There is a hidden gem on the faja of Vimes on Sao Jorge; one of many, I’m sure, as we continue to unearth the wealth of this island. We took a drive out to the faja, sat back and relaxed in the quiet scene, while we sipped on luscious cups of home grown, hand processed coffee.
Welcome to Cafe Nunes, the only coffee plantation in Europe.
After our indulgence, Dina Nunes gave us a fabulous tour of her home and shared with us the history of her father, Manuel Nunes’, coffee endeavor. Coffee plants thrived among various other hearty fruits and vegetables growing in the backyard. Dina explained her family has several hundred coffee plants growing elsewhere on the faja, the climate is ideal for Arabica beans. Coffee harvest had ended, typically May – August, but the plants were already flowering again. Dina explained their hand processing; dry the beans, shell the beans, roast the beans under careful watch not to burn. Dina was fabulously energetic and passionate about her family’s farm.
Grape seeds dry where coffee beans would normally be drying during harvest time. The grape seeds are ground, then typically added to cereal at the Nunes breakfast table.
Dina shared with us her mother’s work-space also. Dina’s mother makes bedspreads, the old-fashioned way, preserving the art of Azorian loom work. Dina apologized when we walked into the room, the bedspreads we saw were for display and her mother had nothing available to sell. “The summer is very busy with people coming for the coffee,” she explained. Bedspreads are made to order enabling customers to select their pattern, size, and color preferences.
The Nunes family has been gaining publicly, slowly, for their hobbies. Dina and her father were recently interviewed for an article in the New York Times, just one of several previously written articles about the plantation and handicrafts.
Dina shared that the family began serving their coffee when the women would gather to do handicrafts, or to view her mother’s work. “It’s nice to share the work and to have a conversation with a cup of coffee,” she said. People started talking about the faja coffee, and venturing to Vimes for a taste. Word spread. Despite recent attention, Dina’s father has no plans to expand his business but simply to continue farming and to continue to welcome curious visitors. We enjoyed our visit with Dina, and of course, the coffee.