Gonzalo Castillo conducts a meticulous selection of cherries of his coffee, selecting only the reddest, ripest cherries for depulping. Coffee is picked most mornings and depulped by 5 PM. The coffee undergoes dry fermentation for 14 hours and is washed the following morning. After washing, the coffee is soaked for 10 more hours, after which it is set in African beds in a hoop house to dry for up to eight days. At 14% moisture, the coffee is turned in to APECAP to finish drying on a concrete patio. Overall, Gonzalo turned in 24 QQ of parchment, of which 16 were selected as the first prize winner in the 2015 Bracamoros cupping competition.

The son and grandson of coffee farmers from Palanda, Gonzalo Castillo is 42 years old. He is married and the father of six children. He is a founding member of APECAP, where he has been selling his organic coffee since 2002. In addition to coffee, he grows corn and yuca for his family’s consumption. Through APECAP he has conducted soil analysis of his farm, adapting his compost to increase potassium and nitrogen levels through banana stalks and cherry pulp. He has very good production levels despite the presence of Roya (coffee leaf rust) in the area since he renovated his entire production two years ago with new plants.

“On my behalf I am very thankful for the price paid for this coffee,” says Gonzalo. “If I can continue receiving high prices I will continue to turn in coffee to APECAP. I also want to thank the buyer for [helping to] improve my family’s well being.”*

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the APECAP Ecuador, Gonzalo Castillo Microlot, from Higher Grounds Trading Company in Traverse City, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THEDETAILS

origin: Palanda, Zamora Chinchipe, Ecuador
farm: Gonzalo Castillo Microlot
producer: Gonzalo Castillo
association: APECAP/Fapecafes
elevation: 1700 meters above sea level
cultivars: Typica, Caturra, Bourbon
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
certifications: standard

CUPPINGNOTES

The aroma of the APECAP Ecuador is absolutely, incredibly, delectably sugar sweet. Wow. As soon as I opened the packaging, huge scents of vanilla ice cream and caramel come wafting out. In addition to these sugary scents, I’m also detecting some nuances of subtle stone fruits.

The flavor follows the nose. This coffee is on the lighter side of a medium body and features a creamy mouthfeel which is characterized by those sugary notes found in the aroma: vanilla, nougat, and snickerdoodle cookie. As the coffee cools, a citric acidity emerges amid flavors of white grape, peach, nectarine, bergamot, and cantaloupe. Each sip finishes cleanly, leaving behind a soft, lingering aftertaste of black tea aromatics.

FINALTHOUGHTS

Coffees from Ecuador have really been impressing me over the past year or so and this one – Higher Ground’s APECAP Ecuador, from Gonzalo Castillo’s microlot – is one of the better ones I’ve had.

This coffee was supremely tasty; unbelievably sweet sugared stone fruit flavors in a cup that possessed a fantastic clarity, balance, and roundedness that made it very drinkable. Further, it featured a ton of depth and layeredness; it was a coffee that just kept going and going, never becoming dull or monotonous.

I can’t recommend this one highly enough.

*content courtesy of Higher Grounds Trading Company

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