Price $6.70 per pound
Bag Weight 153.07 lbs
Flavor Profile Cherry, orange zest, rhubarb, maple syrup
Puyango cantón, Loja province, Ecuador
Honey processed, depulped and immediately dried on raised screens in the sun
June - September | October - December
Loja is one of Ecuador’s southernmost provinces. This part of the country is almost entirely high elevation and is covered in numerous microclimates of páramo (alpine tundra) humid forests, and jungle. This stretch of the Andes 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. Before the development of Ecuador’s northern estates, the Loja and Zamora Chinchipe provinces were synonymous with the country’s coffee industry. And their production resembles 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 across Ecuador’s south is many generations old and is considered a meaningful heritage to thousands of landowners of indigenous descent.
This coffee comes from Ruth Gualán, who manages a 5 hectare farm in the Puyango cantón, or district, on the southwestern edge of Loja bordering the upper coastal regions of Peru. Puyango is drier and less mountainous than central and southern Loja, but the climate remains very mostly tropical here and amenable to coffee production. Ruth has more than 15 years of coffee experience and remains 100% dedicated to quality production on her farm.
Processing on Ruth’s farm follows a variety of techniques, but this particular lot is a honey process: cherry is picked and depulped same day, and then is taken directly to raised beds to dry, still enrobed in its sticky mucilage. Once fully dry, the parchment is stored in GrainPro bags on Ruth’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 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. Royal’s relationship with Galo and Maria 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 throughout Ecuador with excellent coffee to sell, such as this one.