This is a really lovely coffee from the Nariño region of Colombia, and just like with our coffee grown by Hugo Melo, we bought the whole lot. We use it in some of our Seasonal Selections, but wanted to offer it as a single origin as well. We feel this is a great coffee for those who want a classic cup profile that is more in the chocolate and nut flavours, and this is a stellar example of that "everyday coffee" type. It's got a medium body, nice sweetness, low acidity and is complex without being too unusual, meaning this is a coffee you can bring home to your parents.
Nariño is a special place to grow coffee – it is geographically, climatically and culturally very distinct from neighbouring states, and the cup profiles are no less unique. Rich volcanic soils and an Andean climate (meaning a truly distinct harvest season where the rest of the Southern states are picking coffee all year round) make this a captivating, vast and in many areas, uncharted territory. Producers are small, biodiversity is traditional, soils are nutrient rich and well-drained, and we consistently see sweet and complex coffees from here.
The region of Nariño is geographically isolated from many services, Generally, soils are full of lava deposits from eruptions of the many surrounding volcanoes. Topsoil is relatively deep, well-drained and loamy. But with such high rainfall and steep slopes (75% is common), erosion is a problem for annual crops. Coffee is one of the very few environmentally sound cash crops to grow in the region.The region is blessed with incredibly high average altitudes and a lot of Caturra, a great varietal. Traditional practices are the norm, meaning ground cover, shade trees and household food crops characterize every coffee plantation. The transport costs of bringing in chemical fertilizers are prohibitive, so in general, producers use a vast amount of organic compost instead. Because of all these challenges, the area does not produce nearly as much coffee as Huila, the more well known coffee producing part of Colombia.
The farm is owned by a woman (quite rare) named Marisol, who cultivates coffee on her farm Finca El Porvenir in the township of Belen, in the municipality of Tablón de Gomez. She picks perfectly ripe cherries, de-pulps the coffee, and leaves it to ferment in the cool air for anywhere from 14-22 hours in an open tank. Drying is traditional, allowing the parchment to dry slowly on patios for around 2 weeks.