Colombia San Antonio

Colombia San Antonio

Nilson López
Finca San Antonio

Buesaco, Nariño


1950-2000 m

August 2021
Cherry | Citrus | Plum

A Terroir of Champions
Buesaco, Nariño, is well on its way to earning grand cru status in Colombian coffee.  Over the last decade, it has emerged as one of the most popular sources of extreme quality in the country.  Thanks to its dominance in the national Cup of Excellence quality competitions and word-of-mouth among exporters and buyers, it has surged into prominence and developed a reputation as one of the best places to look for bright, complex coffees.  The unique microclimate there provides specific advantages to farmers.  One of the southernmost coffee regions in Colombia, it sits just above the equator and the combination of high altitude—many farms there, including this one, are situated at elevations above 2000 meters–with intense sun, volcanic soils, and cool Pacific winds provides a near ideal terroir for producing dense, highly flavorful coffees.
A Remarkable Coffee Family
The López family has played a major role in Buesaco’s ascendency as a coffee hotspot.   José Franco Héctor López, of La Mina fame has won more awards in national competitions than any other producer in Colombia.  His daughter Cielo and her husband Nilson are activists in the community and have spent much of the last decade helping other producers in Buesaco adopt cutting-edge quality practices to increase the value of their coffees.  Cielo leads a group of small-scale growers in the municipality and helps them get their coffees to market, while Nilson manages San Antonio and spends much of his time mentoring farmers in the area while advocating for them politically.  Together they operate a small coffeeshop in town to showcase coffee’s quality potential and cultivate an understanding of coffee as beverage with exciting culinary appeal.
An Innovation Center
San Antonio serves as an experimentation hub for the López family’s coffee ecosystem and Nilson’s personal lab for tinkering.  Nearly a decade ago he was already piloting a new drying system that I considered revolutionary for its ability to give producers remarkable control over the drying rates of their coffees with minimal cost and high efficiency.  Since that time he’s continued to build, expanding the farm slowly and deliberately while continuing his efforts to improve quality through advanced fermentation trials and diversification of varieties. And somehow, in addition to all of his work in coffee, he found time to run for mayor. Twice!  He’s currently serving as mayor of Buesaco through 2023. 

— Geoff Watts
Vice President of Coffee