The highest-grown Colombian coffee is cultivated in Nariño, a small region bordering Ecuador and the Pacific Ocean. Because it is just one degree north of the Equator, coffee can be cultivated at extreme altitudes (up to 2,300 meters ASL) in Nariño. Steady year-round sunlight, variation between day and nighttime temperatures, and rich volcanic soils converge to make this a place where lively, deeply sweet coffees can be grown. Farms in Nariño are the smallest in Colombia, on average less than one hectare each.
Because farmers have such small pieces of land, growers are highly dependent on income from coffee cultivation, and are intensely dedicated to improving quality and yields. The production of specialty coffee in Nariño is an artisanal process led by the coffee grower, their family, and other members of the community with whom they share the work.