Last week, Temple’s Director of Coffee Eton Tsuno traveled to Brazil to source this year’s Farm to Cup Brazilian coffees. We had him track his experience with live journal entries each day.
Day 1: Sunday, July 27
After 23 hours of flying and layovers, and a 6hr drive to Espirto Santo, I finally arrived to my first destination: the city of Belo Horizonte in the state of Minas Gerais. From here, we will wake up at 8am to drive 30km to the neighboring town of Castelo and the smaller community of Batela where our current Tomanzini coffee comes from. Espirto Santo is now a known state for producing high quality coffees though it wasn’t always this way. Historically, 80% of the states income came from coffee, however pre-2000, most of the coffee was sold locally and transported to Cerrado for blending and eventually being lost in the market and sold as Cerrado. In 2000, the local government pushed for quality coffee and began to support small farmers to send their coffees directly to market as Espírito Santo.
Day 2: Monday, July 28
Waking up and rushing to Batela in the rain for a farm visit. Driving wasnt too bad as many of the roads are either paved or well-maintained dirt roads. Of course, the Range Rover Discovery helps too.
Batela is a community of 3rd-generation Italian immigrants. Hence, the Tomanzini family settled here. Batela was first famous for gold. After much of the gold was mined from the lands, the immigrant families started planting coffee. Mostly Caturra 81(a good cultivar).
Lots of mist/fog make this area a unique micro-climate. Most of the coffee here is grown at 1000masl or below making it an improbable place for quality coffee. However, I think due to the morning mist/fog until 10-11am and its close proximity to the ocean (about 50km), climate here is cool slowing down the maturation of the coffee and lending itself to high quality coffee grown around 800-1100 MASL.
The Tomazini family welcomed us with open arms, showing us around the plantation in the rain and mud, and even offering us lunch. Tasty… chicken, rice, beans, harts of palm, polenta and, of course, spaghetti.
After the farm visit, we cupped at a local collection point for Castello coffees. This office is actually run by the local government as a place to market and showcase coffees of the region. We were met by two newspaper reporters who took photos for tomorrow’s local newspaper.
We were pleasantly surprised by the quality on the table. These were fresh coffees, just off the patios, and first pickings. We had 8 coffees, scoring from 82 – 87 points. Great potential here, we will definitely be showcasing Castelo coffees for micro lots and as a part of our blend. Perhaps a Brazil Temple Select: Castelo is in order.
The day finally ended with a 7hr drive to Araponga, the region where Serra Do Bone comes from. Yep, we arrived at almost 12pm. Cheers, see you at 8am for the same all over again!!