Fapecafes Ecuador - Alchemy #20
Thursday, March 9, 2017
In the beginning of 2016, many of our staff gathered to plan out the year’s coffees, including seasonals and limited releases like those in our Alchemy Series. We knew that our number of iterations in the series was creeping near #20, and we all thought...wouldn’t it be amazing if we could release Alchemy #20 this year, our 20th? The gears began to turn as we plotted out which small lots we could secure as part of the Alchemy lineup.
The coffee had other plans for us
As the months passed, the usual course of events in the coffee world transpired. Coffees were delayed at port, caught up in customs, or simply could not fit into our rotation at the roastery. It began to appear that we would have to push Alchemy #20 to the early part of 2017. Though we had our own plans for the release of Alchemy #20 FAPECAFES Ecuador, the coffee had other plans for us. Looking back, it’s fitting that all of this transpired as this coffee has proven to be anything than what we expected.
Hours spent at the sample roaster and in the lab
Our Head Roaster, Derek, really took this coffee through its paces in setting up the roasting profile for the release of Alchemy #20. That included hours spent on the sample roaster and in the cupping lab, testing out various roasting curves and finishes. The deep savory notes and high acidity even at a medium roast level stood out to our roasting team. On the table, this coffee resembled some of the beautiful Kenyan coffees our team had enjoyed from other local roasters. Thankfully, Derek had some experience with high-quality Kenyan coffees, as this coffee required us to approach the roasting process from a new angle. We spent time developing the roast profile to enhance body, bring out sweetness, and achieve a balanced cup. We think the results made the extra work worthwhile!
Just over 300 small-scale producers
The farmers who grew this beautiful Ecuadorian coffee are dispersed in municipalities on the southernmost tip of Ecuador, close to the Peruvian border. FAPECAFES dates back to 2002 and was founded to help small-scale farmers in the area improve conditions for growing native crops like coffee and plantains. FAPECAFES is an umbrella cooperative that helps collect, process, and export coffee to importing countries around the world. The coffee for Alchemy #20 comes from APECAP and ACRIM, which are part of FAPECAFES. Both of these associations surround the municipality of Palanda and have just over 300 producer members.
A truly memorable cup
In the brew lab, the French press bears a cup that is buttery and sweet. Notes of cantaloupe, almond, and butterscotch fill your mug with delicately balanced flavors. Filter coffee brews, like the Chemex, bring out rounded chocolate notes, along with a nuanced rosehip and baked apple sweetness. No matter the method, this coffee is grown and roasted to bring a truly memorable cup to your counter.