Rio Intag Coffee from Ecuador Grower
Back in June, my wife and I flew out to Minneapolis, Minnesota to photograph a wedding. We love to fill in our time traveling by visiting coffee shops (so many good ones in the Twin Cities), meeting with local creatives, and shooting around the area. One of the days we got to meet up with Shelby, who modeled for us in the North Loop district. During our session, she told us her dad owns the Rio Intag Trading company in Ecuador and wanted to send me some of their coffee to try out. I never turn down an opportunity to try new coffee, especially when it comes directly from the source!
Rio Intag Trading
Lew Lott and Jane Wallace first visited Ecuador in 2012. The land and the people captured their hearts and they purchased their first property in the Andes Mountains the very next year. That first purchase led to a second purchase of 15 acres near Garcia Moreno in the Intag valley. They joined the local cooperative of small family farms growing organic, shade-grown coffee.
Lew and Jane helped the coop staff and families sell their coffee to US markets over Amazon. They began investing in the land and the people, employing locals for all the work accomplished on the property. They are committed to improving the lives of the Ecuadorian people and preserving the pristine land through sustainable practices. You can find about more about the Rio Intag Trading company on their website.
When the package arrived with two bags of coffee and a note from Lew:
"The Rio Intag one is from a local coffee cooperative of 400 families that have small farms. The whole process of organic shade grown, hand picked, sun dried, hand sorted, and packaged all happens here in Ecuador. The Kara is an even higher quality single source from the adjacent farm to ours."
I cupped the two side by side and took notes on their profiles, then tried them out over a bunch of different brew methods.
"Rio Intag coffee is a blend of organic coffees from the 400 families in the cooperative. It is dried and roasted by the Assoiacion Agroartesanal De Caficultores Rio Intag (AACRI) in the small Intag town of Apuela." - Lew
Roast: Medium/Dark, bean color was somewhere between Full City+ and Vienna.
Right as opened the bag, I could smell the strong earthy notes from this coffee with hints of charcoal. Those earth notes came out in the coffee as notes of pine with a rich body and roasted nutty finish reminiscent of pistachios.
Interestingly enough, the flavor of this coffee shifted more than I've previously experienced when brewed over ice. The earthy pine flavors took on more of a deciduous cedar like flavor and the nutty notes reminded me more of walnuts than pistachios. Cold brewing really brought out the roasted, earthy notes and took on a smokey aftertaste like that of a scotch.
Kara Grano Molido
"Kara is a coffee from the coffee estate/finca adjacent to our property. It is a single source , dried longer and roasted by a master roaster in Quito the capital city of Ecuador." - Lew
Roast: Medium, bean color was somewhere between City+ and Full City
This coffee gave off strong floral scents with subtle hints of cocoa and banana. When tasted beside the more earthy Rio Intag, Kara was noticeably sweeter with a bright acidity, syrupy mouthfeel and a semi-sweet cocoa finish.
When brewed over ice, the semi-sweet cocoa finish almost completely gave way to a mildly acidic finish like a green banana.
Give my personal preference for floral and fruit forward coffees, I've found myself liking the lighter Kara Grano Molido. Both coffee were good in their own right, and I enjoyed the whole bag of each. I think the Kara did especially well as a flash brew, but that may have been because it's the middle of summer and I was just craving cold coffee more.
You can pick up a bag of Rio Intag for yourself off of Amazon via the link below. Lew had this to say about Kara:
"The Kara label was a concept but we have decided to market it under the name "Instinto" from Finca Soledad. We are just now developing this brand to assist the grower to bring it into the US. The UPC codes and all aspects will soon be available for purchase both on Amazon and we will be selling both on our website which is also being updated soon."
When he has that coffee available for purchase, I'll post an update so you can go get some for yourself! Lew and Jane also have a beautifully furnished 3 bedroom vacation rental in Ecuador called El Lugar Tranquilo ("The Tranquil Place"), in case you feel like going and checking out the local culture for yourself!
As always thanks for reading! If you have a chance to try these coffees or take a trip to Ecuador, I'd love to hear about it! Shoot me an email, connect with me on Instagram, or leave a comment below!