The Cauca Department as a whole houses a host of different topographic characteristics and thermal floors, which allow its inhabitants to enjoy beautiful landscapes and a variety of temperatures. However, in the coffee producing region, the topographic conditions and altitudes are much more consistent and so responsible for generating ideal environmental factors for coffee growing.
The Cauca coffee producing region lies north of the Patía River, and is surrounded by the Puracé Volcano (4600masl), the Colombian Massif (Macizo Colombiano) and the foothills of the Western Mountain Range that stretches out to the Pacific Ocean in the southwest. The Massif gives birth to the central and western ranges of the Colombian Andes as well as the country’s two most important rivers: the Cauca and Magdalena Rivers.
When it comes to soil characteristics, the coffee growing area counts with soils that are derived from volcanic ashes. Nearby volcanoes such as Sotará or Puracé, in the east and northeast, and the snow-capped Huila volcano, towards the center of the region, also generate colder winds positively affecting coffee quality.
Because it is near the Equator, sunlight in the Cauca coffee-growing region is relatively constant all year round, receiving 24.4 mega joules per square meter per day, with a small standard deviation on this average.
The Cauca coffee region receives the benefit of the Guaitará and Juanambú river basins, as well as the Patía River basin, which, on its course to the Pacific Ocean forms the Hoz de Minamá. The latter is a depression area in the mountain range that generates unique climatic conditions which positively influence coffee production in near-by Nariño, but that contributes to isolate the production areas in Cauca del Norte.
These homogeneous climatic conditions occur because the tall mountains surrounding the area protect it from the wind and humidity of the Pacific and from the trade winds from the south. This is why the Cauca region does not suffer brusque climate or temperature changes throughout the year. These balanced conditions mean that the quality of the coffee grown there is homogeneous and constant.
Being a relatively high area with lower average temperatures, the Arabica coffee trees that grow in the area retain a higher percentage of acids and sugar within the coffee beans. These acidic, sweet and mild coffee attributes are extremely sought after; in fact, CAFÉ DE CAUCA has a characteristically sweet flavour, a strong caramel aroma and fragrance, with high acidity, medium-body, generally balanced, clean and mild in cup qualities with some sweet, floral notes.