Producer: Leopoldo Andrade
We're very fortunate to present to you this beautiful offering from Ecuador produced by Leopoldo Andrade - let us share his story with you.
*Translation of the original blog by SYU・HA・RI
Please give us a brief background of your career.
Leopoldo :I am an engineer in Business Administration and have built up my career in different domestic banks in Ecuador, supporting various businesses and projects. I started producing specialty coffee in 2014.
Why did you start producing coffee?
Leopoldo :7 years ago, I married an ambitious woman. She shared with me the vision to be financially stable, while also contributing to the society and environment, and presenting the best offerings of our rich land to the world. This marks the beginning of our project, "La Josefina and later Amazalia.”
With a strong passion to be one of the best coffee producers in Ecuador, we began our journey to find the best land for coffee cultivation.
This led us to the Amazon, known as the lungs of the earth, with its high altitude, cloud forests, Cascabel Valley, and fertile land consisting of El Reventador’s volcanic ash. As pioneers in the region, the process was not easy: preparing the land, selecting the varieties best suited to the environment, and finding the right people for each stage of the project, especially harvesting and fieldwork. However, this process has allowed us to realize that coffee is a demanding plant that needs more of our attention.
What do you think is the key to making great coffee?
Leopoldo :Producing high-quality specialty coffee requires a lot of care in each step of the process.
First, we need to protect and nourish coffee plants for them to grow healthy and strong.
Next, we prepare a team of pickers (in our case mostly women) who are responsible for carefully selecting and harvesting red cherries.
Finally, there is the drying process, which in our case requires a great deal of care and rules. We need to devote much of our attention and passion to produce good coffee.
What are some of the new projects you are working on now or will be working on in the future?
Leopoldo :La Josefina and Amazalia is in the process of carrying out a project consisting of 5 components.
- Community: Through this project, we hope to create alternative employment for people in the surrounding area who have been associated with the oil industry.
- Environment: Much of the land in this area is used for cattle grazing. We must take into account that we are based in Cayambe Coca National Park and the lungs of the earth. Therefore, one of our objectives is to change the productive occupation and regenerate the coffee forests. This will benefit not only our families, but also the world.
- Gender: 70% of the people involved in farm work are women. We must enable women to be active in various fields for them to bring change to the new generation.
- Fair Market: The highlands of Ecuador and the Amazon have the right atmospheric, climatic, and geographical conditions for the production of excellent specialty coffee. However, not all small producers have access to markets where they can get a fair price for their coffee. Through Josefina and Amazaria, we aim to give small producers access to a fair market. This will revitalize the local economy and increase our presence in the international market as one of the best specialty coffee-producing countries in the world.
- Continuous improvement: We are experimenting with new post-harvest processes such as anaerobic, carbonic maceration, and bacterial inoculation. We are also seeking to improve productivity in the field.
Please give a message to roasters in Japan.
Leopoldo :I have always been eager to enter the Japanese market because I knew it had high standards. I mentioned the importance of care at each stage of the process, and you, the roasters, are the final step in our strategy; It is through your work and art that we can enhance the care and passion we devoted to making coffee.
From our offerings, please feel the essence of the volcanic region, the wild and pure spirit of the Amazon, and the dream that all of us who participated in the process envisioned through coffee. TASTE IT WITH PASSION, and put that passion into a cup of coffee - that is all I want to share with my friends in Japan.
Find out more about the coffee here.