This is the first Ecuador that Happy Mug has carried. There are two problems with Ecuador. The first is the low volume that the country exports. They ship out 400,000 pounds a year which sounds like a lot, but when you think about 50 million pounds a year out of Brazil and 15 million pounds a year out of Colombia, you see that Ecuador's industry is just a speck on the graph. The second problem is that all of the coffee here is still processed by hand by the individual farmers, and with varying success. And then all pooled together by the various members of the co-op. So finding a lot of Ecuador that actually shines is almost unheard of.
What I can say about this one, is it has fair trade and organic certification and the beans look nice and more importantly, tastes NICE. A City roast offers more flavor than one would expect. Nicer than a Peru, nicer than a Colombia or Brazil. Not on par with say, a Costa Rica, but hey, that's not a fair comparison. There's not one outstanding tasting note to mention, but overall I think you could call it chocolate and apple and be on the right track. Maybe a little nut as well. As you get it to Full City, it loses that depth of flavor and turns a bit flat. At the second cracks it comes back, and while it loses the apple/chocolate notes, it is a solid nice traditional coffee with a good balance of brightness and body with no defects to note. This is actually where I'm landing it as a production roast to show off for customers, and I've gotten complements on it at this roast level. Take it a bit darker yet, and it is a nice single origin espresso because it is makes a middle-of-the-road shot -- nothing too bright or fruity or rough or crazy -- just a nice drinkable smooth shot of espresso with decent crema.
So while I'm not raving up and down about this coffee, it is solid. It is a really nice representation of Ecuadorian coffee, and supports fair and organic farming. It's good enough to stand behind and shows a glimpse of where the Ecuador coffee industry is heading. This is the 2014 crop.
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