Let’s put together two of our favorite words, Galapagos Islands + Coffee. Yes, you heard that correctly. There’s a paradisiacal place on earth called the Galapagos Islands. They also happen to have a micro-climate which, along with its volcanic soils, makes for a rare coffee bean. If you are coffee curious, you will love this post.
Coffee production in the Galapagos is uncommon. This mainly because coffee beans grow only at an altitude of 1200-1400 meters above sea level. The archipelago, however, has an advantage. It is strategically located where the cold Humboldt and Cromwell currents converge with the warm equatorial currents – also known as Panama flows (felt stronger from February to April). These, combined with its rich volcanic soils, allows for coffee plants to grow at only 300-400 meters. The cold currents bring fog and drizzle to the highlands of the archipelago, allowing it to have a cloud-forest type of climate.
A Galapagos-style Cup of Joe
There has certainly been a rise in the popularity of Ecuadorian coffee, thanks in large part to its high quality, perfect flavors, earthy tones and the efforts being made to make it a sustainable product. Nonetheless, coffee beans from the Galapagos have not yet broken through the local barrier. This is due to the fact that it is produced in a very artisanal way, with very small yearly productions and a quality that, despite tasting good, is still working its way to becoming renown within the coffee-loving community.
Coffee production in the Galapagos is a niche that has all it needs to progress into an international-quality product. Additionally, it serves as a means for local coffee growers and merchants to integrate themselves into the Galapagos’ main source of income: tourism. This beautiful industry can help integrate the population at many levels, not only by providing work but by opening spaces that complement the touristic experience – like restaurants, coffee shops, stores, local design, art, culture, sports, adventure and such. This is where Galapagos coffee could play a significant role, given that it’s a beverage that is loved all throughout the world. It might even serve as another unique thing that the islands have to offer, possibly attracting explorers that are looking to indulge their highly-refined palates. Even though coffee in the Galapagos is still being produced at an artisanal level, it is indeed integrating itself into the tourism world.
Also, you will be happy to know Galapagos coffee is bird-friendly! Due to the strict regulations on the islands regarding the use of chemical fertilizers or any products that could affect the flora or fauna, these crops are not harmful to birds and other animals that might feed on its seeds. Consequently, Galapagos Coffee is 100% organic.
Where can it be found?
Galapagos coffee made by local brands is sold in both Bellavista (the highland town of Santa Cruz) and El Progreso (the highland town of San Cristobal). It is also sold at souvenir shops over in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and Puerto Ayora. If you decide to stay at the only beachfront hotel in Santa Cruz, Finch Bay Galapagos Hotel, you can ask at the reception about highland tours. When stopping at Bellavista, you will also find a couple of shops where you can try the freshly-squeezed sugarcane juice and buy some locally-grown Galapagos coffee.
Visits can also be arranged to the “Trapiche” farm, where you will get to see how an artisanal sugar cane mill works. You will also be able to taste the different products manufactured from sugar cane, from the very sweet but fresh sugarcane juice all the way to the panela (unrefined sugar) and sugarcane liquor. They also have their own coffee plantation and visitors are able to aid both in the mill and in the roasting of the coffee beans.
The Magic of Galapagos Coffee
After having learned about the rare Galapagos coffee, we invite you to enjoy a cup of this dark beverage, get caught in a little bit of light conversation with a galapagueño (inhabitant of the Galapagos Islands) and feel like a local yourself. Coffee does have that way of making us feel like home, wherever we go, doesn’t it?