Ecuador Maputo Taza Dorada #3
In addition to the first-place Taza Dorada competition winner we featured earlier this year, we were also able to secure the controversial third place winning lot from Finca Maputo. The controversary had to do with the way the coffee was processed, the “honey” method, which is rare in Ecuador and, when successful, results in an intense fruit-forward flavor. Because the origin is not known for this flavor profile, some judges were critical of this coffee. Despite this mixed response, the coffee still managed to rank number three in the incredibly competitive competition.
Finca Maputo is a coffee farm owned and operated, Henry Gaibor and Verena Blaser. The couple met many years ago while working with Doctors without Borders in Bujumbura, Burundi. Previously, Henry had managed a medical clinic in Maputo, Mozambique. Twenty years ago, the couple relocated to Ecuador to run their own clinic, which they did for 13 years. About seven years ago they retired from their medical practice to focus their attention on coffee. They named their farm Maputo in honor of the city in Mozambique.
Henry and Verena’s meticulous dedication to coffee production has resulted in an exceptional degree of quality in a relatively short period of time. Their adoption of the honey process method (also known as pulped natural) has received great response both internationally and within Ecuador’s growing community of specialty cafes. Although the elevation of their farm isn’t extraordinarily high, there is a misty layer of cloud coverage that blankets the coffee fields every afternoon. This natural regulation of temperature allows for slow maturation of the coffee fruit and results in complex flavors. They recognize the importance of their farm to the local community and their workers and strive to provide them with fair wages and safe working conditions.
Like Cup of Excellence, Taza Dorada is a national competition where coffee producers from around Ecuador submit their best lots for multiple rounds of evaluation. Ted Stachura, Equator’s Director of Coffee, judged the finals of the last season’s Taza Dorada competition. Local coffee experts had tasted hundreds of submissions to select the semifinalists, before the international pool of judges arrived to evaluate the best lots. The top five winning coffees were sold in a live auction, where Equator won this lot, splitting it with a roaster from Ecuador.