Ecuadorean Coffee in Quito
There would seem to be two ways to approach coffee in Ecuador. We recommend you try both.
First, is the old fashioned way
Café Aguila de Oro has been selling Ecuadorian roasted coffee beans in Quito since 1948. The small shop on Benalcazar Street near the Presidential Palace in old town is owned by Vinicio Morales and his wife Teresa Vizueta. The only electronic device in Café Aguila de Oro is a digital clock on the wall. The measuring scale, cash register, and some of their grinders and roasters were new when the store opened 65 years ago. The equipment – remnants from a simpler time – attests to an equally simple formula for success that still works today.
Second, is the newer way
Don and Ena Galletti have shown Quito another way to experience coffee. They have a coffee shop in the Mariscal District of Quito and for the past eleven years they have been growing, exporting, and pouring their own brand of coffee. Galletti offers two product lines. The institutional coffee line has five different presentations while their line of specialty coffees consists of Ecuadorian Mountain Coffee and Specialty Cloud Forest Coffee.
It’s the same bean!
There are no secrets here. Both Aguila de Oro and Galletti use the same kind of bean – the Arabic coffee bean. So, what is the difference between their coffees? For one Café Aguila de Oro sells coffee in brown paper sacks. They sell only beans. Galletti coffees are attractively packaged with their logo and you can enjoy a cup at the same time you purchase a bag.
The real difference in their products, though, lies in everything done between harvesting the bean and lifting the cup of coffee to your lips. Ena Galletti says that during this time there are more than 2000 chemical reactions that take place in a coffee bean, releasing more than 700 different gases. The treatment of a coffee bean is so complex that it would seem hard to reproduce the same product time and again.
How the coffee bean is handled during harvesting, peeling, fermentation, washing, drying, and grading determines the quality of the coffee. Don and Ena Galletti train their growers to follow consistent criteria so coffee with the same characteristics is consistently produced. They create nuanced coffee bean profiles that can be re-produced by different growers through well-defined procedures and training. The profiles are used to create coffee blends which distinguish a Galletti Coffee from another brand.
But Vizuete says Aguila de Oro has no need for nuance: “It smells good and brings in the clients.” She is right about that. Café Aguila de Oro has a continual flow of customers all day long. Some are new, drawn to the smell of coffee, while others, like Cecilia Guerrero, have been purchasing their coffee for decades. “We have been buying for the past forty years.”
And Café Galletti has no shortage of customers either at their coffee shop. Visit both during your visit to Quito.
Café Aguila de Oro, located at Benalcazar N3-123 and Espejo Streets in the Central Historic District.
Café Galletti is on Carrion Street between Juan Leon Mera and Reina Victoria in the Mariscal District.
Click here for more suggestions on where to find a good cup of coffee in Quito. To travel to Quito, LAN Ecuador has fourteen flights per day from Miami and New York City.