Ecuador coffee is a rarity. Finding a lot of Ecuador that actually shines is rare, although when you DO find one, they are magically good.
When the sample of this Ecuador arrived, we were cupping 8 or 10 coffees that day, and this one stood out by far. I don't remember anything else we drank that day, but we were still talking about this one the next morning. I called to reserve some and was put on a "waiting list" and we crossed our fingers for 6 weeks in hopes of hearing good news. Finally the good news arrived, and now this magical coffee is here. I have never had an Ecuador that tasted like this. In a blind tasting, I would certainly guess it's an African coffee.
This one is grown in the Southern part of the country where organic farming is the most common. The El Sitio farm takes meticulous care of their growing, sorting, and processing. The beans are all the Typica varietal, grown at 4,000-4500 feet above sea level, and the perfect coffee climate right on the Ecuador. The beans are small and need less heat than normal.
A City roast offers tremendous flavor. It has the juicy winey character of a Kenya with the sweetness of an Ethiopia and the body of a Colombia. We noted flavors of apple cider, cane sugar, red wine, cirtus. If you bring it out too soon out of the first cracks, it has a lot of "treble notes" (bright and tart) although is still VERY nice coffee. I prefer it a couple degrees darker which kills most of the tart and brings out the cane sugar sweetness and grape juice. You can roast it all the way up to the second cracks, but the further you go, the less interesting it becomes. I would not take it into the 2nd cracks, as it loses its complexity and picks up a bitter aftertaste. However, if the roast gets away from you and you find yourself in the second cracks, take it dark. Really dark. A good minute into 2nd cracks into deep French Roast territory where you get very sweet full bodied French roast without any ashy notes. Also, you can take this right around the 2nd cracks or just into it for a lovely espresso. Not a lot of crema, but great sweetness and creamy mouthfeel. This isn't a coffee you'll soon forget.
This is a February 2016 arrival.
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