Flavor Profile Lychee, pineapple, orange juice, chocolate
15 producers organized around FAPECAFES & Capamaco Trading
1700 - 1900 masl
Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica Mejorado
Quilanga Canton, Loja Province, Ecuador
Fully washed and dried on raised beds
May - August
Loja is one of Ecuador’s southernmost provinces, taking most of the country’s Peruvian boarder. The region is almost entirely high elevation and is covered in numerous microclimates of páramo (alpine tundra) humid forests, and jungle. This stretch of the Andes, like nearby Cajamarca Province in Peru, is a kind of ecological bridge between the vast inland Amazonian basin to the east, and the coastal desert of northern Peru. It’s a unique blend of humid and arid zones, with an elevation and fertility that privileges specialty coffee production and allows for the persistence of heirloom typica and bourbon lineage varieties increasingly unique to Ecuador and rare pockets of Peru.
Before the development of Ecuador’s northern estates, the Loja Province was synonymous with the country’s coffee industry. And its production resembled that of neighboring Colombia and Peru: remote, small family plots picking and processing coffee by hand, represented through local growers’ organizations, and generally speaking regionally homogenous profiles. Records held by the Ecuadorian Censo Nacional Económico, the country’s economic statistical office, show that coffee was first commercialized in the Loja region in 1820. So, coffee here is many generations old and is considered a meaningful heritage to thousands of landowners of indigenous descent.
Federación Regional de Asociaciones de Pequeños Cafetaleros Ecológicos del Sur (FAPECAFES) was originally founded in 2005 and continues to mobilize and service 1800 small producer members. FAPECAFES members cultivate an average of 1.5 hectares apiece, which are often highly diversified: citrus fruits, bananas and papayas, yuca, corn, and sugar cane are all grown in addition to coffee, which is the land’s primary source of income. In an effort to maximize their milling throughput, FAPECAFEs began leasing the use of their dry mill, and local exporter Capamaco Trading began using it to process coffees for export. Over time the groups began collaborating on coffees, with Capamaco curating select producers from within the FAPECAFES group, and marketing their coffees internationally.
This lot is a small blend of 15 FAPECAFES smallholders who cultivate coffee in the Quilanga municipality, a mountainous community not far from the boarder with Peru. Each family farm is responsible for all harvesting and post-harvest processing on site: this typically consists of one small depulper machine, a single fermentation tank, and a small set of covered raised beds for drying. Once picked, coffee is typically fermented in cherry for 12-24 hours prior to depulping, and then fermented in mucilage for another 24-36 hours depending on the climate. Final washing is done in plastic or cement tanks with fresh water, and the coffee is then moved to the drying tables, where it’s turned continuously for 15-25 days. Finished dried parchment is stored on site in nylon bags to help prevent the humidity from rising before delivery to the city of Loja, where each grower’s coffee is analyzed and cupped for quality by the FAPECAFES team.