Pillcocaja Coffee Farm Experience: Diary of Day One

Here’s an unedited daily diary from our guys who are currently on the ground in Ecuador, collaborating with our long term partners, Pillcocaja… We love this description of a progressive andsustainable coffee farm where people and nature are well cared for!

“1st day at Pillcocaja. Ana and Nico gave us a tour of the farm. We hiked up the mountain to an area where they grow different varieties of coffees in seven lots. These are Typica, Bourbon, Pacamara, Sidra, Eithope.

Trees are full of cherries ready to be pick. Constant rain is blamed for a late 2022 harvest. Trees look healthy and well spaced out in rows. Every year the top is cut to keep the plant short. This is done so the pickers can reach the cherry and encourages growth outwards. Some trees have coffee blossoms ready to start growing for next years harvest. This usually take 9 months from blossom to ripe cherry.

Cherries are at an average of 24-25 brix. Mucilage is so sweet and taste like papaya and the passion fruit. Three seeds in a cherry are quite common here. Very well shaded with old native trees called Faiques and irrigated from fresh mountain springs.

It’s evident that they care for native wildlife. Spiders, snakes, butterflies are left alone. They all play a part in the farm.

We stopped at the wet mill where we later watch todays pickings where the cherries are floated, ripe cherries picked and split into categories.

We continued down the hill to look at their new solar tent with raised beds. The set up is amazing. They have temperature and humidity readers dangling in different spots. All beds are at one height. Nico reckons having tiered beds aren’t consistent from top to bottom in terms of drying.

After lunch we helped with the day pickings. Sorting and washing coffee. Wet mill set up is amazing. Clean and user friendly. These guys thought of everything, making the process more efficient but also safe and less labour intensive.

We filled two tanks with cherries. These are going to be 120hours anaerobic.

We headed back to the house and helped with dinner. Tomorrow we are heading to Cuenca to see the dry mill and do some cupping.

Love Darren and Manny 👊🏽”

Find out more about this beautiful coffee farm here: https://www.pillcocaja.com/