Sweet, unrefined sugars of panela dominate the cup, a hint of hazelnut, dancing florals, and a lively juiciness that gives a sparkle to the cup and brings to mind the first bite into a fresh honeycrisp apple. A unique cup profile from an exciting origin, variety, and producer.
This coffee by Mario Hervas of Finca Meridiano is not only appealing as the first Ecuadorian coffee we've had the pleasure to purchase but also the first variety of its type we've had. The Mejorado variety, commonly referred to as Typica Mejorado, is not actually a Typica, according to genetic testing done by World Coffee Research, but a cross between the Bourbon and Ethiopian Landrace varieties. This leads to a unique variety that often produces juicy, fruit-forward, and floral cup profiles.
Mario's meticulous handling does nothing but accentuate the positive characteristics of this special variety. At Finca Meridiano coffee is picked ripe and depulped/demucilaged the same day of harvest before being fermented underwater for 30 hours. It is then dried on raised beds in a greenhouse for 20–24 days.
Coffees from Ecuador are not cheap, and rightly so. Coffees exports are mostly an afterthought to the national economy, being largely petroleum rather than agriculture-reliant as compared to other coffee-growing countries. Historically low volumes of production have made it hard to fill the containers required for export. This has improved, largely thanks to a blossoming specialty market, but exports are still low. Higher minimum wages and a mostly local work force vs. a migrant one as found in many other countries, even in the specialty realm, drive up the costs of production, a point to contemplate. Add to all of that, the country's geographical location on the equator and its vast diversity of topography has made it especially susceptible to climate change.
Despite the challenges, farmers have seen possibility and growth potential within the specialty market. Perhaps fueled by this, and recognizing the price premiums available to the world's highest-quality coffees, many famers here have applied a combination of high quality varieties, like this Mejorado, with attentive and advanced farming practices. As a result, Ecuadorian coffees have become some of the most unique and beautiful coffees available.
A desirable variety paired with Mario's meticulous growing and processing at Finca Meridiano has produced a coffee that we are as grateful to get to drink ourselves as we are excited to be able to offer to you.