After flying around and over Ecuador for over a decade, I finally went there this past year. I was invited to judge a coffee competition called Taza Dorada - where the country’s top coffee producers battle it out for the coffee of the year. That’s where I met Jose Luis Eguiguren, the man behind Hacienda Santa Gertrudis.
One thing I love about Jose Luis is that he is not afraid to take risks and this is how he has achieved so much in so little time. He only started in coffee farming in 2015, ya, that’s right! 2015! What has made him such a coffee prodigy is that he started from the outside in: he fell in love with an SL28 from Kenya he tried in Portland and that experience single handedly changed his view on coffee. Let’s hold off on more details on Jose Luis’ journey, and let’s get back to this coffee.
OK, back to Jose Luis. So, he started in coffee in 2015, but coffee is actually in his blood. His grandfather, Luis Emilio, first planted coffee in Hacienda Santa Gertrudis in the 1950s. Jose Luis’ father then expanded the coffee plantation in the 1990s, but the market collapse of 1999 forced them to abandon the coffee plantation and focus on the construction business.
But in 2015, Jose Luis’ newfound love for coffee propelled him to plant Caturra, Yellow Catuaí, Gesha, SL-28, Typica Mejorado and Sidra. By the way, this is from Jose Luis himself - it sums up why he’s knocked it out of the park in so little time.
“Naturally, drinking the SL-28 aroused my curiosity; how do you obtain those flavours? Was it the variety? The origin? Could this be replicated in Santa Gertrudis? There would be no turning back; I decided to follow this new passion to undertake the journey to produce world-class coffee. I began to educate myself on coffee. I planted coffee at the farm again, searching for high-quality genetic material, and investigating and implementing new processing and drying techniques.“
So, that should give you a glimpse into the kind of fire that drives Jose Luis. That fire has resulted in him reaching world class status in an incredibly short time. I will say one more thing about Jose Luis - he is kind, generous and humble - I can say he’s quickly become one of my favourite people to visit at origin.
This coffee is a Sidra that has gone through 48 hours of anaerobic fermentation in cherry form. This helps impart many of the fruity flavours in the cup. The coffee was then de-pulped and fermented anaerobically in mucilage for another 72 hours. The coffee was then washed and dried gently in Jose Luis’ covered raised beds. The meticulous processing helps get the most out of this amazing variety.