A Brew-Tiful Trip To Brazil – Days 1 And 2
Our MD Marcel and his wife Natalie have travelled to Camocim in Brazil to visit the estate that our most popular single origin is from.
Over the next few days we will be posting his daily updates.
Henrique collected us from Vitoria airport, a good old trusty Toyota Hilux was the perfect taxi.
Just a short 1.5 hour trip in Espirit de Santos to the Camocim farm. We learnt a lot about the local politics and how the last president had recently been arrested and his replacement had stopped all construction work including a much needed road to transport most of the goods through the mountains to Vitoria port.
We arrived at the farm only by chance to see the local pickers arrive with their mornings harvest.
We jumped out of the hilux and went over to introduce ourselves. Henrique offered me some coffee berries to eat. I reached in and munched on the fruit. This was such an emotional moment.
I was in coffee heaven!
The Beauty of the farm was off the richter.
We checked out the new HQ that Henrique had finished building a couple of months ago. Amazing. Like a architecture blossom in a small coffee paradise.
After a simple lunch on the road side we drove up to the top of the farm. This is where it all happens. The washing, drying and different procedures were incredible. The most surprising thing was the attention of care going it to the cascara.
This was new to me.
Even though I knew about it I didn’t realise how special cascara was. After being lucky to see the whole process we returned to HQ and drank the coffee and cascara.
Something to put on our menu back home.
We ended the day off by checking in to the local hotel then out to a local restaurant. Henrique is a fantastic guy and I can’t wait for tomorrow.
Henrique collected us from the hotel nice and early. We didn’t get off to the best start as we had spilt water on our laptop which now won’t charge. First stop was to a small super market to purchase a large bag of rice to try and fix it!
Once at the farm we went straight to the converted shipping container where the farm manager was sample roasting. It was a welcome smell that reminded me of being back at work!
From here we set off in the trusty hilux to a farm that Henrique was looking at helping. This was a first visit for him and Roberta came too who is in charge of the bio dynamic program in this area. The excitement was strong as the farm was the first and only Robusta farm to switch Organic.
A journey that was meant to take 40 minutes took 2 hours. But the sights on the way were a real eye opener. The small towns and villages were just what I thought agricultural Brazil would be.
We descended around 1000m and eventually arrived. The last 3k were totally off road and extremely different soil and lack of trees compared to Camocim. We were greeted by the two brothers that owned the farm and then took a look around.
It was 39 degrees and very dry.
The brothers had never had foreign visitors before and seemed very appreciated that we were all there. Henrique discussed lots with them but I couldn’t understand what was being said. The most amazing thing about the farm was that they had a breeding side of goats. I couldn’t help thinking of the legend of Kaldi. The goats were everywhere and were really well looked after. The brothers had never heard of the Kaldi story. Quite amazing.
After an amazing lunch in the spotless farm house, cooked by the sister and mother of the brothers we left to go back to Camocim.
Henrique explained in the hilux what they had been discussing and the history of the land and farm. The most interesting part is that the land is on a reserve left over from the end of the slave times, called Quilombo. The slaves were given the land to settle on by the government but it was very baron and difficult to farm on. The brothers are only allowed to farm 40% of their land to preserve the natural environment.
On return the container was fully laid out for a cupping session.
19 different coffees including the robusta from the brothers farm.
The session was fantastic. I chose three coffees that I hope we can fill a container with once I have crunched the numbers. I also would really like to bring a few of the bags of robusta in to our offer. This would help the brothers but mainly because robusta has a much stronger future. As the climate changes, Arabica is finding it tough. But time will tell.
After a couple of hours rest. Henrique took us out for a meal. As soon as we jumped in to the hilux he told us that one of the brothers had rang him and was very emotional and happy about his future working with Henrique. To move organic is a big gutsy move and us all visiting gave the brothers the confidence to push on.
This news was also emotional for Henrique. He is so passionate about is local area and he was excited for the future.
A good positive end to the day.