Ecuador is producing some exciting coffee these days. What makes it better is that the farms are typically small and the variety of flavour potential is enormous. For specialty coffee, this is a dream, as there is real competition to get these coffees and the prices are much higher than we pay to larger producers. We could not buy last year’s coffees for love or money.
This season we had two coffees lined up from Finca Franjares, sadly and not uniquely there were issues with one of the lots. So we have one delicious single varietal, single estate. This is like a honey-processed coffee from Ethiopia, grown in Ecuador. Yes, the easiest answer would, of course, be to buy a bag.
Farmer: Francisco Javier Restrepo & Gabriela Valarezo
Farm: Finca Franjares
Farm size: 5 Hectares
Varietal: Etiopia ML (Hybrid varietal unique to Ecuador, originating with Ethiopian varietals)
Process: Fully washed and fermented for 22 hours.
Nearest town: Nanegalito
Altitude: 1750 meters above sea level.
Roast level: Light filter.
Aromatically this coffee is a little like a great Ethiopian Sidamo, in the sense that you can smell the sugars and citrus. However, this is where the similarities stop for me. The ripe stonefruit, yellow and green plum, soft, cocoa and chocolatey (not in a dark-roast-kind-of way!). Creamy body and just so ridiculously balanced. In previous years, our Ecuador has not been this sweet or easy drinking. What I would add here is that although this is a washed coffee, it (mouth) feels like a honey process.
Filter recipe: Standard 60-65g per litre.
Because we have roasted this coffee, primarily as a filter it is extractable as espresso also works in milk.
Standard 1:2, s0 17-34g is my easy go-to recipe for milk-based drinks. 26-30 secs is good. If you, like me prefer a little more water through your shots, then another 10g of water, i.e. 17-45 or even 50g of liquid makes for a super sweet and complex shot. We tend to run our machines, so they deliver 93C.
Hopeful outcome: Butterscotch, creamy coffee deliciousness in milk (up to 9oz quite happily), as the cup sizes reduce, the more fruit opens up. In espresso, this is intense, complex, juicy sweetness.
Having grown up in Ecuador, Francisco has had a calling to coffee, although he grew up in suburbia. Francisco’s extended family comes from the mountains in Caldas, Colombia, part of Colombia’s famous coffee triangle. There his grandfather used to produce coffee on a tiny farm doing his best with the few resources he had. Fate seemed to be aligning as around the same time Ecuadorian coffee was coming into fashion and the old family farm turned out to be located perfectly for coffee production. The weight of this knowledge left no choice in Francisco’s mind as to what he must do next, to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and to start producing coffee.