After roasting a handful of Ecuadorean coffees for filter brewing this season, we're excited to share with you this final lot, roasted for espresso. Unlike the single farmer coffees we've already enjoyed this season from Ramiro Granda, Jorge Bayardo Tapia, Felipe Abad and Luis Alfonso Abad, this coffee is produced by combining the collective effort and production of 33 different small-scale farmers.
They're all growing coffee near to the city of Loja, in the south of Ecuador. Some of their volumes are too small to be workable as their own lot, with an average contribution of 90kg per farmer making up this AA grade community lot that has been dubbed "Mitad del Mundo" or "Middle of the World". The smallest contribution was from Angel Serafin Torres Godoy, who submitted just 4kg of AA grade coffee. The most significant chunk was grown by Agnelio Pacifico Zaruma, contributing 572kg to the parcel.
Caravela, our export partner for Ecuador, provided an incredibly detailed traceability report which broke down which farmer contributed what volume to the lot, plus the price they were paid for their coffee. This is elevated well above the market rate to reward the hard work that goes into producing clean coffees with a high cup score. As well as being transparent and forthcoming with information about how they're buying coffee, they're ready and willing to explain their PECA (Programa de Educación a Caficultores) program. Employing a team of agronomists and field workers on the ground year-round, they frequently travel to producers, dispensing advice and guidance designed to help improve the quantity and quality of coffee a farmer produces. It's especially tricky for Ecuadorean coffee farmers, as the associated cost of production is much higher than their neighbours in Peru and Colombia due to the dollarized economy.
Some information we witnessed Ivan Renjifo, Caravela's PECA manager in Ecuador, sharing a recipe for homemade fungicide, using processing water, milk and beer as the base, to a group of farmers. This offers a great cost-saving alternative for a producer who wishes to curb coffee-leaf rust on their farm but cannot afford to buy chemical fungicides. Also, advice on pruning techniques and analysing the climate and soil conditions on producers' farms enables Caravela's team to offer specific advice on certain practices. For instance, mulching and the application of fertilisers is tailored to the particularities of the microclimate experienced and varieties being grown on each farm.
Most of the farmers grow their coffee under shade trees, with plantains and guava being popular choices. This coffee is a combination of Typica, Caturra and Bourbon varieties and has been traditionally depulped and fermented, before being washed and dried under shade on patios. The first time we tasted it, we thoroughly enjoyed the dense berry character in the cup and decided that it could make for a delicious espresso. We hope you agree.
Loja, Southern Ecuador, Ecuador
Fruity and winey, look for flavours of blackberry jam and sweet grape. A concentrated, sugary mouthfeel leads to a brisk, cocoa finish.