Carchi, El Oro, Loja, Galapagos, Manabi, Pichincha, Zamora-Chinchipe
Coffee was first planted in Ecuador on the hilly terrains of the Manabi province in the early 1800s, around the time when the country gained its independence.
Despite an early introduction, coffee was not recognized as a profitable crop in Ecuador until the late 1920s, when cocoa production was threatened by disease. Coffee production continued to grow until it eventually became the second largest industry in Ecuador throughout the 1980s.
However, the global price crash in the early 1990s prompted many farmers to switch to other crops, which saw the beginning of the decline in Ecuador’s coffee production.
Coffee production continued to suffer due to the El Nino dry spell in 1997, followed by Ecuador’s economic crisis in the early 2000s.
El Nino dry spell in Ecuador
It is not until the recent years that Ecuador’s coffee began to show signs of revival, thanks to the growing interests in specialty coffee among its producers.
Coffee Production in Ecuador
Ecuador is one of the world’s most biologically diverse ecosystems with a diverse terroirs and climate. From the Pacific coasts in the west to the Ecuadorian Andes mountains that spines the country, and all the way to the lowlands of the Amazon in the east. Not to forget, the islands of Galapagos.
The diverse ecosystems provide a wide range of favorable conditions to grow various types of coffees in Ecuador.
Towards the west and the south, it is common to find Arabica coffees such as Typica, Caturra, and Bourbon varieties. Towards the east and the north, there are more Robusta coffees planted, such as Colombia and Castillo varieties.
Coffee is grown in 10 out of 24 provinces in Ecuador: El Oro, Manabi, Loja, Guayas, Zamora Chinchipe, Pichincha, Orellana, Sucumbíos, Galapagos, and Napo.
The Manabi coastal province remains one of the biggest Arabica coffee producers in Ecuador to-date.
Its 70,000 coffee producers comprise of small to medium-scale farmers. Credit: MunicipioPinas
Traditional cultivation is still a main farming practice here – coffee is largely hand-picked, and there is limited use of fertilizer and modern irrigation. However, the presence of pests and diseases is low.