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Connecting Coffee, Politics, and Tourism in Loja

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Coffee Connections: Free Walks Loja’s young travel and tourism entrepreneurs network with local political candidates

After watching a recent candidate forum presented by UTPL (Loja’s technical university) live-streamed on Facebook, the management team of Free Walks Loja decided to invite the 2019 candidates from all the political parties to take the young company’s most popular excursion, the Coffee Tour, during the campaign season prior to this year’s election.

UTPL’s forum had many questions for the candidates about the future of Loja, including tourism in the region. Our tour company’s directors were tourism and travel management graduates from the National University in Loja, so they knew there were many things that could be done to increase the number of visitors to the city and province. The Free Walks team wanted to show the candidates the direction of modern tourism, which is not capital intensive but provides high cultural and experiential value. Free Walk's private to…

Coffee Tours of Loja visits Bracamoros 2018 coffee fair

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At this year's Bracamoros coffee growers' fair, Coffee Tours of Loja enjoyed the hospitality of Loja's premier organic coffee purveyor (and stop on our most popular specialty tour)-- Equanativa Shop and Cafe. Traveling with Equanativa's owner, Arturo Jimenez, we saw first-hand the origin of many varieties of coffee from southern Ecuador served and sold in Loja's finer coffee shops.

The tenth edition of the southern Ecuador growers' coffee fair was held in the village of Palanda, in the canton of the same name due south of Vilcabamba on route 662 to Peru, nestled between Yacuri National Park to the west and Podocarpus National Park in the east.

A lively exposition was assembled on the last Saturday of September under canopies erected over the streets of Palanda's central square to shade fair visitors from the near 90 degree heat that morning. Fair goers were treated to a wide array of southern products beyond local coffee, such as produce, herbal remedies, …

Chocolate History: southern Ecuador is the birthplace

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The Encuentro Del Café VI 2018 coffee grower's expo in Loja, Ecuador, offered a wealth of interesting information, and it wasn't all just about coffee.  José de Saeger, a Belgian with a shop in Vilcabamba, Loja province, has been making chocolate from locally sourced cacao powder for over a decade.  José's chocolate brand "Del Páramo," puts out a ton of chocolate every day, he claims, using several types of Ecuadorian cocoa.  Part of his holdings are 40 hectares of cacao fruit-bearing (theobroma) trees or cacao plants in Palanda Canton, in the Amazonian province of Zamora-Chinchipe, southern Ecuador. 
A very gregarious bi-lingual representative of his company, José presented a wide variety of tempting hand-made gourmet chocolates, including several grades of dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.  Daily consumption of dark chocolate has myriad health benefits according to the entrepreneur.  He says his milk chocolate is a nod to traditional chocola…

The Sexiest Coffee Equipment at Loja's Encuentro Del Café VI 2018

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This year's coffee expo, Encuentro Del Café VI 2018 in Loja, southern Ecuador, was an especially well organized event.  Formerly held in the modern Benjamín Carrión Mora theater at the northern limits of the city, the 2018 coffee expo was relocated to the refurbished and recently re-opened cultural museum, also known as the Central Bank Museum.  One of the oldest buildings on Loja's main Central Park square, the antique architecture provided a conveniently placed and beautiful setting to display the best coffee Ecuador has to offer.
Exhibitors at the exposition included award-winning coffee producers from around Ecuador, as was expected.  Commercial coffee equipment manufacturers were there exhibiting big complicated espresso machines to the restaurant and cafe trade, also as expected.  What was unexpected was encountering the next generation trends in coffee making tools and equipment here in our quaint 500-year-old Spanish Colonial town of Loja.  We expected to travel very fa…

Loja tastes like coffee

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Loja Sabor A Café is being held again in the most coffee area of Ecuador. This is the sixth meeting held in this city and will be held on September 19, 20 and 21 of the year 2018 in the Museum of the House of Loja Culture on Calle 10 de Agosto across from Parque Central. This event has already become a tradition that has been carried out since the year 2012. The organizers of this event are the provincial government of Loja, the national government of Ecuador, and public and private companies related to the production and sale of special Arabica coffee.

This event shows that provincial intermediate governments have the capacity to promote, market and reach agreements between different levels of government and the private sector. The importance of this event lies in the auction of the various types of special coffee in the province of Loja located in the south of Ecuador. One of the most redeemable values of this type of event is to bring together producers, consumers and financiers of …