Chocolaty, blackcurrant notes and complexity, full body and pleasant aftertaste.
The Department of Nariño is located in the southwest of Colombia, just above the equator and on the border with Ecuador. The region is strikingly mountainous and boasts no fewer than five volcanoes: Chiles (4,718 metres), Cumbal (4,764 metres), Azufral (4,070 metres), Doña Juana (4,250 metres) and Galeras (4,276 metres). Nariño has excellent conditions both in terms of humidity and temperature to keep coffee in parchment for ongoing export shipments, and its location on the equatorial line provides a great angle of sun exposure for the extremely steep hills around the volcano.
Coffee is grown at altitudes that reach 2,200 metres, some of the highest elevations at which coffee is grown in the world. The high altitude of cultivation allows for a slow, development of the coffee bean, which gives the cup profile of Nariño its unique characteristics. Ulpiano Rodrigues has a beautiful farm on Nariño’s eastern edge in the municipality of Buesaco. His small 3-hectare plot reaches as high as coffee can be planted in the steep hills surrounding the town, at 2,170 metres.
Producers in this region are overwhelmingly small-holders, who manage their own self-sufficient wet-mills and patios (open or covered) for drying. Every family does their own harvesting – usually with the help of neighbours. After the red and ripe cherries are picked, they are pulped by passing them through a manual pulper at the family farm (usually located close to the main house). The waste from this process will be used later as a natural fertilizer for the coffee trees. Depending on the conditions, fermentation can range between 12 up to 48 hours. Some producers will add several layers of wet parchment over the course of a few days, which is thought to add complexity to the fermentation process and final cup profile. Nariño is blessed with some of the best drying conditions in the country due to the micro-climate and high altitude of the region, providing lower relative humidity, more wind and more sunny days than other areas of the country.