Café de Nariño:
Café de Nariño is 100% washed Arabica and mild coffee, planted at high altitudes, picked selectively and wet-milled on coffee farms.
Nariño’s geographical situation makes its coffee zone very special. Because of its location and geography, the Nariño Region’s coffee plantations are subjected to average temperatures and, in particular, daily temperature ranges that have a clear effect on the coffee’s flavor and aroma. These conditions give this coffee its unique taste: highly acidic, medium bodied, with a pronounced aroma and a clean sweet flavor and the intrinsic mildness of Colombian coffee.
Nariño is situated in southwest Colombia on the border with Ecuador. It lies approximately 1 degree above the equator. The Andes mountain range, which begins in southern Chile and Argentina, enters Colombia through Nariño and crosses the country from south to north. The wild, tropical Pacific coast of Nariño is separated from the Amazon basin by the tall Andes.
Regional climatic attributes:
The warm air currents from the Pacific Ocean that reach through the canyons formed by the Nariño mountains, together with the sunlight that touches the deep valleys are what allow for coffee production at the higher altitudes of the Andes of Nariño. The Southern Trade Winds, blow from the southern hemisphere north and also impact the Nariño coffee region by affecting its temperature. These masses of air are what make the production of Arabica coffee viable at altitudes that easily surpass 1500 masl (4921 ft.) and often up to 2300 masl (7545 ft.).
The average temperature is around 20°C (68°F), which range between a maximum of 25.9 (79 °F), and a minimum of 16°C (61 °F), .The average rainfall is about 1,000mm / (40 in) per year. The wet season is from October to May.
The soils in the Nariño Coffee Region are made up mainly of volcanic ash in different stages of evolution. The western region surrounds the Galeras volcano, whereas the northern region is situated around the Doña Juana volcano. Despite minor differences, experts agree that the soils are made up of Andisols and Oxysoles, which contain a large quantity of organic material and provide a high percentage of the basic nutrients needed for coffee production.
Ninety percent of the coffee crop in Nariño is harvested between April and July, and at greater altitudes, the harvest periods continues through to August; with a peak approximately in the first half of June. Similarly, ninety percent of the main flowering period occurs between September and October and leads to harvesting between April and July. Abundant flowering is due to the stress caused by water deficit from June to September. This dry period causes the plants to express their total production potential once the rains start.
There is a mid-harvest, or mitaca harvest, picked between December and January which is equivalent to approximately 10% of the total production in the region.
Producers of Café de Nariño:
There are approximately 38,000 coffee growers in the Nariño Region. Approximately 86% of those farms are less than a hectare (1 hectare = 2.5 acres). They are family-run farms which are painstakingly looked after. The final product is highly valued by producers, which generates pride in the community and is carefully selected in each stage of its production. The producers’ dedication and the size of the farms help to explain the special quality of this coffee.
The coffee farmers’ culture in this area shares certain influences, derived from their pre-Hispanic ancestors and Andean culture, which anthropologists call complementary duality. This duality is reflected in the rural mentality of locating their farms at different altitudes and plant complementary crops which, in turn, also lead to smallholding plantations. That is, coffee production here is an almost artisanal process undertaken by the coffee grower and his or her family along with members of the community with whom the workload is shared. These cycles, distributed by task assignment, make for a tradition that has played a part in influencing the quality of the product and the recognition and reputation of Café de Nariño.
The most deeply rooted traditions of this land include a love for the earth and are a clear result of the influence of the pre-Hispanic inhabitants, whereby the geographic borders of the region have helped to ensure that people keep their cultural roots and their behavior and accents, very particular to this region. This regional independence, influenced by its geographic location as a border region, is reflected in generating a special sense of community whereby the workforce is community based and more efficient. The latter is reflected in the social model which operates under a system called borrowed hands, which directly influences cultural labor related to coffee and the harvesting processes. This exchange of work also serves to strengthen the social foundations of the region.
Characteristics of Nariño Coffee:
- Aroma: Mild & pronounced
- Acidity: High
- Body: Medium body
- Flavor: Sweet notes, citrus
- Aftertaste: Clean