Buesaco, Nariño has been racking up accolades with multiple top finishes in Colombia’s Cup of Excellence auctions over the last few years. Some credit is owed to the volcanos (Doña Juana in the north and Galeras in the south), which are responsible for many of the rich mineral traits found in the soil composition. Nariño’s proximity to the equator means intense exposure to the sun (relatively constant and powerful year-round), which influences the cherry maturation rate. Buesaco, in particular, has an interesting micro-climate caused by warm air that rises from the canyons at night and acts like a protective blanket for the coffee plants. As a result of these combined attributes, coffee plants passively absorb the sun’s energy during the day and then come alive at night when the conditions are less harsh. This translates into concentrated flowering and long cherry maturation periods. All of these factors can produce exceptional coffee but there is a human factor that cannot be overlooked. Nilson Luis López Dias, who owns and manages a 24-acre farm called San Antonio in the community of Medina Espejo, is a central figure for Buesaco’s success. Nilson has been processing coffee with his own micro-mill for more than two decades and was one of the early innovators in Buesaco, implementing exquisite processing protocols that include meticulous cherry selection and prolonged drying strategies. He has chosen to share his knowledge with other producers, becoming a crucial model for Inconexus, a Colombian export company, credited for creating a support network for producers to learn from one another. The partnership has helped producers gain access to technical support for best agricultural practices and improve quality.