It’s been just fourteen months since we started Red Fox Coffee Merchants and we’re thankful and proud to be where we currently stand at the moment. If this industry is as tall as Aconcagua, I figure we’ve at least arrived to shore and left our vessel for more stable ground. We have a long trek ahead of us yet and very much look forward to it. Building the business around South American and East African coffees has proven to be unique and valuable to our customers. Without question Colombia, Peru and Ethiopia have made up the core of our business to date; we would still be adrift at sea without those origins. It has yet to be determined, however, where exactly our heart lies. After all, it’s the intrigue and passion for something new, something better, that gives us our pulse as coffee sourcers in the first place.
Ecuador is tiny in geographical stature compared to its neighbors, and it’s tiny in its total coffee production as well. Loja, Zamora, and the southern corridor bordering Peru are the epicenter of Arabica coffee production in the country. Certain pockets within the departments of Carchi, Imbabura, and Pichichincha represent a very small portion of the country’s total coffee exports. The commodity coffees of Guayaquil, both Robusta and Arabica, are still what Ecuador is known for, along with the rubbish that gets traded as Galapagos. Even with the traction it has gained in the specialty marketplace in the past decade, Ecuador is still not an origin of much importance. It’s likely that it will continue to struggle to be a vocal player.
But slowly and surely, in our small way, we aim to change that — at least by providing the microphone. There is something about the farmers we work with in the small valley in Pichincha, the dry climates and high altitudes outside Catamayo that absolutely intrigues us. We’ve found incredible coffee varietals all over the country — Tekisik from El Salvador, Guatemala-style Bourbon, versions of Typica reminiscent of Villalobos, distinctly Ethiopian-style varietals, Caturra and more. For a guy who’s spent more than a decade traveling the world in search of its finest coffees, Ecuador is a paradise of potential. Throw in the fact that all of our coffee gets stored, milled, and packaged at 8,000 feet, and we have something special here. Colombia, Peru and Ethiopia are the foundation of the home we’ve built, but Ecuador just may be the hearth that fuels the future.
We’ve held back two of our arrivals that we’re offering through the newsletter today. They’re beautiful, complete coffees. They both have a nougat-like sweetness and creme fraiche flavors and mouthfeel. These are the Guatemalan coffees of the Southern Hemisphere.