Featuring coffees from 9 different producers concentrated around Loja in the south of Ecuador, this iteration of the Altos de Saraguallas blend composed by Caravela Coffee possesses great clarity and a vivid, lively sweetness.
Scattered across several micro-regions south of Loja in Ecuador, coffee farmers in Espindola, Quilanga and Cariamanga are typically also tending to complementary food crops, like sugar cane, maize, soy and other beans and livestock.
Production methods are fairly rudimentary, for example using hand-cranked depulpers to remove the skins from the coffee cherries when it comes to processing, but drying infrastructures are very conducive to creating uniform, stable coffee. The varieties of coffee are mostly Typica, Bourbon and Caturra and it is normal for them to be planted amongst traditional forest and fruit trees.
Of the nine families whose coffee has been pooled together to create this lot, the two main contributors are Rodrigo Gustavo Jaramillo Jiminez (a coffee producer since 2008 who contributed 40% of the volume) and José Maria Mayo Hidalgo (contributing 20%). José’s farm, Finca Los Gemelos (translating to ‘The Twins’) is a great example of thriving biodiversity on a coffee farm, with avocados, cacao, yuca and bananas planted out, as well as a variety of tropical birds and coatis living amongst the crops. They use a hygrometer to ensure conditions for their raised beds in their drying tunnels are optimally dialled in, with the parchment coffee being tested by a digital moisture meter to determine when drying is finished.
Caravela Coffee, with whom we have been lucky to travel with in Ecuador, are a Carbon Neutral B Corp with a boots-on-the-ground approach, employing a team of agronomists to run their PECA training program. This form of farmer outreach is extremely valuable, not just in raising the quality and quantity of a producer’s outturns through dispensing agronomical advice, but in predicting yields, planning and financial support.
Ecuador boasts a negative carbon footprint for green coffee production, with -0.5kg carbon emitted per kilo of green produced, thanks in part to the native forestry maintained and protected on coffee farms acting as a carbon sink, as well as minimal use of fertilisers and agro-inputs. Caravela have been working in Ecuador since 2007 and now support a network of over 200 individual coffee farmers and families. Their main buying hub for the south is in Catamayo. After being cupped and graded, blended lots are composed and the parchment coffee is moved to Quito to be hulled and have the quality refined and homogenised at Caravela’s own dry mill.
Quilanga, Loja, Ecuador
A complex, resinous espresso with a nice balance of chocolate & fruit. Expect a silky body with flavours of cacao nib, freeze-dried raspberry & black cherry.