- Origin: Colombia
- Region: Nariño
- Town: Genova
- Farm: Argote
- Farmer: Adiela Argote
- Crop: 2021
- Altitude: 1950-2000m
- Variety: Castillo, Caturra, Catuai
- Processing: Fully washed
A note from our supplier, This Side Up:
Many in the coffee world have come across the name “Nariño” at some point, perhaps most famously from the fact that Starbucks sells it as a single origin offer. Nowadays there isn’t a village in the mountains of Nariño that doesn’t have sign of a (supposed) campaign running from some big coffee company like Starbucks and Nespresso. But ever since the rise of the Third Wave and direct trade relationships, other regions such as Huila and Medellín have stolen some of Nariño’s thunder. Apart from a few notable exceptions like the efforts of the Borderlands Coffee Project to promote the region to American direct traders, the old coffee buying model still provides most of the region’s sustainable income.
Take it from us, though: Nariño is still one of the main stars of Third Wave Colombian coffee and an incredible coffee origin. Rainfall, temperature, solar radiation, organic matter in the soil and even wind conditions are all perfectly fit to entice the coffee shrub to making the best cherries possible.
Within Nariño, the altitude at which the village of Colón is situated is perhaps this coffee’s most unique feature: On the one hand, the shape of the mountains here allows the warm, moist winds from the valley to blow upwards at night, which makes coffee cultivation here viable at altitudes that elsewhere would kill the fragile shrubs. On the other hand, cold trade winds from the south find its way to this region. This interchange of cold and warm influence make temperatures here fluctuate between 7 and 30 degrees Celsius, forcing the coffee to hold on to and trigger the production of more sugars, the solubles responsible for the acidity of the coffee. These dreamlike conditions are unlike we’ve ever seen anywhere in the world, and are what gives this coffee its beautiful acidities, smooth mouthfeel and pronounced aromas.
Juan Pablo, our partner and second son of the Argote family, knew there was more to be gained from Nariño’s unique coffee. He grew up in the village of Colón Genova and has been working with coffee since he was a child. He now roasts coffee under his brand “Sol del Venado” to the local market for extra income, but understood that his family’s coffee had the potential to be sold green to foreign buyers – if only he could find them…
As with most of This Side Up’s partners, this one came to us serendipitously through an introduction from a friend of both Lennart and Juan Pablo. On an exploratory trip to Colombia in 2014 with friend and serial entrepreneur Fraser Doherty, we decided to have one last stop in Nariño to meet Juan Pablo and fellow coffee grower Hernando Gutierrez. We cupped several coffees and were blown away by how they compared to everything else we tasted on our trip. Of these coffees, Juan Pablo’s took a slight lead over the others, so we were anxious to see where it was grown.
After a six hour drive, we arrived in the secluded village of Colón Genova, a 100-year old coffee growing settlement on the border of the departments of Nariño and Cauca. The next days we spent in the family house and learned with how much care the entire family treated picking, sorting and processing of the coffee. True to Colombian hospitality standards, we too were treated as family and showed around the farm and village by Juan Pablo and his father Efrain. We met other growers and talked about the needs of the community. We learned that Colón was largely left untouched by development programs, save the standard training programs of the FNC.
The example of Colón Genova shows just how greatly one can impact a community by buying coffee straight from smallholder farms. We calculated that if five containers of the village’s specialty coffee could be sold through direct channels, there would be enough money to provide adequate food supplies, health care and education for everyone there. It didn’t take long before we started discussing how we could work together to reach these goals in the years to come. The first step was to upgrade their processing standards and export their 2015 crop to Europe. Throughout the years we have made many steps forward, you can read all about it on our website.
Our coffee comes in craft paper bags which contain a plastic liner on the inside to guarantee freshness of our coffee. Please dispose properly at your local plastic trash container. The Village Coffee is roasted fresh every week, and best consumed within four weeks after roast date. Store your coffee in a dry, dark and cool place, avoid the fridge.