We met Alessandro for the first time in Brazil at COE (Cup of Excellence) 2017. He got to the final that year. He was one of the top producers in Brazil. And still is.
He repeated his success in 2018 and in 2019 he managed to get to the 20th place. There are more than 220 000 coffee farmers in Brazil. Not bad, heh?
Our Roastmaster Mārtiņs Drungils was one of the judges at the Cup of Excellence 2017 and Alessandro's coffee was his favorite that year.
When we did coffee cupping of this lot for the first time, this was a flashback of Brazil COE 2017. It had this smooth, milk chocolaty texture with unusual yellow stone fruit notes with the pleasant acidity of white grapes.
Complex, yet still can taste Brazilian-like coffee.
Although it was not easy to produce this kind of coffee, it takes extra attention to the processing, with extra labor involved.
This coffee is like a statement for the Brazilian specialty segment - yes, we are the biggest producers in the world! Yes, we are associated with lower quality large volumes coffees. But Brazil has a lot to offer with a huge range of taste profiles!
Alessandro: "I have been in coffee-growing since 1993 when my father bought a property (Fazenda Fortaleza) in São Gonçalo do Sapucaí, since then I have been learning how to produce coffee, today I own two small properties, Sítio Esperança and Sítio Diogo and leasing four more small areas: Sítio Grotão, Sítio Boa Vista, Sítio AAA, and Fazenda Fortaleza, where I live, with a total of 28 ha of coffee, we work in family farming, I am part of APAS (Association of producers of Alto da Serra), where we work together with other producers and we are focused on producing high-quality coffees, mainly natural.
In 2013 we started to peel the coffees, dry the coffees on paved, suspended terraces and greenhouses, we are in a region that has been standing out in the production of specialty coffees.
In 2015 we started to do selective harvesting, at first it seemed impossible and unviable where everyone said, but thanks to God the quality of the coffee that was selectively harvested, surprised us reaching notes and flavors that we could not even imagine, selective harvesting raised the quality a lot. of our coffees, we are always trying to improve our quality.
In 2016 we started with some organic coffee crops, we are learning how to produce organically and looking for a way to produce without reducing production much, we certify in 2019, this project is still small, more is working and we should increase the areas in the next years.
In the last few years, we started to learn how to taste our coffees, it was essential to understand our quality and we started to relate the flavors and profile of coffees to the post-harvest processes, this helped us to improve and stabilize the quality and diversify our coffee profiles, we understand that each coffee, whether ripe, green or raisin, can have the quality enhanced according to the post-harvest process used, green coffee can bring a different flavor and if that flavor can be very good.
We also work with beekeeping, that's why we created the Honey & Coffee brand that represents all our work in beekeeping and coffee properties, always seeking to improve the quality and variety of our products."
Alessandro: "The fermentation happens during the 17 days long drying process. We spread the coffee on the terrace in 10 cm layers - the idea is to stir the coffee by carefully observing how the fermentation is happening. If the coffee is not entering the process we leave it or stir it very slightly. If the fermentation is very fast we move it around more often - we have to do these things to increase or decrease the humidity of the coffee because the humidity control is fundamental for the desired fermentation. We don't want to be stuck with recipes, because fermentation has many variables, but the most important thing for us is to try to oversee the coffee according to the appearance and especially the aroma - this type of fermentation is slower and provides the coffee with notes of fruit, it is sweet and full-bodied, clean and also maintains these characteristics in coffee for a long time."