I just returned home from a business trip to San Antonio. I wish I had more time to explore the city and do some sightseeing, but I will say this: San Antonio is a very cool place. The weather was great, the downtown area is beautiful, and the entire city is brimming with culture – colorful murals everywhere, a great deal of history that’s been preserved for generations, and a culinary scene that is next-level. I hope I have an opportunity to see the city again, sometime, when I have more free time to explore.
I had a bit of time that I needed to work, so I ventured over to the Pearl Brewery district and set up in a local coffee shop, coincidentally named Local Coffee. The coffee they serve and sell is roasted by Merit Coffee Company – a local roaster whose footprint is currently growing across Texas at a rapid pace, opening nine locations in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas in ten years. I bought a cup to drink while working in the shop, and I bought a bag to take home with me; and that’s the coffee I’m sipping today.
Welcome to the table. Today we’re cupping the Ecuador La Joya, from Merit Coffee Company in San Antonio, Texas. Feel free to pull up a chair.
Finca La Joya is a single farm micro-lot from the Gonzanamá region of Loja, harvested between August and September of 2018. The producer is Santiago Crespo and his farm sits at an elevation of between 1,890 and 1,930 meters above sea level, comprised of four hectares and and 16,000 trees in total. He has a huge mix of varietals which is very common in Ecuador, consisting of: Typica, Red and Yellow Caturra, Red and Yellow Bourbon, and Pacas.*
Merit hasn’t visited this farm personally, but is proud to show the work of their supply chain partner Stephen Levene. Stephen’s company now works with a wide range of Ecuadorian farmers, but La Joya was his very first purchase.
Farmer Santiago Crespo places a strong emphasis on post-harvest processing (pulping, fermentation, drying), which is crucial to the consistency and longevity of the coffee. Crespo also has an interesting mix of varieties on his farm, adding to the complexity of the lot. These are among the reasons that Levene has purchased Crespo’s harvest in its entirety for the past four years. Merit is delighted to share in Stephen’s enthusiasm for this delicious coffee.**
region: Gonzanamá, Loja, Ecuador
farm: Finca La Joya
producer: Santiago Crespo
elevation: 1890 – 1930 meters above sea level
varietal: Typica, Red Caturra, Yellow Caturra, Red Bourbon, Yellow Bourbon, Pacas
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Ecuador Finca La Joya is sweet and fragrant, brimming with scents of dried fruit, honey, brown sugar, and wildflowers.
The first sips from the cup are fairly emblematic of an Ecuadorian coffee—medium-bodied, mellow sweetness, mild acidity… Pretty straightforward with flavors of dried fruit and brown sugar. As the coffee cools, however, it becomes juicier and livelier with flavors of peach, pear, and white tea florals. Unfortunately the coffee is a bit overdeveloped, so there’s also a bit of a papery taste and a dry finish.
*content courtesy of Maquina Coffee Roasters
** content courtesy of Merit Coffee Company
UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED, ALL PRODUCTS REVIEWED ARE UNSOLICITED SUBMISSIONS FROM THE PRODUCT MANUFACTURER
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.