While Ecuador is not traditionally known for its speciality coffee, I am building more conviction in the potential of this region. Altos De Saragullas, roasted by Redemption Roasters, is the second Ecuadoran coffee I have tasted lately, providing a delicious cup that kept me going this Sunday morning.
Altos De Saragullas is traceable down to a group of smallholders in the Lagunas de Saragullas area in the Loja region of Ecuador. This region grows approximately 20 percent of the Arabica coffee produced in Ecuador, according to The World Atlas of Coffee.
It is common for coffees to be traceable to a single area rather than an estate in Ecuador because the Ecuadoran speciality coffee industry is nascent. With that said, the fact this coffee is a blend from multiple farms does not detract from the quality. I have had many coffees that blend coffees from multiple smallholders. In Ethiopia, this practice is common, as many coffee growers own very small farms.
The roaster behind this coffee has a special story. Redemption Roasters, based in Her Majesty’s Prison The Mount, roasts their coffee behind bars. This is part of a program to help train prisoners in speciality coffee skills that they can use to find a job after leaving prison. People who leave prison without skills or a job are more likely to reoffend, according to Redemption’s website. By helping prisoners roast coffee, Redemption can help prisoners get on their feet. Redemption also helps students find employment.
Altos De Saragullas has a strong cherry aroma with a hint of lemon. This aroma correlates to the two flavour notes I picked up on most in the cup as I consumed this coffee: cherry and lemon. The cherry flavour dominates this coffee, with the lemon flavour coming clearer as the coffee cools. These two flavours balance well and are accompanied by a citrus acidity.
This coffee, like I have come to expect from many coffees with cherry notes, is very sweet. This coffee has a juicy body, a quality I really like in coffee. In terms of the finish, I was left with a lingering cherry flavour that remained in my mouth for some time after drinking the coffee. As I write, I can still recall the cherry flavour in this coffee; smooth, balanced, and delicious.
Altos De Saragullas is a washed coffee which means the coffee was washed before the pulp was removed from the cherries. Then, the beans are left to ferment in tanks for a period of time before they are brought out and once again washed. The coffee seeds are left out to dry for a few days until they reach the desired moisture content before they are ready for the next stage of processing.
This coffee is more simple than others that I’ve tasted. I like this quality. Whereas I am sometimes confused about the flavours in coffee, I could tell quite quickly this coffee had a cherry note. It is nice not to have to think too hard to understand what I taste in a coffee.
You can learn more about Redemption Roasters and their coffees at www.redemptionroasters.com.
About This Coffee
Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra, Typica
Altitude: 1200 - 1900 m
Tastes: Cherry, lemon