Ecuador is one of the more elusive origins, likely the result of a high cost of production, which makes it more difficult to compete in a global market.
Diversification has been the key to competing for the Asociación de Pequeños Exportadores Agropecuarios Orgánicos del Sur de la Amazonía Ecuatoriana (APEOSAE), which has 180 members. Individual farms are as large as 40 acres but usually only reserve 4 to 5 acres for coffee cultivation. The remainder of these farms produce cacao, plantains and yuca, which are also processed for the international market. Through APEOSAE, members have established organic farm management practices and organic certification for all of these products including coffee. Focus on quality has also been recognized with a fourth place finish in the 2018 Gold Cup coffee competitions.
The harvest starts with meticulous hand picked cherries that are washed and floated to remove less dense and damaged beans. Next the coffee is depulped, fermented, washed and gently dried on raised beds at the farm. The finished parchment is then transported to the central APEOSAE warehouse and stored in grainpro bags until it is time to mill and export. APEOSAE has its own dry mill, which allows for the same meticulous sorting through all the stages of post harvest processing.
Mixed Fermentation: Ripe cherries floated and then fermented whole for 90-94 hours prior to pulping and fermenting again in parchment underwater for 10-12 hours, then fully washed and dried on raised beds for 18 days.