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About Ecuador Pinchicha - Hernan Zuniga
Arrived April, 2020, new crop, in grainpro.
We like to have one or two good examples from Ecuador each year if possible. There are two main growing regions, Loja Province in the southern mountains and Pinchicha which is to the north of the country's capital, Quito. Both areas have some extreme elevations. The highest elevations that coffee can grow without concern for frost is about 2300 hundred meters or roughly 7500 feet, and this is only feasible in locations on or very near the equator. Such is the case in Ecuador as well as parts of Kenya and Ethiopia in Africa, and some areas in Indonesia. Due to high altitudes and excellent growing conditions some wonderful coffees can be found in Ecuador, although prices are sometimes high due to a dollar denominated society with significant social programs. Some growers are anxious to know how to improve the quality of their crops to earn a premium.
Hernan Zuniga and his family bought 20 hectares (about 50 acres) of land in Nanegalito nearly 40 years ago but only since 2012 have they grown coffee on a 4 hectare parcel of it. The Red and Yellow Caturra coffee trees are now 7 and 8 years old, in full production; they are harvested during the months of July through October. Caturra is dwarf Bourbon plant known for its sweetness. They grow a lush amount of coffee cherry and are easier to harvest due to their height. Once harvested the coffee is depulped (outer skin removed), fermented, then dried on African style raised beds under parabolic cover over a period of 22 days or until the residual moisture is at the target level.
Ecuador was once part of Colombia. The Pacific Ocean borders its western side and the Galapagos Islands, about 750 miles west, is part of Ecuadoran territory. On land, Colombia is to the north and east of Ecuador with Peru to south and east. The country has a rugged, beautiful terrain in parts with at least 10 mountains over 15,000 feet. But it also has great coffee growing conditions with rich, volcanic soil and, straddling the equator, and an ability to grow at higher elevations if farms happen to be so located.
We have a small quantity of this coffee and anticipate having it for 2 months or less.
- Farm: Vista Hermosa
- Producer: Hernan Zuniga
- Country: Ecuador
- Region: Pinchicha
- District: Quito
- Altitude: 1850 meters
- Varietal: Red & Yellow Caturra
- Processing: Washed then 21 hours fermentation
- Drying: On tables, under parabolic cover for 22 days
Cup Characteristics: Very bright and juicy, red apple flavor. Lemon-lime acidity. Notes of cinnamon, nutmeg. Sweet.
Roasting Notes: As we often recommend for high grown, quality coffees, the best flavors are attained between first and second crack, usually before second crack begins. However, some people prefer more developed roasts, though at the expense of some sweetness and brightness.
Ecuador Coffee Facts
Population (2015): 16.5 Million People
Coffee Production (2013): 666,000 bags (60 kg), 60% Arabica
Country bag capacity: 132 pounds
Domestic Consumption: 243,000 bags
Coffee Export: 423,000 bags
Cultivated Area: 200,000 Hectares (80,000 acres)
May to September varying by region
Specialty Coffees: Much of the coffee is produced by small producers with less than 10 acres (4 hectares).
Botanical Varietals: Typica, Bourbon, Caturra
Growing Regions: Loja Province in the south; Pinchincha in the north are the principle regions.
Ecuador, once part of Colombia, has all the natural attributes to produce superb coffee, notably location on or near the equator, significant elevation and volcanic soils. It is one of a limited number of countries producing both Arabica and Robusta coffee. While production is small Ecuador is poised to become a top quality origin in the near future and some great coffees are already beginning to be available.