This award-winning coffee comes from Richard Granda’s farm, El Panaco, in Puyango. It sits at about 1400 meters above sea level and has an even mix of Bourbon, Caturra, and Typica on the lot. In 2015 they claimed the first prize in the Taza Dorada (Ecuador Gold Cup) and this current lot came 6th. Mr Granda manually machine depulps his coffee the same day as the harvest, ferments in a tank for 14 hours, then follows with three washings. His coffee is then set on raised beds in a parabolic dryer, where it is moved three to four times per day until it is stable and dried.
Ecuador as a specialty coffee producing region has great potential and also has the quality to back it up; the big issue at the moment is volume. The country as a whole only exports 100 containers/year (40,000 lbs/container) of Washed Arabica, as opposed to say, Colombia, who exports 32,000. The rest of the coffee Ecuador produces is low-quality naturals and Robusta to sustain its huge instant-coffee market for internal consumption and exports. To put this into perspective:
The producers in this area still have traditional varieties such as Typica, Caturra, and Bourbon, which has been key to their success. Coffee-leaf rust has been an issue for most of these producers, and having organic certification limits the products you can apply to your farm making it tougher.
The microclimate in this area is very particular. It is very wet almost year-round and has good temperature fluctuations from 12 – 28 degrees Celsius with an average of 20 degrees. This weather is ideal for coffee growing and it reflects in the cup.