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Ecuador

Finca La Colina

Many competitors choose Sidra, one of the varietals here alongside Typica, for its cupping quality (comparable to Gesha’s). This cup is sweet and silky with lots of candy-like flavours. We taste toffee apple and lemon sherbet.

Body     Acidity

Roasted omni for filter and espresso

It’s the third time that Wilter Guillermo, from Finca La Colina, makes it to our VS department. This lot features a mix of Typica and Sidra varietal, fermented through a washed process.


VERY SPECIAL

You may remember La Colina’s previous VS features—a lovely washed Sidra shared in March 2023 and a silky washed Typica in May of the same year. The lot we’re sharing this time is a mix of both varieties that are still worthy of a spot in our VS lineup. Here’s why.

First is the varietal, Sidra. As we mentioned back then, it’s rare, not even listed on the World Coffee Research archive (as of March 2024). Some whisper that it “originated from a NestlĂ© coffee breeding facility in the region, which developed hybrids using Ethiopian and Bourbon varieties.” Something more solid is its reputation for cupping potential, as more and more World Coffee Championship competitors choose it alongside Geisha.

Second is the higher-than-average price. Compared to similar quality lots from other origins, this one sits on the top end. This is due to a complex combination of political, economic and social factors (that we’ll try to summarise below).

Because of this, and because its cupping presence and flavour profile are as refined as they get, this lot by Guillermo Walter from Finca La Colina is our choice for this month’s Brew Crew VS delivery.



ECUADOR: IT’S COMPLICATED

As Caravela Coffee tells us, the high price of Ecuadorian green coffees comes down to (1) low national supply/high global demand, (2) low productivity and yields compared to other producing countries and (3) very high costs of production (~2 times more expensive compared to its neighbours, caused by Ecuador’s dollarized economy). Add to this the toll of emigration, pushing the average age of farmers to “60 years old”. It really is complicated.

If we dig deeper, we find a curious aspect that may contribute to this global imbalance: Ecuador’s status as one of the largest exporters of instant coffee. Yes, quite weird.

While the country produces a small portion of the global green coffee output, it’s one of the largest exporters of instant coffee ( mainly to Germany and Russia, where this country has a wide presence and established reputation). To do that, they import high volumes of green coffee from other countries like Vietnam, which they mix, process and finally sell as a finished soluble (Ecuadorian) product.

For national coffee producers, it’s easy to enter this established market; it offers low risk and decent rewards. On the contrary, producing specialty coffee brings a lot of unknowns, fierce global competition and selling prices that are hard to match. No wonder there are few who dare.

On the bright side, looking at the future, there is a blooming generation of growers who believe there’s a fair life and business to be made by producing high-quality arabica beans. One of them is Wilter Guillermo—respect.


WILTER GUILLERMO’S GIG

Like everyone here, Guillermo’s days start with a cup of coffee; he loves drinking it. Unlike everyone here, Guillermo decided to transform this passion into his profession, and even though he had no experience, he started his own coffee farm—Finca La Colina.

In 2014, he planted the first coffee trees. Even though he didn’t know much, the first harvest went relatively well; he made mistakes, and he learnt from them, but he also had many wins. It was all personal growth and self-learning, a dream come true.

In 2016, he produced a decent output: 540 kilograms of high-quality dry parchment that entered the specialty coffee market and, later that year, achieved 5th place in the Taza Dorada competition. Not bad for a beginner.




TYPICA VARIETAL

Typica is rare to see these days. It’s not because it’s a new variety—its origins can be traced back to sometime in the 15th or 16th century when it was taken to Yemen, then India, Java, Netherlands, Paris… and finally, Central America.

Until the 1940s, most coffee plantations in South and Central America were planted with Typica, but due to its low yield and high susceptibility to major coffee diseases, it has gradually been replaced with other varieties. Today, it’s still mainly planted in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica (where it is called Jamaica Blue Mountain)and Peru because it still offers a good or high-quality cup.

Learn more about the long travels of Typica at the World Coffee Research page, from which we’ve sourced this information.


SIDRA VARIETAL

Sidra (also known as Sydra or Bourbon Sidra) is a relatively new hybrid varietal descending of Red Bourbon and Typica. It has acquired the sweetness and the body of the first and the bright taste and acidity of the second.

According to Daily Grind, it is believed that Sidra comes from the Pichincha province in Ecuador, where it may have been created as a research project by a Nestlé local breeding facility that developed hybrids using Ethiopian and Bourbon varieties.



THIS LOT’S PROCESS

The cherries have grown at a relatively low altitude (~1370 masl) under partial shade provided by Guamo and Plantain trees. After being picked completely ripe, they’ve been fully washed and fermented for 14 hours, then dried on raised beds in a covered patio.


 

All the images and information about this coffee and its producers have been kindly shared by the importer, Caravela Coffee, and edited by us, Sample Coffee (unless linked to or credited otherwise).

Resting beans inside the sealed bag helps develop peak flavours and acidity

Learn how long and why you should wait in our brewing window recommendations.

Try our step-by-step recipes and videos

Our recipes are easy to follow and designed to bring the best out of our coffee. Find your favourite method on our brew guides collection or test a new one—and if you have any questions, ask us anytime at [email protected].

Producer

Wilter Guillermo Lomas Lopez

Country

Ecuador

Region

Parroquia

Altitude

1370m above sea level

Varietals

Typica, Sidra

Process

Washed

Harvested

September 2023

Body

Acidity

Tasting notes

Toffee apple, lemon sherbet

Roast style

Omniroast

Varietals

Sidra varietal

Sidra (also known as Sydra or Bourbon Sidra) is a new hybrid varietal, made of Red Bourbon and Typica and combines characteristics of these two varieties. It has acquired the sweetness and the body of Red Bourbon and the bright taste and acidity of Typica.

Typica varietal

Considered to be one of the ‘genus’ varietals from which all other varietals have mutated from

The location

Coffee from Ecuador

For a long time most of Ecuador’s coffee production was for commodity grade export or the production of soluble coffees (freeze dried coffee). Only in the last few years has the potential of the country’s coffee production been really explored. We’re very excited about the potential Ecuador and have some truly exceptional coffees

Farm processes

Washed process

Machines are used to remove the flesh from the coffee cherry before being fermented in water, washed again, and finally sun dried. This process tends to result in more distinct, cleaner flavours.

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