Have you ever paused to think about all of the amazing countries growing coffee where the equator passes through? The most obvious, Ecuador, might not be the first to come to mind. Ecuador is one of the more elusive origins, likely the result of a high cost of production, which makes it more difficult to compete in a global market. A producer’s survival here depends on an ability to make a premium to cover the higher costs of labor. Juan Peña, who established an export company called CaféExporto, has been working on ways to capture quality premiums with a group of producers from the community of Macus who cultivate coffee on just a few acres of land. Juan has been providing seed and technical support to a group of 25 producers. Through a model of collaboration, Juan has been able to build a traceable community blend with a vibrant regional profile. Each producer has their own micro-mill to carefully harvest cherries, depulp, ferment, wash and gently dry the parchment on raised beds. CaféExporto provides crucial logistical support for things like warehousing, quality control and preparing coffee for export to the international market, which provides better income for everyone to reinvest in their farms and strengthen their families’ livelihoods. In return, participating farmers not only achieve higher yields and overall quality, but the new market connections mean more stable and generous prices direct to the farms via CafExporto. Each participating farmer earned an average of $2.10 equivalent per green exportable pound of coffee during the 2021 harvest.