Nariño is situated in southeast Colombia on the border with Ecuador. The Andes mountain range, which begins in southern Chile and Argentina, enters Colombia through Nariño and crosses the country from south to north. The wild, tropical Pacific coast of Nariño is separated from the Amazon basin by the tall Andes. This gives rise to three different types of topography: the plains, which border the Pacific Ocean; the Andean region; and the Amazon basin.
The Andean region of Nariño is, undoubtedly, the most amazing. The Andes mountain range forms, in the south of Colombia, what is known as the Nudo de Los Pastos, which is the starting point for two ranges: the Cordillera Occidental, which includes the the Chiles (4.718 m), Cumbal (4.764 m) and Azufral (4.070 m) volcanoes, and a deep depression called Hoz de Minamá. The other range is the Cordillera Centro – Oriental, with the Túquerres – Ipiales high plateau, the Atriz valley and the Galeras (4.276 m) and Doña Juana (4.250 m) volcanoes.
Nariño is also home to two springs. The Pacific spring includes the Patía, Guáitara, Mayo, Juanambú, Pasto, Iscuandé, Mira and Mataje rivers, which flow west reaching and crossing the Andes mountain range at the Hoz de Minamá. The Atlantic spring is made up of the Guamuez, Churuyaco, San Miguel, Patascoy, Afiladores andLora rivers, which flow towards the north of the country. These rivers and canyons, together with the number of sunlight hours specific to areas near the equatorial line, allow hot air to accumulate in the canyons in the daytime to drift upwards at night allowing the coffee trees, planted at altitudes of up to 2300masl (7500 feet), to survive the cold night temperatures.
According to the limits defined by the request for recognition of Denomination of Origin, Caféde Nariño is produced in 37 municipalities of the Nariño department and in three municipalities in the south of Cauca, all of which are located in the Andes. The main coffee producing areas in the region are situated close to the Galeras volcano—known as the Western Zone of Nariño—and to the south and east of the Río Patía canyon—known as the Northern Zone.
Because it is close to the equator, with latitudes close to 0, Café de Nariño receives a relatively constant number of sun light hours all year round. Both because of its location and because of its geographical accidents and craggy mountains, the region’s coffee plantations are subjected to average temperatures and particular daily temperature ranges that have a clear effect on the coffee’s flavor and aroma. More information on the effects of climate, soil and human effort that make coffee from this region so special, can be found in our Café de Nariño section. These conditions give to this coffee its particular taste: highly acidic, medium bodied, with a pronounced aroma and a clean sweet flavor and the intrinsic mildness of Colombian coffee.