Farm to Cup: Brazil (Part Two)

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Day 3, Tuesday, July 29

 

It was cold last night. Didn’t sleep very well, especially with the packs of barking dogs outside. Woke up this morning at 8am, took a shower, and lost power halfway through. That’s the way to wake up: ice cold shower… After a breakfast of bread, cheese, ham and eggs, we’re moving to visit Sergio at Serra Do Bone, and the owner of the Hotels farm.

 

 

As always, Serra do Bone didn’t disappoint. Sergio has to be one of the best producers in Araponga, or Brazil for that matter. Quality and consistency every time. Thankfully this time we were able to see some of his process, and what he believed to be his “Auction” lot for the year. It looked spectacular.

 

After the visit, we took another long drive. 6hrs to South Minas, Santo Antonio, where Fazenda Santo Antonio and Pedro reside.

 

Day 4, Wednesday, July 30

 

Slept well at F. Santo Antonio. As always, Pedro is an awesome host and their house is amazing. Visited his farm today and got to see the entire mechanical process. Turns out that FSA is 400,000 hectars or about 1,600,000 acres making it the top 5% of large farms in Brazil. FSA is having a tough year this year due to drought and a large harvest last year (16,000 bags). This year, due to tough conditions, they are only producing 8,000 bags.

 

Quality seemed to be up from last year, or at least more consistent. CD’s or pulped naturals were cupping in the solid 85pt range and we had one amazing natural at 87+ but I think it will be better with rest ending up at 88+. Good things coming this year from FSA.

 

After FSA we traveled another 5hrs to Cerrado where we will sleep, wake up, and visit 2 large farms… LARGE farms. 100,000+ hectars. I have never been anywhere like this, but am expecting a typical “Brazil” flavor profile. Hopefully, I’ll be pleasantly surprised with some gems of Cerrado.

 

Some background info on Cerrado:
Cerrado is a region in Minas Gerais state, however the word cerrado actually means savannah. In Brazil, there are three typical types of cerrado land: arid, high dessert, and areas around rivers with porous soil type. The Cerrado region for coffee is the arid type. The Cerrado region is a high altitude plateau at around 1200masl.

 

Pre-1970’s the cerrado landscape was considered trash where nothing would grow and a harsh environment. In the 70’s the Brazilian government actually gave away thousands of hectars of land in what is now Cerrado. This is when coffee production began in the region. After the cultivation of coffee in the land, prices skyrocketed making Cerrado one of the most expensive places to purchase land in Minas Gerais today.

 

At the same time in the 70’s, it was discovered that the cerrado land scape, actually contained nutrient rich, deep, well-drained, but moisture holding soils, perfect for coffee, soy beans, corn, and a variety of other crops. Rainforest lands around the Amazon, even though seemingly rich soil, are actually poor soil types with thin top soil making it difficult to grow things. Cerrado ended up being the perfect environment to cultivate coffee. People in Brazil call the cerrado the upside-down rainforest: a place where all the water and nutrients are underground instead of above.

 

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