This is a lot from small producers in the Quilanga area, which is adjacent to the better known town of Vilcabamba. Caramelized sugar sweetness accented with vanilla, mild stone fruits, a touch of cedar, good sweet/bittersweet balance, syrupy mouthfeel, root beer spice finish. City to Full City.
We are starting to work more with small producers in the Cariamanga and Espindola areas of Ecuador, near the border with Peru. This is a lot from small producers in the Quilanga area, which is adjacent to the better known town of Vilcabamba. The area has fantastic coffee potential, but the prices for coffee have been so low historically that many small producers have simply given up on coffee. For those who continue, producing a rough form of natural dry-process coffee they call "bolla" locally has been an option. Unripe and ripe coffee are picked together, and the market price the bolla fetches barely makes harvesting worth the effort. But working with a local cooperative, ProcafeQ, we now have the opportunity to identify special microlots and buy carefully produced wet-process lots, or to build a blend from lots too small to export (as we do in Colombia and other places). This has opened up new possibilities for us, and this offering is from our first arrivals of this new Ecuador program. The Quilanga lots were from producers too small to export, some less than a single bag of coffee, so we combined the best to form the Quilanga-area blend. Yes, it is "Especial." Like the other coffees in the area, the plants are old Typica and you can see this in the elongated bean form of the green coffee.
The coffee has a nice caramel-malt sweetness in the lighter roasts, with just a trace of floral ester notes, turning to a more straightforward caramel scent at Full City. In the wet aroma, a jammy fruit scent, apricot/peach, is drawn forward from the City roast cups. The cup is marked by the same caramelized sugar sweetness evident in the aromatics, accented with vanilla. The lighter roast has mild stone fruits. Full City roast has an interesting savory quality, a touch of cedar, with a good sweet/bittersweet balance. It's not a super complex coffee, more straight-forward and with a "classic" restraint. The mouthfeel is syrupy but not overly sweet, and there is a bit of root beer spice accent in the finish as it cools. I really like the SO espresso I made from the FC roast of this coffee - very tangy chocolate-almond notes with spicy accents.