First, we start with the history of the best Ecuadorian coffee brands. Up until the 1980s, Ecuador had a strong global presence for the best cup of coffee you could sample. This was superseded by the Vietnamese market in the early parts of this decade, but the business kept drumming along to become what we know it today. Before this, the market thrived and while it is still in recovery, the love for Ecuadorian coffee never truly left. It has always represented quality caffeine and true diversity when it comes to roast type, flavour, quality, and impact. There has long been a range of flavours dominated by chocolate tones, fruity and floral hints, and even spice too for some types of grinds.
- Coffee was grown firstly in the coastal regions owing largely to the favourable conditions the sea level provided. Most noticeably, Manabi took the lead here and still does today.
- The early plantations date back to the late 1800s.
- There have always been established products for both instant and ground coffee here.
The Best Regions to Consider
When it comes to sourcing the best region to explore or try out, there are five to pick from. Within these regions, there are separate plantations and areas that merit a visit or simply a purchase to try out what they have to offer.
Some Galapagos coffee brands have made their way into big corporate houses, and it is easy to see why. There are so many options here to pick from that produce exceptional roasts and a whole spectrum of flavours more than worth exploring.
Places like Loja are highly valued in the Southern Highlands for what they have to offer in the big game of coffee. While there is fierce competition in this area, the beans are primarily organic, medium acidity, and medium roasted by definition.
The Northern highlands is where you will find the Intag Valley (see more below on this fantastic location). There are famous brews all over this region and it is well known for its Arabica bean which has a strong taste and low acidity.
There are a few notable rainforest regions in Ecuador that take the lead with certain types of coffee, mainly instant. You can find the best offerings from Orellana.
A large portion of coffee from this country can be sourced back to the coastal regions. Mainly El Oro and Manabi are the leading regions that are changing the face of coffee as we know it here and dominate the whole of the caffeine market in Ecuador. The climate and conditions allow for perfect growing and production conditions.
Coffee in Ecuador for Modern Times
As Ecuador grows both economically and socially, so does the culture of coffee drinking. You will not find a town that does not have an offering of beautiful establishments to try an authentic coffee beverages in, and the flavour variety is mind-blowing. The country is full of organic farm plantations that take pride in quality products, and it has driven a boom in how people want to drink and what they expect from their cups. Modern times have seen a real shift from the yesteryears of cheap, instant, and poorly produced caffeine. It has shifted into something bespoke and truly Ecuadorian in all respects.
Famous Plantations Worth a Visit
If you want to try the coffee out firsthand, there are lots of plantations worth visiting in Ecuador. The most famous are listed here.
Aside from the rolling greenery and general breathtaking views, Intag valley has some of the best coffee to represent the authentic Ecuadorian vibe. There are a few different accommodation options if you are looking to stay for a few days, and plenty of informational tours to partake in. For those who want to be directly involved in seeing where their cup comes from, this is a tour you will never forget.
The whole experience of Finca Frajeres will become a core memory. There is a bus that will take you right to the entrance, so you don’t have to worry about getting lost off the beaten track. You can take part in a detailed tour to find out how the coffee is grown, packaged, and produced for the masses and the owner will often lead these directly. Make sure you have your translator to hand if you do not know much Spanish, as this is all a part of the journey you will be taking.
Where to Buy Ecuadorian Coffee
If you want to try Ecuadorian coffee but are not sure where to begin, you have a few avenues to explore as we will discuss below.
Local Coffee Shops
Most local coffee shops with a credible reputation will have a good selection of global coffee labels to try out. It is almost guaranteed that a few of these will be from Ecuador, considering how well-known the region is for producing outstanding products in this department.
If you are struggling to find a good barista nearby, the more direct route would be to source your own to enjoy at home. The easiest way to do this is by opening up your browser and checking out the selection that the internet has to offer. Here are the top five Ecuadorian brands you can buy right now to try out in your own kitchen. Make sure you have a good quality coffee pot and the knowledge of brewing to maximize the enjoyment potential, as instant coffee serves a purpose, but the best experiences come from a bean or roasted variety.
Known as Zaruma Gold Mountain Coffee in full, this brand takes coffee to a whole other level. It is dark but sweet, and pleasantly low in acidity for those who need this feature. Despite being one of many from the region, it is extremely distinct from the other options out there. It will shake all your senses into submission and soon become a firm favourite in your house thanks to how it mixes and blends like an expert craft.
Café de Loja
Loja is one of the best regions in Ecuador for coffee production, and this product is a prime example of what they have to offer. This is one to try if you tend to suffer from heartburn or acid reflux symptoms in general or specifically after drinking coffee because the bean itself is very low in acidity. It is a medium-roast variety with fruity undertones that don’t overshadow the boldness of the cup in general. The coffee is divine, and this one is definitely near the top of the list.
Pinchina Small Lot
Though slightly more acidic than the others on the list, Pichina Small Lot packs a lot of punch. It has made the list because of its pure character. The roast is medium, but the flavour is immense. It pairs well with most food types or just as a solo beverage to start the day. It embodies versatility in its very make-up. When you drink it, you will discover hints of honey that you didn’t expect and a sweetness that does not overpower the overall impact. It is coffee, but fruity and wild.
Made in the coastal regions of the country, Café Ñucallata is truly exquisite. A perfect blend of boldness with a subtle richness that envelops the tongue and senses, this brand shines out as a star in the world of coffee competitors. It has hints of chocolate, brown sugar, and a slight spice that is simply irreplaceable and unique. It is strong, with a very dark roast but that only accentuates the overall flavour appeal.
Despite the name suggesting otherwise, Café Cubanito is actually one of the premium Ecuadorian brands of caffeine you will ever try. It encompasses all the rich flavours that are so well associated with the country and are overall a dark roasted, cup of joy. There are hints of chocolate to the overall taste, and it is a strong cup, therefore it is not for the novice drinker. If you are looking for something to kickstart your cup and a truly authentic Ecuador coffee taste, this is the one to try.
Ecuadorian coffee has become one of the best models on the global stage. Most commercial and boutique coffee shops will stock a house favourite from Ecuador for you to sample, but if you would rather make your own cup at home then there are plenty of options to pick from too. Just make sure you do it justice by setting yourself up with the ultimate coffee creation station and always drinking in moderation to avoid negative side effects.