Tag Archives: beans

Young girl holding fresh picked coffee cherries in Vanuatu.

Vanuatu coffee

It surprised me to see three brands of Vanuatu grown coffee for sale in Luganville. Alongside the well-known Tanna coffee there was a selection from Aore Island and a haphazard collection of different bags branded as Cafe de Vanuatu. I found the origins of this coffee at VARTC ( Vanuatu Agricultural Research Technical Centre ),10km north of Luganville.

The VARTC farm is quite compact and it did not take long to find children on school holidays picking the arabica beans (30 Vatu for 1kg or about 40c NZ ). From picking to roasting, the whole operation is done by hand.

With a new wharf being built in Luganville and more cruise ships visiting it would be an ideal time to package the operation for tourists in a similar way to Tanna Coffee in Efate.

In the meantime you will have to buy the very good quality arabica beans at LCM ( the best supermarket in Luganville ), I just hope the branding gets some love.

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Tony Gibbs of Gibbston Coffee

The Best Coffee in Wellington | Murray Lloyd Photography

At home I have put many beans through the grinder, into the stovetop and drunk usually as a long black with flat milk (I am drinking one as I write this). I have had several bean favourites but these were blown away when I tried the Italia blend from Tony Gibbs recently.

Gibbston Coffee Interior

Although his tiny café on the Terrace has been operating since 2001 it has been unnoticed up until now. Maybe this is because the sign overhead remains blank and the café doesn’t even have a name.

The lack of a sign was no hindrance to the flow of people coming in and out of the cafe while I was photographing, most of them exchanging greetings with Gibbs while he roasted beans. The beans are roasted in a fully restored Aug Olsen originating in Denmark.

Aug Olsen coffee roasterClose up of Aug Olsen coffee roasterTony Gibbs of Gibbston Coffee

Gibbs has been roasting beans since 1987 when he was trained by George Kepper, an Australian based Russian who consulted several of the big roast companies in Sydney from time to time to correct blends and adjust roasts that were not quite right. The Italia blend was perfected by Gibbs on visits to Kepper in Sydney and has not been altered since 1987.

Of the beans Gibbs purchases for his café he rates the Columbian Medellin Supremo as the best (and the most expensive), supplied by John Burton, New Zealand’s primary importer of beans for smaller roasters.

Columbian Medillen Supremo beansGreen unroasted Columbian Medillen Supremo beans

Gibbs’s blends, aside from the Italia include TG Pearl, Indian Mysore (named after the Southern Indian province where it comes from) and Brazilian which is made especially for the drinkers at Taste Café in Kelburn, one of two cafes Gibbs supplies (the other is Salvation in Newtown).

Interior of Gibbston CafeInterior of Gibbston CafeInterior of Gibbston CafeOrganic beans at Gibbiston coffee
Located in Wellington’s corporate heartland (the PM drops in for coffee and the Treasury is right opposite) it is great to see someone putting taste firmly on the bottom line.

Stop Press: The cafe has been renamed Old George (after the Russian who taught Tony Gibbs how to roast the beans) and is still producing the best coffee in Wellington

Old George coffee beans with new packaging in Wellington.