Murray Cooper Espresso

A super silky and fruity espresso, tasting like hard candies with hints of white grape and melon. In milk it reminds us of ginger cake.

We always aim to showcase the people producing our coffee, and yet we often spend the majority of our time talking about the granular details of growing, harvesting, processing and drying coffee. Our newest espresso is produced by Murray Cooper, whose story is so unique we wanted to share some of it with you.

Murray was born in South Africa to British parents, moving to Ecuador in 1991. He worked for an NGO for many years, dedicated to protecting natural rainforests and the diversity of life found within, with a particular focus on the Chocó rainforest. Up until 2002, he continued this work, and in doing so, developed an interest in wild bird photography, often involving spending 35-day stints in a hide deep in the rainforest to capture the birds in their natural habitat, committing only to photograph them in natural light.

Murray explains what motivated him to pick up his camera:
“People often ask what it is that drives me to such a crazy vocation, especially as I am not actually a bird-watcher per se. My motivation is purely for conservation purposes – that stem from a deep love for all that is wild and natural and free. I had been working for 10 years in conservation in Ecuador’s Chocó Rainforest, and could never find any decent images to help promote the cause. Fund-raising with international foundations for conservation in the developing world is hard enough as it is, but trying to capture someone’s attention with words and statistics alone just wasn’t good enough in the competitive donor’s world. We desperately needed good quality images of the fauna and flora to show people exactly what was at stake here, and that was when I decided to get myself a camera and work on promoting consciousness and conservation through my images. Using good communications, compelling visuals and professional graphics are now recognised tools of the conservation cause. The skills of photographers, film-makers, writers and other creative artists are instrumental in helping tell the story of how our planet succeeded in changing the way we manage our wild areas (and planet in general), or of how we failed.”

It’s a joy to view Murray’s work, printed in Time Magazine and National Geographic as well as his own eight published works, especially when you have a grasp of the amount of work, control, skill and time involved in creating such images. This attention to detail and desire to produce something of high quality now exists on his coffee farm, Finca Luciérnaga (Firefly Farm), which he has been running with his wife, Patricia Escobar, since 2002. Murray is in charge of training the farm workers, managing the coffee plants and for quality control and development, whilst Patricia oversees the coffee drying. By experimenting, over the years he has been able to develop processing protocols that enable his lots of Caturra, Bourbon and Typica Mejorado to cup at specialty level consistently. A lot of this is done by trialling different fermentation periods, but also through farm management, like planting Cedar and Alder trees around the farm.

We have selected this lot of Bourbon and Caturra from Murray and his wife to share with you as a short espresso run, and feel privileged to work with such a charismatic and caring producer as Murray.

 

Producer

Murray Cooper & Patricia Escobar

Harvest

October, 2017

Process

16hr fermentation, fully washed and dried on raised beds

Variety

Bourbon & Caturra

Region

Nanegal, Pichincha

Country

Ecuador

Altitude

1,580 metres