The country of Ecuador lies along the Andean mountain range, nestled between Peru and Colombia. With primarily heirloom varietals, small family farms, and altitude in abundance, Ecuador has the foundation to produce some of the world’s finest coffees.
However, the coffee industry there has mainly taken a different route, opting for high yielding, low quality varietals, with over three quarters of all production going towards the instant coffee market. With much of their amazing terroir (quite literally) being diluted, still some farmers have stayed committed to quality. Despite the lack of government assistance, partnerships with specialty coffee importers and roasters have kept up demand for these rare and unique lots. As a country with a high minimum wage and individual benefits, Ecuador may be a bellwether for future specialty markets if conditions for farmers and pickers improve. Namely, that their coffees are more expensive due to a supply chain that must take into account a true living wage. We think it’s worth every penny.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Ecuador Gilda Carrascal, from Halfwit Coffee Roasters in Chicago, Illinois, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Las Tolas, Pichincha, Ecuador
producer: Gilda Carrascal
association: La Prosperidad de Chirinos
elevation: 1650 – 1700
process: fully washed, patio dried
The aroma of the Ecuador Gilda Carrascal is fairly complex complex, with a lot of interesting nuances – maple syrup, nuts, stone fruit, light florals… It’s light and fragrant and delightful.
As I took my first sip from the cup, my eyes widened and I exclaimed, “Wow!” Honestly. From the very first sip, this medium-bodied coffee bursts to life with bright, vibrant, juicy flavors of effervescent white peach and the light malic tartness of Gala apple. This is such a smooth coffee, and it has a really complex mouthfeel – it’s syrupy and it coats the palate, but it also has a bright juiciness that splashes over my tongue. Maple syrup, brown sugar, dark chocolate, and pecan pie serve as the platform for bright fruit flavors, like grape, cherry, pear, and malic acidity to really shine upon.
Halfwit Coffee Roasters’s Ecuador Gilda Carrascal was truly a special coffee; one that blew my mind, really. I’m not kidding when I write that my first reaction to my first sip was “Wow!”
I don’t expect Pacamaras to deliver these kinds of cups, and I don’t typically expect these kinds of cups coming out of Ecuador. While it did have that heavy, syrupy, palate-coating mouthfeel that Pacamaras are famous for, it also featured some bright, juicy, and effervescent fruit flavors that absolutely dazzled my taste buds up front and throughout the rest of the cup.
*content courtesy of Halfwit Coffee Roasters
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.