Ecuador is a challenging origin for most roasters. The fact is, coffee from Ecuador is expensive and next to other South American coffees, it is difficult to make the price work. A number of unique economic factors contribute to the high price tag. Most significantly, Ecuador uses US currency, making all of the country’s imports and exports more expensive. When oil prices collapsed, the government raised taxes and tariffs on imports, making things like farm equipment and fertilizers more expensive, increasing the cost of producing coffee. Ecuador also enforces strict labor laws, requiring all full-time workers make a living wage, receive health care, and paid time off. All of these increased costs put the pressure on farmers to produce the highest quality coffees possible on the tightest possible margins.
While the social and economic circumstances make Ecuador an interesting conversation, the coffee produced there is incredibly unique. Through Red Fox Coffee Merchants, we purchased this washed Bourbon from producer Yessenia Murillo in the Pichincha region of Ecuador. Her farm, named Finca Pisashi, is relatively new–only 5 years old–and is located in the Chocó Andino biosphere reserve of Ecuador, just 2 hours from Quito. Yessenia was drawn to coffee farming through her love of the land, and a desire to positively impact her community. Finca Pisashi is powered by renewable energy, and Yessenia has prioritized hiring women for her workforce.
This Bourbon variety tastes clean and sweet. It has a full body and a lasting floral sweetness. I cupped it this morning and gave notes of Apricot, Honeydew Melon, and Cane Sugar.
Ecuadorian coffee always arrives during a dark time of the year when we are waiting for all of the fresh harvest coffee from the rest of Central and South America to arrive. Because of their earlier harvest cycle, Ecuadorian coffees are the daffodil of the coffee harvest cycle, beautiful in their own right, but also a sign that spring is coming.