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escoffeeESCoffee Tour 2011: 23 – 31 July 2011 We invite you to a coffee experience like no other. Come and enter the dark and delightful world of ESCoffee – Ecuador Specialty Coffee, Extra Special Coffee or Excellent Superior Coffee. This tour offers all these and more.

Take a sip of the freshest brews. Take in the enchanting aroma of what is inarguably one of the best coffees in the world, even as you enjoy the lovely sights of Ecuador. Get to know how coffee is grown and processed in this part of the world.

Indeed, our ESCoffee Tour 2011 is a coffee encounter combined with the joys of traveling and seeing breathtaking Ecuador and its splendid mountains, plantations and fields. This is not just for coffee connoisseur but also for people who just love this dark liquid.

a-woman-selecting-coffee-in-malacatos-near-vilcabambaI just returned from a Coffee Harvest Tour which I made with Miguel Rendon ESCoffee and I would like organize a Coffee Harvest Tour where we visit exclusively growing areas in southern Ecuador.

Coffee growing in Ecuador is mostly still done in small quantities. Most Coffee growers are small farmers who are organized in associations who have installations to process their Coffee and sell the Coffee to local exporters.

This Tour will be interesting to everybody in the Coffee business, but especially to Coffee professionals who would like to know more about Coffee from Ecuador.

If you are interested to participate in my Tour in October please let me know. Due to logistic reasons we need to be a group of at least 10 Guests. I will keep you updated about the tour on this website.

quilanga-churchI love Quilanga, the small village south of Catamayo, just over the hill from Gonzanama in direction of Fundupamba and Amaluza near the Peruvian border. I arrived to Quilanga just for lunch on a beautiful day while investigating my “Coffee Harvest Tour”. The “Seco de Pollo” (Chicken with rice) in one of the eateries at the “plaza del pueblo” was excellent and to my surprise, a lot of guests have been drinking a cup of coffee to the almuerzo (lunch).

I was very curious about this unusual practice to drink coffee for lunch in Ecuador, so I asked the owner of the small restaurant to tell me about everything who is related to Coffee in Quilanga. She told me surprised that everything is Coffee related, that there are many small Coffee farmers in the village and its surroundings, but the most important person for Coffee is the village’s priest. He processes the Coffee from the farmers in his “Casa Paroquial” (rectory), she told me that I should definitely visit him after lunch.

coffee-laboratory-at-quilangas-priests-houseI rang at the priests house door, the priest opened then I explained him that I am in the region investigating for a Coffee Harvest Tour. He immediately let me in and started talking about Quilanga, the church, the Coffee farmers and of course the habit of the local population to drink a black Coffee sweetened with panela for lunch.

His whole rectory was full of Coffee processing utensils. He dries the Coffee on the roof of his house, then extracts the pulp and roasts the coffee in verious degrees. He explained me that the villagers of Quilanga like the coffee very little roasted, just a bit brown, but never black. This way the Coffee has the best taste when sweetend with Panela (suger from dried sugarcane jus).

After another 2 or 3 panela sweetended black Quilanga Coffees I continued my journey down the valley to a village called Amaluza near the Peruvian border. But about this journey I write in a later post.

village-of-quilangaquilanga-drying-coffee sherriesquilanga-valleypriest-of-quilangas-roasting-facilities

One of Ecuador’s actual problems with Coffee is that the Coffee shrubs are old and don’t produce the required quantity and quality of Coffee cherries any more.
George Ester, a Belgian National who consulted for years for the United Nations in agricultural questions, created his own laboratory in Mindo, west of Quito.
His goal is to produce the best Coffee Plants and to teach the local farmes in the region how to increase quantity and quality of their Coffee production. This effort is not always easy due to the bad experience farmes had with the Coffee production in the past.
We are visiting the Mindo – Nanegal region during some of our Coffee Tours and you will be introduced to the problems Georges Ester faces triying to change the habits of local farmers.
Unfortunately in Ecuador doesn’t exisit a centralized research station for Coffee at the moment, but that could be an interesting project in the future.

Coffee is not a popular drink in Ecuador. The large part of the population drinks a “Milk-Nescafe” in the morning. They put a “bit” of Nescafe powder directly into the milk to dissolve it. In popular Breakfast places you find also a little bottle of concentrated coffee on the table as an alternative to the Nescafe. By no means are Ecuadorians drinking strong coffee.

A nice coffee option is the “Cortado”. I like a “Cortado” during the day doing a short break in one of the outdoor terraces on Amazonas Avenue in Quito. “Cortado” is also a kind of Milk Coffee, in fact it is black Coffee blended with milk. In some places in Quito they serve it very nicely in a glass, at the bottom you have the black coffee and on the top the steam heated milk foam. In Barcelona exists something similar who is called “Tallat”. Cortado here in Quito is about 1 part Coffee and 2 parts Milk.

In Quilanga, a village south of Loja I drank for lunch a black filter coffee sweetened with “Panela”. “Panela” is obtained from boiling and evaporation of sugar cane juice. The particularity of this Coffee for lunch in Quilanga was that the lady in the kitchen sweetened the Coffee for me. There is no possibility for the consumer to sweet more or less.

What I mention here are just a few interesting Coffee habits here in Ecuador. On our tour we discover many more….


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Originally uploaded by PeterLauffer

In this picture you see the Cuellaje Coffee Hacienda where we will stay overnight when we arrive at the Intag Valley on our Coffee Harvest Tour. Cuellaje is a very remote village at the Entrance of the Intag Valley at about 1800 meters (5900 ft) above sea level. The normal visitor has not discovered this region yet, it is at least a 2 day journey form Quito in a private car.

Cuellaje is jewel of a village, it lies in a small side valley of the Intag Valley, between the “Paramo de Pinan” a large plain at an altitude of about 3500 – 4000 meters (11480ft – 13124ft) and the turbulent Intag Valley with the turbulent Apuela River.

This region produces one of the best Coffees in the Valley. Unfortunately are the access roads not in very good conditions and at the moment a 4 x 4 is recommended.