Nariño: Five Reasons This A Coffee-Growing Paradise!
We featured coffee from Nariño many times in our monthly pack, but what exactly is it that makes it so good? Let's investigate!
Nariño is a province located in southwestern Colombia bordering Ecuador and is known to be a land of extremes. It has been said that the heart of Colombian coffee sits on the mountains of Nariño, and this especially mountainous region does not disappoint.
Let’s explore the five things that make this place a mecca centre for delicious brew!
The most obvious of them all, Nariño is home to towering elevations that cultivate super tasty coffee. The reason for this? Higher altitudes mean cooler temps, allowing the bean to mature at a slower rate. With an average temperature of 11 degrees celsius, you know these beans are taking their sweet time to achieve maximum sweetness!
Nariño gets an average of 84 inches of precipitation annually, (for comparison, Toronto only gets around 33 inches!), which means these beans are getting plenty of nourishment. Coffee thrives in a range of 60-90 inches of annual rainfall, meaning Nariño has hit the sweet spot with this.
The region is home to twelve volcanoes, some of which are still active today! One usually doesn’t associate literal erupting magma with creating the perfect growing conditions for coffee, but volcanoes actually help curate the perfect environment to cultivate delicious brew.
Volcanoes produce volcanic soil, also known as Andisols, which create perfect conditions for coffee growth. Andisols are a mixture of volcanic particles (ash) and rocky fragments that are ejected from a volcano during an eruption. Over time, this breaks down to produce fertile and productive topsoil. Volcanic soil has a low density and a stable, yet porous structure, which allows it to retain water effectively. This porous soil also makes it highly permeable, letting plant roots grow deep and drain easily, and prevents the roots from getting too wet and rotting.
Andisols are high in nutrients, which is vital for coffee growth. For example, potassium levels aid cherry and bean formation as well as sugar and citric acid content. Calcium is vital to root and leaf development, which affects how quickly the fruit ripens, and boron can significantly improve crop yield. Studies have shown that coffee grown in phosphorus and potassium-rich soil tends to be more complex in aroma, flavour, and acidity. This, combined with the altitude and climate of Nariño, spells out a recipe for a delicious brew with complexity and nuance.