Terrazas del Pisque - Ecuador
Cup Profile: Notes of Caramel, Milk, Peach. The process reveals beautiful Vinous flavors, aromas of Hibiscus, Strawberries and Flowers
Producer – Arnaud Causse
Altitude – 2000 m
Region – Pichincha, Ecuador
Process – Natural
Variety – Yellow Caturra
In this incredible farm that is Las Terrazas del Pisque, Arnaud has created an ecosystem from A to Z:
By planting a forest in the middle of this arid and desert area to shelter his coffee trees with more than 25 different tree species, some of which are endemic, beehives for the production of honey, many honey plants that are used for produce essential oils to treat coffee trees naturally but also so that bees can take up residence there, fruit trees which have become a refuge for birds, leguminous plants which enrich the soil with nitrogen.
These solutions for crop diversification, shade, natural treatment and soil enrichment allow him to grow his coffee with 0 pesticides.
Arnaud juggles preparation processes and variety experiments. His background as an agricultural engineer and his international experiences in coffee growing make him a unique producer.
At my farm in Las Tolas, I have tried to establish coffee production right in the middle of a natural forest. And every day the forest tries to kill my coffee one way or another. With Las Terrazas del Pisque, I decided to try something different, I chose to grow a forest in the middle of the desert and then plant my coffee,” Arnaud Causse.
Las Terrazas del Pisque is Arnaud’s second farm. Historically dedicated to cow breeding, he took the farm over in 2012. It is a more experimental farm than his first, Las Tolas, and is located on the peaceful slopes of the Andes mountain range at an altitude of between 1,700 and 2,100 metres in an arid, desert microclimate. He began by planting a forest to create a microclimate that could accommodate his coffee trees, which include more than 25 species, some of which are endemic. As a result, his plantation grows entirely under the shade of castor-oil plants and Inga, acacia, papaya, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, avocado, tea, fig, cypress, ash, pomegranate, eucalyptus, broom and medlar trees, to name just a few!
As Arnaud so aptly puts it: “The trees at Las Tolas all know each other well, coffee is the only intruder, whereas at Las Terrazas all the trees are strangers to each other so they don’t reject the coffee, which is no more of an intruder in the ecosystem than they are.”
The farm is named after the El Pisque river which flows below, fed by the melting snow falling from the Cayambe volcano. For the moment, Arnaud cultivates just 15 of a total 40 hectares, because he has to draw water more than 8 km away. Ultimately, he would like to farm 25 hectares. He has chosen the same varieties for this farm as those found at Las Tolas, which he loves and knows so well: Caturra, Yellow Caturra, Tekisik Bourbon, Pacamara, Pacas, Java and a brand-new Las Tolas hybrid, which is an Ecuadorian mutation of his Bourbon and some new Ethiopian plants.
Arnaud also has hives, and when the trees are in full bloom bees invade the plantation gathering nectar from flower to flower among coffee, lavender and raspberry plants. In order to protect his bees, Arnaud does not use any pesticides on his farms and treats his coffee trees using tagetes, lavender and rosemary essential oils, which he produces himself.
Las Terrazas has its own micro-ecosystem. He uses his honey plants, which include tagetes, melissa, oregano and lavender, to create essential oils and attract bees to produce honey. He grows legumes to supply the farm and to fix the nitrogen in the soil. And his fruit trees create an ideal habitat for birds, which eat the fruit fly larvae in return.
The farm is managed from day to day by Wilson, an agricultural engineer and son of a local farmer who is particularly aware of the importance of sustainable farming.
Passionate about gastronomy, high mountains and rugby, Arnaud Causse is a charismatic character who loves challenges. His passion for coffee, which has driven him for many years, has taken him to every corner of the world. His first coffee experiments took place in Kenya, Costa Rica, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Côte d'Ivoire on behalf of federations or semi-governmental organizations. His discoveries and multiple experiences led him to develop projects around specialty coffees with the creation of the cooperative of the Palmas in El Salvador, then a second to the Galapagos. Driven by its thirst for discovery and plunged into the search for excellence, this Aveyronnais then created the incredible project of Las Tolas, aiming to implement a production of coffee where nobody would have thought, in the heart of a natural forest. After a stay in the Dominican Republic as a researcher at CIRAD to create an ISO 17025 sensory analysis laboratory, a trip to Colombia to carry out missions on the valorization of specialty coffees, then a visit to Peru, Arnaud Causse returned to heart of his plantation Las Tolas where he is far from having finished experimenting with coffee!