Coffee relief in Quito, Ecuador
Ecuador is quietly home to some of the finest coffees in the world. And it’s also, thankfully, host to a thriving coffee scene, growing year on year and offering a distinct expression of Ecuadorian coffee culture. A thriving example of this can be found in the work of Nardelia Espinoza, an Ecuadorian entrepreneur who is also the founder of coffee relief, a new coffee company located just outside the capital city of Quito. You’ll notice from the photos that Coffee Relief is also stunningly beautiful – an architectural marvel in the guise of a coffee bar. We just need to know more.
The Build-Outs of Coffee 2022 are presented by drops, donaand Mill City Coffee Roasters. Build-Outs of Coffee 2022 is sponsored by Pacific Barista Series, Acaia, La Marzocco and Marco beverage systems.
For those who don’t know, can you tell us about your company?
Coffee Relief is the occasion in specialty coffee. A family business founded by famous Ecuadorian businesswoman Nardelia Espinoza. Sustainability and social responsibility are at the heart of Coffee Relief’s DNA. One of the most sustainable coffees in the world. We’re all about specialty coffee. Cafe, roastery, coffee training center, coffee lab and specialty coffee consultants. We are located in Ecuador, a specialty coffee producing country.
Can you tell us a bit more about the new space?
Coffee Relief is located in the heart of the Tumbaco Valley, in the capital of Ecuador, Quito, just 20 km from the airport. The 200 square meter space with 120 square meters of green space aims to blend an industrial aesthetic with a minimalist design approach. Ecuadorian wood is the key element of different architectural and furniture elements.
Coffee Relief’s new facility houses a green coffee micro-lab, roastery, barista workshop, outdoor seating area, indoor cafeteria and training center. The design of the new house was entrusted to SOA Studio. Angeles is the youngest sister and founder of the design studio. The operation was carefully structured by engineer and coffee roaster Juan Pablo the younger brother. Architect Jose Coba and professor at USFQ (Universidad San Francisco de Quito) helped the project shape and represent the ideas in the architectural elements.
What is your approach to coffee?
Transparency, sustainability and social responsibility. Our approach to coffee is the same when we do business. As a coffee producing country, we are committed to the responsibility of improving the economy starting with our share. Every action undoubtedly has an important consequence.
Machines, coffees, special equipment lined up?
How does your project consider sustainability?
Sustainability is in Coffee Relief’s DNA. Coffee Relief is an ecosystem of opportunities for all stakeholders in the specialty coffee market. Our goal is to become a Latin American business model within the specialty coffee industry by including sustainability practices in all processes. From space design to deliveries, every detail of Coffee Relief is cared for with sustainability in mind. Carolina, the older sister, is ready to do anything to achieve this goal.
When Coffee Relief was first conceived, our main goal was to design and create a life support project that could minimize our carbon footprint. We involved the local community, our team, our friends and our family to achieve this. By July 2022, we have 13 specific sections that we are developing with sustainability. Our goal is to become fully sustainable and minimize our carbon footprint. 1. Design, 2. Coffee, 3. Roasting, 4. Menu, 5. Case-caf, 6. Paperless filter coffee, 7. Bakery, 8. Water, 9. Local products, 10. Community, 11. Coffee supplies , 12. Waste management and zero waste, and 13. Deliveries.
Design: Our plan is to partner with brands whose values of sustainability and ethics match ours.
We team up with Tala for most of our space lighting. Tala LED bulbs reduce energy consumption, using 90% less energy than equivalent incandescent bulbs and last 10-15 times longer before needing replacement.
Manufactured by AOS: the product design arm of AOS. They connected Coffee Relief with the best artisans in Quito, who then built our infrastructure and design. Additionally, working with them has allowed us to support local communities and develop cultural engagement.
Coffee: We have created strong relationships with coffee growers, who are part of our coffee family and have been an essential factor in our development. All our coffee comes directly from Ecuadorian coffee producers in a fair trade approach.
Roasting: Roasting is a crucial step in the specialty coffee making process. Reducing our carbon footprint at every step of the supply and value chain is our commitment. We have added a set of Aillio roasters to the Coffee Relief space under the guidance of Juan Pablo the younger brother and our master roaster. This all-electric roaster maximizes efficiency in energy consumption and merges with stability in energy exchange during roasting. The result: roast curves are more accurate within batch-determined settings.
