The debut Ecuadorian coffee for Madcap Coffee Company, Ecuador La Perla is exceptional for a couple reasons. First, it hails from Ecuador, a country not known for high production of specialty coffee. Ecuador’s production is only a fraction of its neighbor, Colombia.
Secondly, Finca Maputo, located in La Perla, which is located in the region of Pichincha in northern Ecuador, is owned and operated by Henry and Verena Gaibor. Henry, a veteran surgeon and war doctor and Verena, a midwife, met in Bujumbura, Burundi while volunteering for Doctors Without Borders and United Nations. They have since retired and dedicated their lives to producing some of the best coffees to come out of Ecuador. Henry is extremely methodical with his coffee production and is just as dedicated and passionate as he once was with his profession. He is doing everything right when it comes to picking, processing, and drying and has his farm divided into different lots with different varieties (Typica, SL28, Bourbon, Kaffa, and Caturra). The coffee we’re cupping today is 100% Typica.
Another surprising factor is the relative youth of the farm: only three years of age and already producing some of the finest coffees in South America. It is typically the case that coffee trees take three to five years to mature, where the full potential for quality appears towards that end of maturity.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Ecuador La Perla, from Madcap Coffee Company in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: La Perla, Nanegal, Pichincha, Ecuador
farm: Finca Maputo
producer: Henry and Verena Gaibor
elevation: 1350 meters above sea level
process: fully washed, raised bed dried
The aroma of the Ecuador La Perla is wonderfully complex; intricately, delicately layered with sweet, tart, and floral nuances. Caramel kicks it off, introducing further scents of melon, stone fruit, citrus, and herbs.
Taking my first few sips of the cup immediately post-brew, I can already tell that the flavor profile is a mirror of its aroma profile—complex and delicately layered. Again, salted caramel and honey kick off each sip, spreading over the tongue and introducing a bouquet of flowers and herbs (jasmine, juniper, and white tea). There are some really nice, mellow fruit flavors happening up front, too, but I have to hold the coffee on my tongue for a few seconds to get a really clear picture of what’s going on: cantaloupe, honeydew, and peach so far.
As the cup cools off, really sparkling, juicy fruit flavors come to the forefront of each sip and, I have to say—the clarity is stunning. I’m tasting some incredible flavors of the aforementioned melon, raspberry, peach, apricot, nectarine, Granny Smith apple (but not nearly as tart), and a mellow key lime acidity that snaps at the end with a clean, crisp finish.
Medium body; effervescent mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
For as long as Madcap Coffee Company has been around, it’s really, really surprising to me that until now they’ve never sourced a coffee from Ecuador. After trying this one, I have a conflicted response to this. My initial response is “What took you so long??” Upon further reflection, my response has become “Thank you for holding out for the perfect coffee.”
Madcap’s Ecuador La Perla was an absolutely incredible, brilliant coffee. One that dazzled the palate from sip to shining sip. Besides being an exquisite Ecuadorian offering—standing head and shoulders above its peers—it was one that could stand toe to toe with some of the finest lots from neighboring regions, like Colombia, Peru, and Brazil.
I don’t want to wrap up this review without expressing my thanks to the fine folks at Lemonjello’s Coffee in Holland, Michigan for sharing this one with me. If you’re fortunate enough to be living in the West Michigan area, be sure to head over there to grab a cup as soon as you can; if not, you should definitely order it online.