Have you ever paused to think about all of the amazing origin countries that 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. This is the strategy taken by José Luis Eguiguren a Q grader who works for an export company called Hacienda Santa Gertrudis. José Luis has helped 80 producers work together to improve the quality of their coffee. The model of collaboration produces a traceable community blend with a vibrant regional profile. This lot comes from small farms where each producer has their own micro-mill to carefully harvest cherries, depulp, ferment, wash and gently dry the parchment on cement patios and raised beds. Hacienda Santa Gertrudis provides crucial logistical support for things like warehousing and milling coffee for export to the international market, which provides better income for everyone to reinvest in their farms and strengthen their families’ livelihoods.