Ramiro and his wife Victoria live on their farm in San Antonio, Pichincha, Ecuador, which has been in the Granda family for 100 years. They’re joined by their son Martín and grandson Tiago. As a trained agronomist, Ramiro tends to the coffee which is planted on just three hectares of their estate, and also avocados, citrus fruits and bananas. These other food crops create supplementary means of income but also support biodiversity of wildlife on the farm. Victoria is a co-owner of the farm and is in charge of quality control procedures and guiding the staff.
The area itself is very dry, but a spring provides fresh water for irrigation on the farm. As well as small amounts of Robusta (after all, Ecuador does produce a lot of instant coffee) on Finca Ingapamba they are growing Typica Mejorado (which is actually a cross between Bourbon and Geisha) as well as Typica (which was gifted to them by Jesuit missionaries). In 2017 there were some obstacles Ramiro needed to overcome to break into the specialty coffee market. Despite having high quality varieties producing on his farm, he was drying the coffee at his neighbour’s house, and it was improperly done. Poor drying can quickly undo the hard work undertaken at the propagation, harvesting and processing stages. With help from Caravela and their PECA team members, a new infrastructure has been built at the farm, replete with raised beds slung with mesh to allow for optimal ventilation around the drying parchment coffee. We were able to buy some of his Typica Mejorado selections from 2018, dried on his new beds, and we were so impressed with the results!
During the harvest season they employ a handful of local people, around 5 in total, to work under Henri, their year round farm manager, and Victoria. By supplying them with burgundy coloured wristbands the pickers are able to compare the colour with the coffee on the trees, to enable uniformly ripe selections. Last year Ramiro’s Typica trees, which had been stumped back and not producing for the 2018 crop, were cropping again, and the lot we have purchased is actually a combination of Typica and Typica Mejorado. It isn’t advised to mix varieties at the harvesting stage, as they may require different fermentation protocols and drying times, and ultimately for us in London the two varieties may not roast uniformly already mixed in the drum. However, we’re still getting a tonne of sweet, floral character in Ramiro’s lots this year, and so the combination doesn’t seem to have caused quality to have been lost.
The Granda family graciously hosted us during a visit to Ecuador last year, as we were really interested to visit Finca Ingapamba for ourselves after enjoying their 2018 crop of coffee so much. In their own words:
“Last year Workshop Coffee purchased and roasted some of our coffee, and we expect to see another batch of our coffee from them sometime this year! Being able to trace where our farm’s coffee travels to is so rewarding for us. It’s exciting to see its reach and discover how it’s been profiled by different roasters and coffee drinkers as well as how it’s been branded and presented. Producers don’t often get the satisfaction of tracking their coffee once it has been exported, so it’s all the more special when we obtain this information.”