Last year one of our most exciting espresso releases was from Ecuador: the Mitad del Mundo Espresso, comprising coffee from several farmers based around the region of Loja. Having been exploring the country in more depth and repeat-purchasing coffee from Ramiro Granda, Felipe Abad and Jorge Tapia, we’re also pleased to have secured another lot from this community to roast for espresso this season.
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”. Caravela, our exporting and importing partner for Ecuador, are able to provide an incredibly detailed traceability report which breaks down exactly which farmer has contributed what volume to the lot, and the price they were paid for their coffee, which is elevated well above 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 their producers to dispense advice and guidance which is designed to help improve the quantity and quality of coffee that a farmer is producing. It's especially difficult for Ecuadorean coffee farmers, as the associated cost of production is much higher than their neighbours in Peru and Colombia.
Some information we witnessed Ivan, the head of PECA, sharing with a group of producers was a recipe for homemade fungicide, using milk and beer as the base. This offers a great cost-saving alternative to share with 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 each of the producers’ farms enables Caravela’s team to offer specific advice about when to perform 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 guavas 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. As with the lot from last year, expect dark fruit jams and a super clean cup.
Loja, Southern Ecuador, Ecuador
Flavours of cacao nib & damson jam make for a satisfying, rounded espresso. A brisk, black tea like character creates a clean finish.