Notes: Milk Chocolate, Honey and Lemon
Varietal: Caturra, Castillo, Colombia
Drying Process: Sun-Dried (Open or Patio) & Fermented 12 to 48 hours
Roast: Medium Roast
Farmer: A Small Group of Farmers
Altitude: 1,800 – 2,300 masl
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).
Coffee here is indeed grown on the very slopes of Galeras, an Andean stratovolcano that has been active for at least a million years. This volcano is also known for being the most active volcano in Colombia, and since its activation in 1988 following 10 years of dormancy, has erupted numerous times in our recent history, including in 1993 and 2013.
Galeras continue to loom over the region’s main city of Pasto and coffee is still grown on all of the surrounding hillsides, where soils have greatly benefited from volcanic compounds that have been disseminated over time.
Producers in this region are overwhelmingly small-hold farmers, who manage their own self-sufficient wet-mills and patios (open or covered) for drying. In essence, every family does their own harvesting, usually with the help of neighbours. And after red and ripe cherries are picked, they are pulped by passing through a manual pulper at the family farm (usually located close to the main house).
The waste from this process is then used later as a natural fertilizer for the coffee trees. Depending on the conditions fermentation can range between 12 up to 48 hours. Also, 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.
Once fermentation is complete, coffee is washed anywhere between 2-4 times, before being taken either to open patios or greenhouses to be sun-dried. Luckily, 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.