We were able to encourage farmers to improve their harvesting process by showing them the impact of agricultural processes when roasting specialty coffee.
Menu: We designed our menu with Ecuadorian culture in mind, including local producers, seasonal fruits and native flora. In addition, it presents Ecuadorian medicinal plants that contribute to our concept of well-being. Our goal is to create a new opportunity in the specialty world, taking customer experience to the next level. Our new menu considers Pachamama (Earth) at its best. We worked with Jazmin Bustos, an internationally renowned barista from Ecuador. Together, we have developed a menu that represents our culture and our gastronomy that cannot be found elsewhere.
Case-Caf: Coffee Relief’s flagship product is a soft drink made from the dried skins of coffee fruits or coffee cherries (*cascara). It offers a unique coffee tasting experience to consumers. This innovative creation seeks a new direction in the specialty and is now a game changer at the coffee processing stage. We work with agricultural partners to choose the right coffee varieties that develop the desired flavor of the drink and achieve the appropriate degree of cherry fermentation. Therefore, the drink can provide beneficial probiotics and the right amount of caffeine for different customer profiles (from athletes to office workers).
In the meantime, we are promoting a circular economy opportunity for coffee farmers, driving economic growth. The production of Cas-caf transforms waste from coffee production into an innovative drink and increases the income of the communities concerned. Additionally, the company designed an eco-friendly glass bottle that keeps customers coming back and earning store credit, driving customer engagement and contributing to environmental benefits.
New experiences: By applying the purer method, we are the first cafe in Latin America to serve 100% paperless cups of coffee. The process accentuates the extract of oils that are typically lost when filtering with paper. Using borosilicate glass that maintains temperature, the technique enhances the coffee experience for our customers. Additionally, we encourage our customers to try Pure Over by reducing the cost of filter coffee when you have it with Pure Over.
Pastry shop: We team up with local women entrepreneurs who stock up daily at our Experience Bakery. Located five miles from Coffee Relief, Ke-deli, Panea and Cookieteria desserts have had a significant impact on the business, creating the best products in town. Together, we offer a variety of baked goods that accommodate different dietary preferences, including Keto Milky Cake “Tres Leches Keto”, Sourdough Focaccia, Fat Dark Chocolate Cookie, and Honey Lavender Cookie.
Water is the key to our business: We are proud to say that we have no plastic bottles in our path. Our production comes directly from Agua San Felipe, a family business that supplies fresh water from the Andes. Their watershed is located in Cotopaxi (one of the highest mountains in the world).
Local products: All of our menus use local produce grown within a seven-mile radius. To ensure freshness and high quality beverages, we grow our fruit products in our orchard located in Tababela. We harvest oranges, lemons, tangerines and many other fruits from organic farming to provide the best flavor to our products.
Community: We want to enable other companies to support the communities they work with. So for our team commitment, we have decided to collaborate with people who live within four miles to promote the economic and cultural betterment of the area.
Accessibility of coffee supplies: Although Ecuador is a coffee producer, there was a lack of accessibility to baristas and specialty cafeterias. We have partnered with well-known brands to offer kettles, roasters and brewing methods. We are working to make them accessible to the Ecuadorian and Latin American markets. We are working to introduce Pure Over, Brewista and Aillio to the local market.
Waste management and zero waste: We are significantly reducing our plastic consumption. However, a local waste management service manages the little we produce. We partner with Marca Patito to distribute our coffee through zero waste. We want to encourage less packaging and educate other local businesses.
Delivery: In an effort to reduce our carbon footprint, we have partnered with Marca Patito to help us with our deliveries in a way that consolidates packages for a week and later these are delivered on a specific day depending on the area they are in. must be delivered. In this way, we become more efficient and more environmentally friendly.
Do you work with craftsmen, architects and/or creatives that you would like to quote?
Carpenter: Milton Condo
Metal Welder: Alfonso Quilo
Industrial designer: Raquel Espinoza
Creative director and designer: Ángeles Ortiz
Architect and teacher: José Coba
Industrial engineer: Juan Pablo Ortiz
Constructors: P. Coba U. Construcciones
We would also like to mention our incredible team: Paula, Caro, Majo, Dari and Kelly.
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