Ecuador Hakuna Matata
Ecuador Hakuna Matata
We taste: jasmine, pear, cocoa
Farm: Finca Hakuna Matata owned by Henry and Verena Gaibor
Region: La Perla, Nanegal, Pichincha
Processing Method: Washed
Elevation: 1,350 msl
Back for it’s 2nd year at SQ1 is a staff and customer favorite from Finca Hakuna Matata (yes, that’s the name of the farm, which is Swahili for "no worries"). The farm is owned and operated by Henry and Verena Gaibor who also oversee the daily operations of Rancho Tio Emilio, as well as their own mill and farm at Finca Maputo. (SQ1 super fans may remember that we’ve carried coffee from Finca Maputo 3 years ago, before the Hakuna Matata.)
The couple has a very interesting, somewhat dramatic backstory, also having to do with medicine. They met in Bujumbura, Burundi, in 1996 when they were both volunteering for Doctors Without Borders: Henry is a veteran war-trauma surgeon from Ecuador, and Verena is a war nurse from Switzerland. They met in the field during a humanitarian crisis in Burundi. In 1998, the two of them returned to Henry's home country of Ecuador, where they managed a clinic in Quito for 13 years before deciding to devote their time, energy, and resources to another passion—coffee. Henry is extremely methodical and just as dedicated to his coffee production as he used to be about his medical profession, and Verena's management skills clearly show her training and efficiency as a nurse under extreme pressure.
Together, they are doing everything right when it comes to picking, processing, and drying coffees. The Gaibors grow several different varieties, which are clearly divided and marked on their properties: Typica, Bourbon, SL-28, Sidra, Kaffa, and Caturra. This lot is a hybrid of several varieties of coffee developed in Ecuador, specifically a cross-breed created in 2007 combining Ethiopian heirloom types with a Typica derivative. This hybrid variety has proven to provide good quality in the cup as well as fortifying the plants with an increased tolerance to disease.
Henry and Verena produce their coffee in La Perla, Nanegal, which is in the province of Pichincha, relatively close to the border of Colombia. Despite its relatively low altitude for Ecuador (1,350 meters above sea level), the area where the farm is located has a very specific microclimate with high humidity and mist covering over the coffee fields in the afternoons. Evenings become much cooler as well, and this unique combination of characteristics give the coffees from Finca Hakuna Matata a very special quality.