Coffee Relationships, In Good Times and Bad, with Ecuador Finca Maputo

Written by Rob Hoos, edited by Karen Lickteig

Nearly two years ago, one of our baristas, Lucas, had the opportunity to visit Finca Maputo in Ecuador. He was able to meet the owners, tour the farm, and begin building a new relationship with these farmers thanks to a connection through our friends at Cafe Imports. Lucas is also a budding photographer and videographer, and he put together this beautiful video (below) telling the story of the farm. The owners, Verena and Henry Gaibor, met while working for Doctors Without Borders in Burundi, and then retired together to grow coffee in Ecuador.

The first batch of coffee we received from Finca Maputo was remarkable: lemon and jasmine, remarkably sweet and reminiscent of a fine Ethiopian coffee. It was truly one of the most delicious coffees we've ever purchased and sold here at Nossa Familia. It was wildly popular with our customers, didn't last long, and we were hopeful for the opportunity to continue the relationship and buy Finca Maputo's excellent coffee again.

One of the unfortunate consequences of success and hard work is that it can make you a target. This was the case for the Gaibors - and we were heartbroken to hear the news last year that the owners of Maputo were met with great misfortune. Verena and Henry were robbed at gunpoint, their lives threatened, and much of their coffee crop was stolen along with some of their personal possessions. More information about the robbery is available HERE.

We were troubled when we heard of these events, but we remained determined in our mind to continue to buy coffee from Finca Maputo, and fortunately the police were able to recover some of the Gaibor's lost coffee. When the offer samples arrived this year, they were sweet, clean, balanced, but lacked that lemon and jasmine that we had enjoyed so thoroughly the year before. However, at Nossa Familia we buy green coffee from people with whom we have relationships, and not just for the exotic flavor profiles or high cupping scores. Because of this, we went ahead and decided to buy this balanced, lovely coffee anyway in an effort to continue building this relationship with Henry & Verena Gaibor.

If you had the previous coffee from Finca Maputo that we offered last year, don't expect the same flavor profile on this year's. You may notice that the price is a little lower, and the flavor descriptors listed on the website are different as well. Coffee is an agricultural crop, and it will have seasonality in similar ways to wine, honey, sweet-corn, etc. So long as the coffee is of good quality, we’re committed to sticking with our coffee partners and buying from them, year after year.

It’s a beautiful coffee, and I can’t wait to share it with you and see what the climate, terroir, and farmer influence bring to the cup in the coming years as we continue to buy coffee from Maputo in Ecuador.