A special kick

When I started at Starbucks in 1993, the very first coffee I tasted was Colombia Nariño Supremo. To this day, I can still remember the heady aroma, along with the richness and depth that was in the cup. I never thought a coffee could be so exotic and memorable.

Nariño’s signature flavor is nutty and herbal, but when those tastes are enhanced by a juicy, mouthwatering acidity, it gives it what the local exporter describes as “a special kick.” In the tasting room, we love that kick!

Eleven years after that first taste of Nariño coffee, I had the opportunity to visit the area. It’s located high in the Andes mountains, in southwestern Colombia. Taking a three-hour drive up the side of the Galeras Volcano, you’re overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of the region. Winding, narrow dirt roads follow the contours of the mountain, with a rather abrupt drop to one side, and a near vertical wall of the mountainside on the other.

This drive is the only way to get to see the coffee and meet the farmers. In Nariño, there are more than 32,000 coffee farmers, and most of their coffee is purchased by Starbucks. Our long partnership with Nariño’s producers has gone beyond growing and selling coffee. For years, Starbucks and our local exporter have worked together on projects that helped built new homes, mills, and facilities.

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