...e ecco volta!

...and here again: Ecco at Volta. This month marks the one year anniversary since Volta introduced Ecco Caffe coffees to Gainesville. To mark the occasion, we've switched up to menu to feature an all-Ecco line-up. We couldn't have picked a better time, as Ecco is currently offering both the last of the summer season's stellar crop of Central American coffees and an amazing selection of the best African coffees now coming into season.

Although Ecco is part of the Intelligentsia family, the Sonoma-based headquarters maintains the flexibility of a smaller, independent roaster. Take their current offering from Costa Rica's Coope Dota: not only have we been offering the Coope Dota as a brewed coffee via the Clover and Chemex, but the roasters offered to hand-craft a batch for Volta especially for us to offer as an espresso. For the last ten days, Volta's customer's have been able to enjoy espressos and cappuccinos that were made with coffee as close as possible to that used by Michael Phillips to win the World Barista Championship. Although from a slightly later harvest, the Coope Dota espresso that we offered from Ecco "would likely be the same varietals, similar elevations (within 300 meters or so), tended by the same agronomists, grown in the same micro climate, and processed at the same mill" as Mike's coffee. That's close enough for us, and the results won over our customers.

Current Offerings

Costa Rica Coope Dota
The Coope Dota cooperative was founded in 1960 and has grown to 769 farmers. The Ecco team has been directly working with the cooperative for the past four years. Coope Dota's immaculate processing mills are nestled in the hills of the prominent Tarrazu growing region.

This year has certainly proven that the care put into the crop by the farmers results in a better coffee: Coope Dota's coffee was used by Michael Phillips to win both the US and World Barista Championships, and it is the coffee used in Intelligentsia's Flecha Roja project. Although the Flecha Roja is always a favorite at Volta, we are actually more fond of Ecco's approach to the coffee this year. From our own cupping notes, we are finding the Dota to be a medium-bodied coffee with a persistent acidity, like a clove-studded orange peel. The coffee has a plum sweetness layered with toasted walnut notes, with a plush, lingering finish of dark caramel.

Guatemala El Tambor
El Tambor means ‘the drum’, and refers to the sound of water rumbling over an historical underground waterfall on this 450-acre farm. Founded in 1930 as a cattle ranch, coffee was planted starting in 1966. Mining was active on the farm until Victor Calderon successfully challenged the mining company and ceased mining activities. Most of the farm is old Bourbon, Typica and Caturra coffee plants, and broad swaths of land are maintained as natural forest. Honey and avocados are produced, and 10% of the farm is set aside for the farm’s workers to plant food crops such as black beans and corn.

Ecco's cupping notes: this coffee is saturated in sugars: praline, maple, fig, pear and stone fruit. Elegant floral notes reward your patience as this coffee cools, revealing white grape acidity and a sparkling, almost effervescent finish of honey and cinnamon sugar. To that, we'd add that the El Tambor has one of the heaviest bodies of our current offerings, with a finish that is both peppery and oaky.

Honduras Finca La Tina
Ecco's roast of Finca La Tina's coffee is now the fourth iteration of coffee from this model farm that we've featured on the Volta menu this summer. Intelligentsia's La Tortuga was offered as both a brewed coffee and, on occasion, as a single origin espresso through most of the summer. Last month we offered the Isabella micro-lot, certainly one of the most delicate and floral Central American coffees that we saw this year. Now we have Ecco's offering from the farms of Don Fabio Caballero and Moises Herrera.

Finca La Tina is a local landmark of the Mogola region and boasts heirloom varietals of great genetic purity. The Caballero family is innovative and hardworking, investing each year in quality improvement measures, as well as social and environmental projects. For example, by building their own wet mill, they have direct control over coffee quality from growing, to picking, to dry parchment.

Volta cupping notes: Ecco's Finca La Tina, brewed on the Clover, is a mellow medium-bodied coffee with a pleasing acidity and sweetness of fresh pomegranates. It has a crisp finish with a touch of cashew oil.

Current espresso offering: Ecco Espresso