The Art of Coffee Processing: Unveiling Nariño’s Rich Tradition

10 May 2024

In the rugged terrain of Colombia’s Nariño department, where the Andes Mountains cast their shadows, lies a resilient community. Here, amidst the diverse geography and varied climate, coffee cultivation thrives, nurtured by the altitude, volcanic soils, and abundant precipitation. In the heart of this land, we find the Slow Food Community “Productores de café colaborativo Jacoba La UNION Nariño” founded by ‘Asprounión’, a non-profit association formed by farmers with small plots of high-quality coffee consisting of 112 members. Through dedication and ingenuity, Asprounión has revitalized coffee production and elevated it to new heights.

Asprounion: Cultivating Community and Quality

Luis Carlos Burbano Gómez, Manager of Asprounión, shares insights into the organization’s journey. “As farmers, we had been forgotten by the system. We were only supposed to produce coffee. As a community, we want to identify ourselves within certain parameters and objectives, within something valuable. They had forgotten about this fact and only considered us machines,” said Gómez. Determined to change this narrative, Asprounión embarked on a journey, guided by the principles of community collaboration, transparency, and equity.

Their journey began with a vision to empower farmers, to give them a voice and a stake in the coffee value chain. “We wanted to learn to buy and sell our coffee,” Luis Carlos explains, “But we discovered all that is crooked about that world and the many ways buyers can take advantage of farmers.” Undeterred, they persevered, producing exceptional quality coffee that garnered recognition and funding, laying the foundation for sustainable growth.

Through partnerships and initiatives funded by the EU, Asprounión embraced education and innovation. Farmers received training in cultivation practices, processing techniques, and marketing strategies. The result? A wealth of knowledge and expertise, passed down through generations, driving continuous improvement and success.

Innovations and Sustainability: Pioneering the Future of Coffee

Asprounión’s commitment to innovation is evident in their pursuit of excellence. From controlled fermentation to selective harvesting, they continually seek new ways to enhance flavor and sustainability. “The idea is that innovation needs to be scalable and applied to all families. We always seek to involve universities in the scientific research part,” Luis Carlos adds.

One such innovation is the use of acetolactic bacteria to impart citrusy, cocoa, and panela notes to coffee. This approach, combined with community-driven initiatives, has propelled Nariño to the forefront of specialty coffee production. “We are proud of our heritage,” Luis Carlos concludes, “and eager to share our passion with the world.”

A Legacy of Excellence

In Nariño, coffee is more than a crop—it’s a way of life— ASPROUNIÓN stands as a beacon of hope and inspiration, says Luis Carlos. As we savor each sip of Nariño’s finest brew, let us raise our cups to the farmers, the artisans, and the visionaries who make it all possible. Cheers to the rich tradition of coffee processing, and to the journey that lies ahead.

Be the Change, Join Slow Food

Get involved in similar initiatives by joining our grassroots movement! Slow Food cultivates an international network of local chapters made of more than 1 million members and across 150 countries that host educational events and advocacy campaigns, and build solidarity through partnerships.

Join the Slow Food Coffee Coalition today and be a part of our mission for a brighter coffee future.

By signing the Manifesto, you’ll receive the SFCC newsletter with stories, news and tips directly in your inbox every month.

Blog & news

Change the world through food

Learn how you can restore ecosystems, communities and your own health with our RegenerAction Toolkit.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Full name
Privacy Policy