A couple years ago we started working in the Espindola area of Ecuador, near the border with Peru to find special coffees. This is a lot from small producers in at town called El Batan. Well, you could call it a town, but El Batan has only one store. And most of the farmers are from the Chinchay family. Luz Chinchay (pictured) has a farm adjacent to that store. Farms have altitudes ranging from 1770 to 1820 meters . 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 is 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 (the case with this lot).
The El Batan lot is all about nuts and chocolate, with a dusting of cocoa powder to the dry fragrance, hazelnut and toffee. The aromatic has a lot of cocoa as well, with orange pekoe tea as well. The cup flavors follow suit; milk chocolate, not too aggressive in bittersweet character, with a more tea-like note emerging in the finish. My lighter roasts had spiced apple, and praline nut roast tone. City+ was the preferred level to get these nice complimentary flavors in the cup. I really like the SO espresso I made from the Full City roast of this coffee.