Most of us have had the pleasure of brewing a well-balanced, sweet cup from Colombia or Costa Rica. But what about Ecuador?
Since the 1860s, Ecuador has been home to one of the first Coffee Typica plants in Latin America: Café Criollo. Keep reading to learn more about what it is and how to brew it.
What Is Criollo Coffee?
Though you don’t often find Café Criollo on the back of your bag of coffee beans, it is a coffee bean variety. Criollo coffee is very close to the original Arabica varietal, brought to Central and South America by the Dutch in 1860 (1).
Café Criollo is also a direct descendant of the original Typica coffee beans. Like Maragogipe coffee beans, Criollo is susceptible to coffee rust and pests. What’s more, their yield is relatively low, compared to other Arabica coffee varieties. However, because of their unique cup profile and quality, many have sought to preserve and strengthen this Arabica varietal.
A New Beginning
As the specialty coffee world began embracing other Arabica cultivars and varieties with higher yields and more resistance to disease and pests, Ecuador began phasing out its dependence on Café Criollo. Though popular with Ecuadorians, Café Criollo had low yield and no coffee leaf rust resistance.
And these heirloom coffee plants would’ve been lost to history if it hadn’t been for Nestle.
Developing a Stronger Café Criollo Plant
For the past twenty years, Nestlé worked closely with local Ecuadorian farmers to develop a Typica coffee crop with higher resistance to coffee leaf rust. While they are not entirely rust-resistant, they are instrumental to preserving Ecuador’s future in the coffee industry. According to Rumi Duchice at Ecuador’s Café Μucallacta:
… as long as producers accompany these new trees with best farm management practices there is a bright future for Typica, at least in Ecuador.
As a result of the Nestlé-led coffee PRoyect, Ecuador will be able to produce an estimated 20,000 tons of Typica beans per year (2).
Watch this video by Warren and Juli from Travel with Us for a seed-to-cup Ecuadorian coffee tour.
CaféCriollo Cup Profile
Like Sumatra’s Sidikalang coffee, Café Criollo has sweet, slightly bright, and spicy notes. Moreover, there are hints of chocolate, nuts, cream, fruitiness, and floral and herbaceous notes in the cup, too.
Best Brewing Methods for Café Criollo
When choosing a coffee brewing method for this Arabica varietal, the main goal should be to reserve the cup’s complexity.
Home Grounds suggests brewing Café Criollo as a French press coffee or in the Aeropress.
These no-bypass coffee brewing methods ensure better extraction and a more rounded, balanced cup.
Café Criollo is a balanced, sweet, and spicy Ecuadorian Arabica coffee that deserves a place in your coffee rotation. To make the most of this cup, brew it as a French press coffee or in your Aeropress.
Have you tried Café Criollo? Drop us a comment below.
What Are Typica Hybrids?
Typica hybrids are crosses between a Typica coffee plant and another coffee plant. Mundo Novo developed as a natural cross between a Typica and Bourbon coffee plant. As a hybrid, it has the rust and pest resistance of its Bourbon parent and the sweet, full body of its Typica parent.
Can You Make Espresso with Café Criollo?
Yes, you can make espresso with Café Criollo. Choose a medium roast and dial in your grind for the perfect espresso extraction to preserve all its sweetness and natural complexity.
Where Can You Find Café Criollo?
You can find Café Criollo from reputable online distributors of Ecuadorian coffee, like Café Μucallacta. Be sure the roast date is as close to the delivery date. This ensures you’ll get the freshest, tastiest cup.
- Drake, A. (2017, September 9). Everything You Need To Know About Ecuador’s Coffee Industry. Culture Trip; The Culture Trip. https://theculturetrip.com/ecuador/articles/everything-you-need-to-know-about-ecuadors-coffee-industry/
- Ecuador Times. Ecuador is the first in the world to produce seeds of Arabica coffee hybrids. (2019). Ecuadortimes.net. https://www.ecuadortimes.net/ecuador-is-the-first-in-the-world-to-produce-seeds-of-arabica-coffee-hybrids/