Photo: The view from Quilanga. Photo provided by Virmax.
La Libertad is our first offering from Ecuador,an equatorial country located in the north-western nook of South America,bordering coffee powerhouse Colombia. Grown by 18 different small-holder producers from the tiny village of La Libertad in the southern province of Loja,this lot is just 2, 250 lbs (15 export bags) of Organic,shade-grown,and bird-friendly coffee whose quality far exceeds the Gimme standard.
I classify this coffee as a true 'washed mild',meaning that the cup profile is unmistakably sweet and clean,with no flavor surprises. What you should get is a cup balanced throughout all aspects: from the honey and brown sugar aroma,to the ripe candy-like cherry tangerine,and vanilla flavor,a gently tapered clean finish... all complimented by a full,soft body.
Photo: The "quality rainbow" of coffee cherries. Photo provided by Virmax.
La Libertad comes to us from our partners,coffee guru exporters Virmax Café. Based in Bogotá,Colombia,Virmax works in regions as far north as Huehuetenango,Guatemala down to Caranavi,Bolivia.Working in partnership with Virmax,we are able to bring you amazing coffees like Colombia Finca San Luis,Colombia Las Mingas and Guatemala Providencia Atitlán. They not only discover some of the highest quality microlots in Central and South America,but they actually put in the time,capital and energy to educate producers and producer groups to grow,harvest and sort their coffee for quality premiums. This is exactly how we are able to offer La Libertad to you.
Alejandro Cadeña,managing director of Virmax Café,has been working with one of the most advanced producer cooperatives in Ecuador,called FAPECAFES,since 2006. Still,they've only just started seeing the return on both quality and yield in the past few years. Ecuador is no easy country to work with on the large scale,given their economic struggles since the late 1990's,and high labor rate due to the fact that their economy is dollarized,but Virmax works on the small-scale to find willing producers who want to gain notoriety and market access by putting in the extra effort on the production level.
Photo: Typica seedlings in the coffee nursery. Photo provided by Virmax.
"Ecuador is Colombia of 20 years ago, " Cadeña recently explained to me,the indication being that the infrastructure of Ecuador's coffee industry is well behind its neighbor. The lack of investment into quality coffee production has meant that plants are sometimes producing 80% less than their capacity. Still,what is being produced is purchased at base,or below base,prices as the majority of coffee produced in Ecuador is low quality Robusta and natural processed coffee for the soluble market (instant coffee). With this as the general theme for Ecuador's coffee production,it becomes difficult to make the extra effort in quality production seem viable for a majority of producers.
Working from the ground up,Virmax Café has been visiting producer groups more than 4 times annually,and has employed on-site quality managers to continue educating growers on techniques and standards. Since their initial investment into cooperatives since 2006,they have seen volumes quadruple and the average price for coffee increase 100% from $2/lb to $4/lb... well above standard Fair Trade price.
Fine Extra Dark Chocolate (71% Cocoa from Ecuador) - Pack of 4 Bars
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Peoples Bark News Berkeley (Part 2)2001-09-24 14:56:04 by johnvance
This is a continuation of the Peoples Bark News
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