PARTNER´S NAME: JULIO TENORO
FINCA EL ARENAL STORY
Magaly Portillo and her husband, Julio Tenorio, went through a rough financial crisis that left them in bad shape a couple of years ago. Talking with some friends of them from Panama who work in specialty coffee, they learned how a good quality coffee can achieve good prices. This conversation was the inception of the idea in Magaly to delve into the production of high-quality coffee in Ecuador, an opportunity to get back in their feet after the financial crisis they went through. With this idea, at their farm El Arenal, in the south of Ecuador in the department of Loja, in the middle of the towns of Gonzanama and Catamayo they started the production of coffee focused on quality. The varieties they currently have are Caturra and Catimor, of which the first was because a Colombian friend recommended it and she decided to try it. Magaly has had good results with this variety, liking the quality it produces, which as she says, “fills me with joy to keep planting and experimenting, given that in the world of coffee you never stop learning, every day there is something new”. The way she has been learning every day about processes and coffess, has been through here friends in Panama, the PECA technician and people she has met in this journey of specialty coffee. She has also noticed, how by being in this world of coffee she has become more organized, as to produce high quality coffee she must be organized with all the process and keeps a journal of everything. At the farm, she currently works with her husband and hires three workers. Magaly is a very curious and driven coffee grower, who has a achieve all of this in two years. She has a great future ahead of her.
The process she is doing to the coffee consists of first and foremost picking the ripest cherries with a level between 20 to 26 Brix degrees. The cherries are then pulped and put in closed to container for an anaerobic dry fermentation for a period of 96 hours where they want to achieve a pH of 4 and a Brix degree of 12. Afterwards, the beans are taken to the parabolic covered beds, where the coffee is dried in shade, taking an average of 8 to 10 days due to currents of air natural to the area where the farm is. To get to this process, Magaly experimented 27 times with fermentations, with this one giving her the best results. But she is still experimenting new processes such as double fermentation -in cherry and after pulping- and honey.