This month’s subscription signals the return of Ecuadorean coffee to our line up. Juan Peña produces some of the most exciting coffees we have tasted from Ecuador, a wide variety of expressions, mainly focussed on the Typica varietal. During our visit in November 2021, we were captivated, both by the beauty of the farm, but also by Juan’s exacting approach to quality coffee production. From varietal selection, plant nutrition and disease prevention, to fermentation, drying and sorting, each step is approached with intention and dedication. Through CafExporto, Juan has been able to assist nearby producers in increasing their quality using his methods, resulting in the Chito community project.

We hope you enjoy both the floral and crisp Chito and the juicy Anaerobic Typica from Juan’s own Hacienda La Papaya this month.


We’re excited to continue our collaboration with Juan Peña, owner of Hacienda La Papaya and CafExporto. Since meeting in Aarhus in 2015, we have purchased many small experimental lots, continuing a conversation through high quality coffee. Over the past three years, Juan has expanded his work, exporting more Hacienda La Papaya coffee to Europe together with us, and starting the CafExporto project, working with farms across Ecuador. 

We are more than excited to expand our collaboration with Juan, and to share his excellent work with a wider audience. We were able to visit Juan and his team in November 2021, both at the Hacienda and at CafExporto’s base in the nearby city of Cuenca, towards the very end of harvest.

Typica Mejorado

Juan’s hard work and innovation is clear when tasting his coffees; top-quality micro-lots, with wildly varying flavour profiles and expressions. Juan mainly works with Typica ‘Mejorado’, the enhanced version of the varietal, first grown on Nestle’s experimental farms in the north of Ecuador. Juan puts much of his success down to the combination of high yield and incredible cup quality that these Mejorado plants provide. Juan has started to distribute these Mejorado seeds to other members of the CafExporto project, alongside sharing his expertise in each stage of coffee production.

The Chito Community

CafExporto have expanded their operation to include coffees from talented producers across Ecuador, those who have great potential to produce high-end speciality lots, but haven’t had access to the market for them. During their travels in Ecuador, the CafExporto team were surprised by the incredible quality of lots they found being sold into the internal market, losing transparency and denying the producer any chance of adding value to their work. The coffees they tasted in the Chito community were one such revelation. Clean and floral cups, with character formed by their healthy soils, careful processing, and mainly Typica varietal stock. The farmers of Chito also grow other varietals, mainly Catucai and Caturra, but CafExporto are assisting each producer with seedlings of Typica Mejorado, Sidra and Geisha, alongside agronomic advice. This is a very rural part of the country; with a majority of the population stemming from native Ecuadoreans, one hears a mix of Spanish and native dialects here. 

The Chito sub-region lies in the far south of Ecuador, bordered by Peru in the East, and the Mayo River in the West. The town itself sits in the bottom of a valley, surrounded by fertile farming lands in the hills. The farms are very small, averaging less than a hectare, so individual lots would be too small to export alone. For this reason, CafExporto selected the highest quality lots and created a community lot, consisting of the work of 55 producers across the Chito sub-region.

This year, CafExporto’s support to the Chito community in processing has led to increased quality and longevity, with clean and floral aromatics followed by green tea and citrus in the cup.

Coffee no.1
Hacienda La Papaya

Hacienda La Papaya is located just outside the town of Saraguro, in the Loja region of Southern Ecuador. The Hacienda has been in Juan’s family since the end of colonial rule, and is a place that holds great importance for the whole family, having spent their summers there since they were children. Juan began to experiment with coffee here in 2010, and moved to work in coffee full time in 2014 after his rose crop was wiped out by a violent storm in Cuenca. 

Over the intervening years he has thrown himself into the pursuit of high quality coffee, with a meticulous and scientific approach. This approach, shaped by Juan’s experience in roses and his training as an agricultural engineer, has led to an astronomic rise to high quality and international recognition, over just 7 years. His obsessive experimentation and need for scientific evidence is a cornerstone of his work at each stage, from carefully applied and monitored fertilisation, constant measurement of brix and cherry weight during harvest, innovation in careful fermentation, to the exacting drying process. Juan’s work in each of these fields is truly some of the most meticulous and effective we have seen in our years of travelling for coffee, and we left the Hacienda in awe.

This lot is from Juan’s Typica Mejorado trees, fermented in plastic tanks without oxygen for 5 days, or 120 hours. These plastic tanks are kept very clean, but fermentation juices are added from previous anaerobic batches, in a similar concept to a sourdough starter, in order to kickstart the fermentation with an existing culture of bacteria and yeast, pushing in the desired direction and leading to greater consistency. This 120 hour fermentation lot enhances the mouthfeel and acidity of the Typica, while maintaining an incredibly clean and juicy expression. A testament to Juan’s meticulous work throughout the production process.

Coffe no.2

V60 Brew Guide

For Ecuadorian coffees we like to highlight their deep complexity of acidity and aromas, this is done by using a v60 with a long brew time.


15 grams of medium coarse grind

250 grams of water 50 ppm 96°C


0:00 Pour the bloom 60g

0:45 Pour up to 105g

1:30 Pour up to 150g

2:15 Pour up to 195g

3:00 Pour up to250g

Total brew time should be around 4:15

The consistent quality

It’s a privilege to work with producers like Juan Peña, and build a shared understanding of quality and taste. Juan’s work in Ecuador is impressive, intentional and considered to a level we haven’t seen often on our travels in the coffee belt. The consistent quality of the coffees that Juan and his team produce is testament to this, and we look forward to expanding our relationship in the years to come.