According to the limits set in the request for recognition of Café de Cauca Protected Denomination of Origin, coffee under this geographical indication is produced in 29 municipalities with an average altitude of 1758 masl., but which can stretch as high as 2100 masl. The region’s climate, rainy seasons and volcanic soils are homogeneous.
In the same way as other coffee producing regions in the south of Colombia, the precipitation cycles here are monomodal; that is, with only one annual intense rainy season, which usually takes place in the second semester straight after a dry period in August-September (see chart 1). The arrival of the rains, which coincides with the passing of the inter-tropical convergence zone, also gives way to flowering of the coffee plants, which means that there is a concentrated harvest period in the first semester of the following year.
Chart 1. Average Rainfall in Piendamó, Cauca
This rainfall pattern is therefore related to levels of sunlight intensity and absence of cloud cover in certain periods of the year (see chart 2) that lead to water deficiency in July and August, which is favorable for flowering.
Chart 2. Sunlight in the Coffee Growing Regions in the Colombian South.
Perhaps the only climatic characteristic that is subject to more variability in this region than any other coffee growing region in Colombia is the range of daily temperatures: on average they approach 11 degrees centigrade in a given day and an average 18 degrees centigrade during the day.
The temperature variations during the day and night are essential to the quality of Café de Cauca. The low nighttime temperatures, associated with relatively high altitudes, reduce the coffee bean ripening rhythm and give it higher levels of acidity and very particular sweet notes.