Buying coffee in Cuenca, Ecuador is an adventure. Ecuador is one of only 15 countries in the world that grow both Arabica and Robusta coffee, the two main species of coffee produced and consumed in the world. Coffee is grown in many places in Ecuador including the Galapagos Islands. Ecuadorian coffee is exported to 29 countries worldwide, with Russia, Poland, Germany, Columbia, Italy, and the Netherlands accounting for over 80 percent of the total export volume.
Some say coffee is expensive here and I would tend to agree with that but only if you consider the super mercados like Coral and SuperMaxi. In the super mercados packaged coffee is generally sold in 400 gram packages for over six dollars per package. As a reference a pound is 454 grams. Some say Cubanito is not only the best but also the cheapest at over 6 dollars for a 400 gram package but again, that’s in the super mercados.
If you get away from the super mercados though it’s an entirely different story. I know a couple of small places in el centro that roast, grind and package their own coffee and sell it for $4 a pound (454 grams) and another place that sells if for $4.50 a pound. There’s also a place that’s known as an expat hangout in el centro that sells coffee in 400 gram packages for $4.75 each.
A couple of months ago I wrote a post about “Blacksmiths” Road and that’s where I get my coffee. About half way down Calle de las Herrerías heading south on the right hand side of the street is a small tienda. If you go by there you’ll see a coffee grinder in the doorway and a small stool with a paper funnel full of coffee beans over a tiny espresso cup in front on the sidewalk.
That’s Maria’s tienda and where I get her Organico Arabico for $4 a libra (pound). Maria grinds it and will package it for you while you wait. When she grinds the coffee beans the aroma fills the air and it’s really something to experience.
If you live in Cuenca or are just visiting it’s well worth the trip to “Blacksmiths” Road to buy some of her coffee and while you’re there you can catch a bite to eat at one of the many Ecuadorian restaurants.
Maria is very friendly, engaging and outgoing so stop by and introduce yourself to mi amiga and she’ll be glad to meet you.