Henry Gaibor and Verana Blaser are two people untied by passion. They met in Mozambique while both working for Doctors Without Borders. This job and environment provided very little reward for their hard work and loads of dedication. After many years working for Doctors Without Borders, they married and decided to move to Ecuador, Henry’s native home, to grow coffee.
The placard at the entrance of their first farm, Finca Maputo, has a flag representing Ecuador, Henry’s native land and Sweden, Verana’s native country. Maputo is the capital of Mozambique, and is the place where this union of passion was formed. Coincidentally, this is exactly what stood out to me about Finca Maputo upon visiting in 2013. Both Henry and Verana are passionate about life, about their farm, about the people who assist them and this truly makes all the difference with the coffee they produce.
From the start, Finca Maputo, only 7 years old, was intended to be a Specialty Coffee farm. All the varieties are kept separate. They include SL-34 (a hard to find variety deriving from Kenya); Bourbon; Typica and a few Ethiopian heirlooms. Two years ago, they purchased Maputo’s neighboring farm, La Nube. There, they continue to grow separate lots of great coffees, like this Typica.
Henry and Verana’s care of the plants is meticulous. While neighboring farms were struggling with Coffee Leaf Rust, Henry, through his own intellect and focus, was able to learn about and properly apply what the plants needed to defend from Coffee Leaf Rust. I was at Finca Maputo and La Nube at the height of the Coffee Leaf Rust problem in June of 2013 and Maputo had absolutely no sign of it. Finca Maputo and La Nube are situated in a micro-climate with high humidity, which would typically allow Coffee Leaf Rust to thrive. The fact that I could find no trace of it really clued me into how amazing these farms were run.
The humid climate is one of the major contributors to the taste quality of Maputo and La Nube. The humidity from the Pacific Ocean cools the coffee early in the afternoon and into the evening which helps slow the development of the coffee similar to a higher altitude coffee. This does make it hard to dry coffee in an efficient manner. Henry and Verana employ the use of raised drying beds and a Penagos dryer in order to finish the drying process. Raised bed drying is slower than patio drying, which allows for further development and permeation of post-fermentation qualities. If the drying process is extended too long, then fermentation defects and mold develop. This is why the coffees are finished in the Penagos mechanical dryer.
We hope to continue working with Henry and Verana so we can mutually facilitate a passion for quality coffee.