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Showing posts from September, 2018

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 …

Loja has always been number one in Ecuadorian coffee

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There may be some who will equivocate about the quality of different coffees in Ecuador.However, the international reviews of Loja’s award winning arabica coffee, coupled with its presence in the finest brewing establishments and purveyors inside and outside of the country, make it impossible to argue with Loja coffee’s premier status.
International opinion is very settled about the difference in quality between the robusta coffee varieties produced in the low country and coastal regions of Ecuador versus the finer arabicas grown in the mountains, with Loja Province cultivating many the of the finest beans.The market further affirms this difference in quality with arabica beans selling for nearly three times the price of less flavorful robusta varieties.
Competition among Ecuador’s different coffee growing regions also seems to have engendered the creation of some very tall tales about coffee which have taken on a life of their own.For example, the discussion of where coffee was firs…

Coffee Trends: “Healthy Coffee”

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Loja’s original Coffee Tasting Tour sleuths are always on the lookout for the latest styles in coffee consumption.Chemex brews and “cold” coffees have had their recent 15 minutes of fame.We’ve even been hearing tales of green coffee drinks — green seeds (coffee before it’s roasted) being brewed and served.
The trend we’re looking at presently is “healthy coffee.”We have all read about the health benefits of normal coffee consumption, such as a lower risk of type 2 Diabetes, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, or liver disease.  These frequently touted benefits were slightly overshadowed recently by a few concerns, far from conclusive, about some types of roasting processes having toxic effects on test animals.We’ll keep you posted on those developments.
The coffee drinking inclination we’re talking about here is the idea of boosting the health benefits of your coffee with additives.Not exactly like your grandfather spiking his “Irish coffee” with a splash of Bailey’s, these additions range from tas…

10 coffee facts to whet your palate

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1.  It all began in Ethiopia around 1200 years ago. It is thought that shepherds noticed their goats became lively after eating certain cherries. Some enterprising person decided to try making a drink from these berries and the rest, as they say, is history.

2.  Coffee came to Loja almost 200 years ago; in the early 1820's. Then, as now, local farmers had a few bushes in their yards (mostly for personal consumption) but gradually plantings and production increased as coffee became an economic resource.

3.  You don't have to actually drink coffee to feel its effect. Scientists tell us that simply smelling the aroma can trigger brain activity that lowers the feeling of sleep deprivation. But why stop with inhaling when ingesting can jazz you up quicker - caffeine begins to be absorbed within 10 minutes of imbibing.

4.  Here's a tip - dark roasted coffee has less caffeine than a lighter roast. It's a trade off since dark roasts have more intense flavors. Something to thi…

How do you like your coffee? Lojano style, please!

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In much of Ecuador when you order a cup of coffee you will be served instant coffee. You know the stuff we mean - a spoonful of granules stirred into a cup of hot water. Thankfully that is not the case in Loja.

A Lojano cup will be brewed by one of several methods. French press and chucho drip are popular techniques. So is drawing off an espresso (concentrated cup) and then adding additional water to make an Americano. Baristas around town will be happy to make you a mochaccino or cappuccino upon request so they can show off their foaming skills.

However, these fancy brewing techniques are all "imported" to Loja. Originally our favorite drink was created by "scaring" the grounds, otherwise referred to as scared coffee. No special coffee making equipment is needed to produce a good cup when done this way. Come to Loja and let us scare some coffee for you!

As for serving, most people here enjoy their cafe black, or with a little sugar ("adding some sweet to lif…

A coffee tour in Loja, Ecuador - Un tour de café en Loja, Ecuador

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In November 2017, Jonathan Poma and Kevin Rohoden, a couple of young entrepreneurs, decided to create an original cultural tourism movement that promotes the history and identity of one of the most beautiful cities in Southern Ecuador: Loja.  The project they created was a free walking tour, which proved to be a great success.  The tour gave a very wide perspective of the city to more than 1000 tourists from all over the world.  It did not take long for the positive comments and recommendations to add up on media sites like Facebook and TripAdvisor.  "Free Walks Loja" quickly became the No. 1 bilingual tourist guide service in the Province of Loja.  Always looking for ways to improve the visitors' experiences, the entrepreneurs decided to add a coffee tasting stop in their tours.  Their coffee stop further increased the level of visitor satisfaction, and at the same time generated many more questions about the culture of coffee in Loja.
Due to the need for information abo…

Taste the Best Lojano Coffee!

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(Tour available in English and Spanish)
Our coffee tours are the most authentic tours in Ecuador's premier growing region. Sip your way through Loja's award winning coffees. This guided tour to the finest shops features expert baristas preparing award winning coffees. Learn what makes a great cup of coffee.

We are the original coffee tasting tour in Loja!