We're thrilled to welcome back a coffee from Jorge Tapia for the third season in a row. Ecuadorean coffee can be incredibly varied and distinctive, and we think Jorge is a stellar example of just how delicate, juicy and floral the coffees from the north can be.
2020 marked Jorge’s fourth season as a coffee producer. Six years ago, a government initiative supplied 25 families in the Lloa area with seeds and basic processing equipment, with the promise to purchase their coffee crops at five times the market rate. Since the first small harvest in 2017 this number of producers has shrunk to just three, as the government didn’t keep their promise the second year, and many producers found the cost of production far too high to justify continuing in coffee.
Thankfully, Jorge has persevered, and through receiving a loan from green coffee exporter, Caravela, he has installed his own manual depulping machine, right amongst his coffee trees, giving him more control and autonomy over his processing and ultimately his potential to produce high quality lots, for which we are happy to pay a premium price.
The sole variety planted on Jorge’s farm, Finca Jesus del Gran Poder, is Typica Mejorado, of which he has around 2,300. Translating to ‘Improved Typica’ it may well be a misnomer. It has been planted widely after some of the workers at an experimental farm run by Nestlé in Pichincha smuggled out some seeds of a high-performing variety they believed to be from a Typica selection. Genetic testing uundertaken on some leaf cuttings by World Coffee Research points to the variety actually being a cross between Bourbon and Geisha coffee trees.
The particular location of Jorge’s farm, coupled with the fact that there are so few others growing coffee nearby, means that he doesn’t have to battle with Broca (the coffee borer beetle) or Roya (a fungal ‘rust’), two plights common to the majority of South and Central American coffee farmers.
Before the harvest Jorge will typically apply two fertilisations to the soil and use a foliar spray, having been guided by Ivan, one of Caravela’s PECA team in Ecuador, for whom we have great respect. Being only the 4th harvest for Jorge and his wife Hilda, who come from a background in rearing cattle, they are enthusiastic and willing to learn, with the goal of producing high quality, specialty coffee. Rather than have to carry cherries from the farm back to his house to process, all of the skins and pulp are left near to the trees after manually depulping the harvest. They seal the mucilage covered seeds into bags and ferment for around 24hrs, before washing in large ‘baldes’, or tubs.
The water is then drained away overnight before the coffee is placed in the eaves of Jorge’s farmhouse to initially dry in the shade for 8 days. To finish off the drying process the coffee is then taken out onto raised beds under parabolic shade coverings for a further week or so, before the coffee is stored in GrainPro sacks until milling.
It was a real privilege to visit with Jorge, and we hope to continue supporting his admirable work for years to come.
Lloa, Pichincha, Ecuador
Juicy & sherberty, look for notes of cherry blossom, apricot & boiled sweets. Herbaceous, sappy & floral flavours of sugarcane, lychee & anise run throughout.