The Colombia Cup of Excellence competition held earlier this month may have marked the coronation of Nariño as the source of the country’s finest coffee. Farmers from Nariño claimed the first six spots and eight of the top ten. Such dominance leaves little doubt that the center of Colombian coffee has shifted definitively to Nariño.
Even though quality-obsessed roasters have been paying increasing attention to Nariño in recent years, its final ascendancy came swiftly. Last year, the region didn’t place a single coffee at auction. During this year’s competition – which was held in Nariño – the region claimed 17 of the 21 coffees selected for auction overall , equaling the number of coffees from Nariño selected for auction since the Colombia COE program began in 2005.
Competition for coffee from Nariño, which accounts for only 3 percent of all Colombia’s coffee production, is already fierce. Lots of buyers chasing scarce coffee, including some truly extraordinary coffees, is a recipe for high prices. In the current market, Nariño’s farmers are earning as much as $2.50 per pound for undifferentiated coffees, and more when they qualify for quality premiums. Competition and prices are likely to rise after the region’s showing at this year’s COE.
No Colombian coffee has ever earned more than $21 at auction. This year, with four coffees that topped 90 points, including a best-in-show that scored 94.92, Nariño seems poised to set a new standard.
Nariño’s auction – ahem, Colombia’s – is set for 26 October.