A couple years ago we started to work more with small producers in the Espindola area of Ecuador, near the border with Peru. 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). This has opened up new possibilities for us, and this is our 3rd year with the Ecuador program. The Espindola lots were from producers who had distinctive coffees but were too small to export, some less than a single bag. So we combined the best to form the Espindola region lot. 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 dry fragrance has something I would call "toasted almond granola" character. In the wet aroma, caramel dominates, with milk chocolate and almond is dominate in the roast notes once again. The cup is marked by a caramelized sugar sweetness evident in the aromatics, accented with vanilla. There is a hint of tangerine, apple, lemon zest (turning more toward lemon grass as it cools). The mouthfeel is silky and the body fairly light. It's not a super complex coffee, more straight-forward and with "classic" restraint. I think it expresses the Typica cultivar flavor well. I remember fondly the same flavor profile from a Mexico Oaxaca coffee and some of the highest-grown Kona coffees, also pure Typica types. I really like the SO espresso I made from this coffee as well.