economics. In the past, coffee beans were a valuable export, leaving local consumption to simpler methods. Today, readily available panela and dark roast beans make tinto the go-to coffee across social classes.


  • Coarsely ground dark roast coffee
  • Panela (optional)
  • Water

How to Make a Colombian Tinto:

  1. Heat water in a saucepan with panela (optional).
  2. Add coffee grounds and bring to a simmer.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Strain the coffee through a cloth filter (or cheesecloth).
  5. Serve hot in small cups or mugs.
What Is A Columbian Tinto Coffee

Colombian Tinto

Kelsey Todd
Prepare to be captivated by the essence of Colombian Tinto, a cherished coffee tradition. This guide will take you through the simple steps to create this rich, aromatic brew.
No ratings yet
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Cuisine Colombian
Servings 2 people


  • 1 cheesecloth


  • 5 ounce coarsely ground dark coffee
  • 1 ounce ground panela sugar (sub white sugar)
  • water


  • Heat water in a saucepan with panela sugar.
    1 ounce ground panela sugar, water
    Boling Panela And Water For Colombian Tinto Coffee
  • Add coffee grounds and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    5 ounce coarsely ground dark coffee
    Adding Coffee Grounds To Colombian Tinto Coffee
  • Strain the coffee through a cloth filter (or cheesecloth).
    Straining Colombian Tinto Through Cheesecloth
  • Serve hot in small cups or mugs.
    Pouring Colombian Tinto Coffee Into Mugs


Serving: 10oz
Keyword Coffee, Colombia
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  • Tinto Campesino: Sweetened with panela for a touch of caramel flavor.
  • Tinto con Leche: Add a splash of milk for a creamier cup.
  • Tinto Frio: Enjoy iced for a refreshing summer drink.

Nutritional Information:

A typical tinto is low in calories and fat but packs a powerful punch of caffeine (around 50-80mg per cup). Additionally, dark roast coffee offers some antioxidants and health benefits.

Health Benefits:

Moderate coffee consumption has been linked to potential health benefits like improved mood, cognitive function, and reduced risk of certain chronic diseases. However, moderation is key as excessive caffeine intake can have adverse effects.


People Drinking Colombian Tinto Coffee
Add coffee grounds directly to the boiling water & panela mixture

More than just a beverage, Colombian tinto is a cultural icon, a symbol of warmth, and a daily ritual that connects people. So, next time you crave a coffee experience that goes beyond fancy flavors and expensive machines, take a trip to Colombia (or your kitchen) and savor the simple yet rich brew of a traditional tinto. You might just discover a new way to connect, appreciate, and embrace the coffee journey.

Avatar Of Kelsey Todd
With over two decades in the coffee industry, Kelsey is a seasoned professional barista with roots in Seattle and Santa Barbara. Accredited by The Coffee Association of America and a member of The Baristas Guild, he combines practical expertise with a profound understanding of coffee's history and cultural significance. Kelsey tries his best to balance family time with blogging time and fails miserably.

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