Ecuador is known for its incredible biodiversity. It is in fact the most biodiverse country on earth for its size, which makes it a great place to grow coffee in.
Studies have proved that growing coffee on areas with more biodiversity leads to better crops. If the area is suitable for animals that pollinate coffee and eat the pests, they will also improve the harvest by doing so. Research on how biodiversity affects the quality and quantity of coffee crops took place in Tanzania a few years ago. The results revealed that when birds and bats had access to the coffee plants, the plants developed almost 10% more cherries in that area. Researchers believed that it was due to the fact that the animals ate the pests that would otherwise use the coffee plants as their nutrition.
With incomparable biodiversity and high growing levels such as mountains and volcanos, Ecuador’s nature has all it takes to produce amazing coffee. And it actually does produce a lot of coffee but very little of it makes it to the specialty coffee markets. It is one of the 15 countries in the world that produce both Arabica and Robusta and big part of the coffee production is devoted to Robusta and second grade Arabica. They also export most of their coffee as instant coffee; in the year 2014, 86% of the coffee they exported was instant coffee, only 14% green coffee. Jaiks.
Fortunately this is changing as the Ecuadorian Department of Agriculture and local farmer co-ops are focusing more on educating farmers about the benefits of producing specialty grade coffee.
Since Ecuador is not a big time player in the specialty coffee market, getting this lot from there to the roastery was even more exciting. The lot is named after Espíndola, a cantón in the Loja province in the south-east part of Ecuador and it is collected from 20 small producers around the area. 20% of the whole country’s Arabica is produced in Loja and a good deal of the top coffees from Taza Dorada (translates into Golden Cup, it is the green coffee competition for local farmers) have been produced there.