Happy Monday, coffee lovers! Welcome back to my table here in the corner of this cafe. I hope you all had a wonderful weekend – I had a wonderful chat over some coffee with Chermelle D. Edwards, the founder of smdlr.com – if you’re interested in what we talked about, you can read our conversation here. Very cool lady, very cool website.
We’re back to the regular week, though – back to the daily grind. And I’ve got some really awesome reviews and articles lined up for this week, so we better get down to it! Today, we’re going to be sipping another Procafeq selection – Ecuadorian Quilanga, from Ashland, Oregon-based Noble Coffee Roasting.
Ready for another comparative cupping? Feel free to pull up a chair.
Last week, we enjoyed a cup from the pride of North Carolina – Counter Culture Coffee’s El Gavilan; this is an Ecuadorian coffee produced by a small group of farmers in Quilanga on a COOP called PROCAFEQ. Today’s coffee, although from the same farm in Quilanga, comes to us from the other side of the country, up in the Pacific Northwest – Noble Coffee Roasting (currently being featured at The Wormhole‘s guest roaster pour-over bar).
This group of twelve farmers – a small sampling of the 331 members that make up PROCAFEQ – work with some of the best coffees in all of Ecuador at extremely high altitudes. I guess you could say their coffee is above the competition. In conjunction with Fapecafes (Federation of Ecological Coffee Producer Associations in the Southern Region), PROCAFEQ works towards improving the conditions for all their members by offering educational and organizational assistance, improving the quality of the product through new harvest and post-harvest technologies, developing social projects, and encouraging member participation in the larger democratic organization.
Origin: Quilanga, Loja, Ecuador
Farm: Procafeq COOP (Federation of Ecological Coffee Producer Associations in the Southern Region)
Elevation: 1700-2100 meters above sea level
Varietal: Typica, Bourbon, Pacas, Caturra
Process: washed, sun-dried
Certifications: Organic, Direct Trade, Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center
Again, like we saw with the El Gavilan last week, the most notable thing about this coffee’s aroma is it’s rich creaminess. This time, though, rather than a vanilla/caramel aroma, I’m detecting a wonderful milk chocolate scent. There’s also a bit of roasted almond nuttiness mingling in the fumes; I even smell soft, faint traces of jasmine.
The flavor, on the other hand, is almost nothing like the El Gavilan. Rather than tasting a rush of creamy vanilla and sweet cherry, I’m tasting a lot more fruitiness and slightly less creaminess. A muted dried cranberry is the first flavor I notice hitting the tip of the tongue, followed by a juicy surge of pear and red apples while a burnt orange peel spicy zest tingles the back of the throat and tongue. While it’s still hot, the almonds that were so present in the aroma make their presence apparent again in the flavor. When the cup cools, however, this almost becomes a totally different coffee. The sweet fruitiness starts to fade, the red apple turns to a green Granny Smith, and the burnt orange peel morphs into a grapefruit tartness as the acidity ups a little. However, despite that, the coffee never becomes bitter – saving it from that is the vanilla/caramel (what would that be called, nougat?) creaminess that was the hallmark of the El Gavilan comes into play, providing the drinker with a satisfying, rounded finish.
the bottom line:
Noble Coffee Roasting’s Ecuadorian Quilanga is a pretty unique cup of coffee. On it’s own, I would say that it’s pretty good; but when compared to the El Gavilan, from Counter Culture – I’ve gotta go with Counter Culture. While it’s not nearly as adventurous as Noble’s Ecuador, El Gavilan was a more enjoyable cup of coffee. Don’t hear me wrong – that’s not to say I didn’t like the Quilanga. I did.
Ecuadorian Quilanga has plenty of merits – It has a creamy and rich body, with a lot of fruitiness, nuttiness, and zest at play. It’s a pretty interesting coffee that more dedicated coffee drinkers will really like, but I don’t think it’s as accessible and approachable as it could be. Definitely one to at least be looked into.
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