Price $11.22 per pound
Bag Weight 66.17 lbs
Flavor Profile Mango, cherry, cola, yogurt, chocolate
Caturra, Typica Mejorado
Guayllabamba community, Pichincha province, Ecuador
June - September
Royal’s relationship with Galo Flores and his wife Maria Alexandra Rivera, of Finca Cruz Loma, is still very young relative to the greater pantheon of Royal’s supplier community. However, Galo and Maria Alexandra, in addition to personally producing some of the top coffees we buy all year from South America, also expose us to smaller producers in their region with excellent coffee to sell. This coffee comes from Marco León, a retired career police officer with a 2 hectare, highly diversified farm at one of the highest altitudes we’ve seen from Ecuador.
Marco’s farm, Finca León, produces lemons, oranges, mandarins, avocados, and chirimoyas (a delicious tropical stone fruit after which Galo and Maria have named a regional Pichincha and Imbabura blend they also export). Marco also tends the farm with native animal populations in mind, and native guinea pigs and fish also share the property.
Principal harvest months in Pichincha province are June to September, but farms like Marco’s, especially those at higher altitudes, often continue picking through November, even December. Ecuador’s namesake position on the Earth’s equator means that medium-to-high-altitude coffee enjoys practically a perfect year-round growing season, often with flowering and ripe cherry sharing the same branch most months. For small farms this means a small but long-term labor force to manage the slow, perfectionistic work required for such a drawn-out harvest. Marco himself employs 5 workers to help him cover the various tasks required during the long, gradual harvest months.
Processing on Marco’s farm follows a variety of techniques, but this particular lot is referred to as an “anaerobic honey”: Cherry is picked and depulped same day, and then allowed to ferment in an open tank for 72 hours; importantly, the fermented parchment is not washed after this time, instead being taken directly to raised beds to dry amidst the loosened, sticky mucilage. Once fully dry, the parchment is stored in GrainPro bags on Marco’s property to protect it from any encroaching moisture.
Galo and Maria Alexandra, the exporters of this microlot, manage their own Finca Cruz Loma, a 350-hectare plot in the community of San José de Minas, a small town in the northwestern part of Pichincha, a short trip north of Quito. The estate has been in Galo’s family going back 80 years. Galo’s experience in coffee began 20 years ago working alongside his mother on the farm; he would go on to work professionally in the coffee sector, for exporters and as a project manager, before returning to full-time farming. In Galo’s words, “cultivating my coffee is an activity that allows me to apply and develop the skills and habits I’ve learned over the years; it’s also an essential resource for my family, since my wife, my daughters, and myself are all involved with the production and marketing of our coffee. Everybody in the family has a critical role in the coffee’s success.” Galo’s experience in the value chain has positioned his family well to help create opportunities for other farms by representing their coffees, first to exporters and, more recently with an export license of their own, directly to Royal Coffee.