Arrived January 20, 2022 to Calgary Warehouse in Calgary, AB
Forward purchased 5 x 20kg bags of Finca La Soledad 'JJ Washed' Typica Mejorado
One (1) box will be frozen in the FWD Cellar in 1kg vacuum sealed bags to capture and preserve this outstanding coffee as a vintage, to be released in the future, so we always have coffee to look forward to.
We're incredibly excited to represent Pepe's coffee through Forward. Though we have yet to visit Ecuador and experience the beauty of Finca La Soledad first hand, it's been really amazing connecting with Pepe through 2021. We've quickly become friends and are mutually excited to get to visit each others home base and better connect the dots. These coffees are so intentional, thought provoking and overall exciting. Once you try La Soledad, you're going to be hooked.
Finca La Soledad is a farm that was purchased in 2010, by Pepe and his father, while working for the Red Cross in Ecuador. Based in Intag Valley in the North of Ecuador. Traditionally, Intag is not a coffee producing region and more so positioned as a mining region. If you look on a map, this is relatively close to the Colombian border and the department of Nariño. Pepe purchased this land to develop coffee and soon found a bigger purpose, hiring locals in the region to protect them from the damages that the mining industry has left in this area. Mainly hiring women in the region, Pepe provides a stable income, paying them weekly and working to support their families.
Of the 120 hectares, there's 4 hectares currently planted in coffee, with Typica Mejorado, Sidra and Gesha. At one point there was 20 hectares planted, with majority of Castillo, though the volatility in the market made it challenging to continue with this amount of coffee, so Pepe made the tough decision to just keep the three aforementioned varieties. Ecuador has ridden a rollercoaster in the coffee sector in terms of pricing. The remaining 110+ hectares of La Soledad are composed of a dense cloud forest canopy filled with biodiversity, as well as a once-operational sugarcane production. The belief is biodiversity will drive the quality of the coffee, not human created inputs.
When working with his crew, Pepe brews them coffee during their efforts to ensure they have an understanding of the depth and beauty of coffee. He believes that it's important for the people who work in coffee to also drink coffee and have a sense of what it is their producing and how their efforts might elevate or hinder the quality.
At the beginning, Pepe had the support of a cooperative in the Intag region which was 100% organic. He explained the challenges of starting a coffee farm from a 100% organic stand point. At a certain point, he left the umbrella of the cooperative and changed his philosophies. Today, the production is semi-organic, fully shaded, with a biodynamic approach. "It's less important to replicate processes and instead, I place the importance on listening to nature."
Beyond producing coffee, Pepe is also heavily focused in roasting and sharing coffee in the local markets, so a secondary brand exists called Instinto. The goal with this brand is to roast and ensure that the beautiful coffees of Finca La Soledad, and friends of Pepe within the country, and even famed producers in other countries, can be featured and shared within Ecuador. "Roasting at origin and at the farm is so magical, it's so beautiful, and it opens my eyes and others to the wonders of coffee."
Prior to coffee, Pepe was the first Latin American to solo climb all 7 summits - the highest summit on each continent. From explorer, and mountain climber, to coffee producer and green planet advocate.
Forward is offering 3 different lots from Finca La Soledad this year. See the full offering list from Pepe Jijon here.
This cup profiles is layered and complex and elegant. There's loads of citrus coming through in a bright, juicy manner, very refreshing and long lasting. There are floral tones such as orange blossom, jasmine and a rich honeysuckle.
Variety: Typica Mejorado
Price Forward paid per kilogram: $70.00 USD FOB
Process: 'JJ Washed'
Total kilos available: 100kg
Harvest date: June 2021
Fermentation: 24 hours 'cherry reposado' followed by a double fermentation, first 48 hours in whole cherry, then 48 hours in mucilage
Drying time: 20 days in raised beds