Producer: The Merino Family
Farmer: Enrique Merino
Altitude: 1650 – 2000 m.
Variety: Typica Mejorado
Processing method: fully washed (“Anaerobic”), with 72-hour fermentation submerged underwater and raised bed drying
Story of Finca Lugmapata:
Finca Lugmapata is in Pallatanga, Chimborazo, Ecuador at 1,650 - 2,000 MASL (meters abovesea level). It is in the central Ecuadorian Andes. Lugmapata is the nearest coffee farm to the Chimborazo volcano, the highest point in Ecuador. Due to the equatorial location where the Earth bulges, Mount Chimborazo is actually the nearest point to the sun on Earth.
Since Lugmapata is the nearest farm to Mount Chimborazo, this makes this coffee farm the
closest to the Sun on Earth. Lugmapata has been in the Merino family for almost 100 years and Enrique Merino presently leads the farm. While the farm has technically been in the family for four generations, actual coffee production there is still relatively new, with its first year of production being 2016. Early on, the farm was owned by Enrique's great-grandfather. As a child, the farm was his grandparents property. They used to raise cattle on the land. When his grandparents passed away, the members of the Merino began selling their plots of land. However, Enrique's father decided against selling and held on to his part of the land. Eventually, he and his wife moved to live on the farm. After Enrique’s mother passed away talks about what to do with the farm resurfaced, but after living on the farm for over 20 years, Enrique's father did not want to return to the city as the farm was his home. Enrique was on the farm one afternoon and observed several random forty-year-old coffee trees that had been naturally thriving and producing cherries. Enrique had an idea of the farm's true potential. Enrique started researching and experimenting with coffee. He began studying coffee farming and implementing better agricultural production methods and different coffee varieties. Enrique started to plant a small plot of coffee on his family's land as a hobby. Soon his small hobby became more of an obsession. In 2012, Enrique planted 20,000 coffee trees and currently has well over 50,000 coffee trees planted. The farm is a family business called Cafe Merino. Enrique works with his sister Rosío and his nephew Roberto Vasconez. They represent the next generation, bringing youth and innovation to the business.
About the farm:
Finca Lugmapata is roughly 90 hectares. In 2023, they planted 20 hectares and will see
increased production. They are currently producing Bourbon Sidra, Typica Mejorado, and
Sarchimor. Their goal is to have 60 productive hectares grown with coffee, producing and
selling everything as specialty coffee. Finca Lugmapata is currently the only farm producing coffee in the Chimborazo region, but with all of their recent success, that will soon change. The Merinos work actively to improve the lives of those in and around Pallatanga. Their nursery prepares new coffee trees -mainly of the sidra variety – destined for new growers in the area. The idea is to teach them how to produce high-quality coffees, create sustainable businesses, and improve their livelihoods.
Every year, at harvest time, the locals living near the farm carefully select and collect the best cherries, which are then placed in water baths to extract the coffee beans. After this first stage, the parchments get submerged in water for fermentation. The fermentation is anywhere from three to eight days. Each day they will measure the ambient temperature, the brix, and the pH to ensure the coffee gets adequately fermented. Next, the coffee gets laid out to dry on raised beds in a sterile greenhouse where the coffee is constantly monitored under strict surveillance, drying naturally under this indirect sunlight. This allows the beans to preserve their aromatic quality and inherent goodness. After that, the coffee will remain in a climate-controlled environment until it is ready to be shipped to the lucky few who experience this fantastic coffee.
The Varietal :
About the coffee, Mejorado: Often called Typica Mejorado, genetic testing done by World
Coffee Research has shown that Mejorado is a cross between Bourbon and an Ethiopian
Landrace variety. The vast majority of Mejorado is farmed in Ecuador, which has exceptional
quality potential, often showing intensely aromatic florals and deep sweetness.
The coffee began with a sweet aroma of florals with hints of jasmine and lemongrass. Next, the fragrance is pineapple and tropical fruits. Then the magic happens in the flavor
profile—intensely sweet and tart with florals, honey, and tropical fruit notes. The acidity is bright & lovely, with a viscous mouthfeel. The full body is supported by a honey-toned sweetness that matches the floral flavor profile. The coffee lingers after every sip with a syrupy, resounding finish.
As a result of the family's hard work, dedication, and willingness to improve picking and
processing methods, Café Merino Lugmapata has gained the attention of the coffee industry. Their coffee consistently finishes in the top every time they have participated in Ecuador's Taza Dorada competition and the COE.
Taza Dorada Results
- 2016 3rd
- 2017 1st
- 2018 6th & 8th
- 2019 6th, 7th, 10th, 12th
- 2020 11th
- 2021 7th
- 2022 5th
- 2021 8th
- 2022 1st