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About Brazil Faz Santa Ines Natural Red Bourbon
Arrival July 2023, in Grainpro. We had several large cuppings of Brazils about 12 weeks ago and the unanimous top coffee was this microlot from Fazenda St Ines. It was a blind cupping as usual and the variety, as we later found out, was red bourbon, not a typical one from Brazil, but a variety noted for sweetness. There was only a small quantity available of this lot so we happily snagged it.
We have some history with St Ines - we first came upon one of their coffees when we were on the international jury of the 2006 Cup of Excellence, a long time ago. It was an outstanding cup, our personal favorite of the competition, where it wound up taking 5th place and garnering a Presidential award, given to coffees that score over 90 points (it scored 91.43). We bought the coffee that year at auction and offered it to our customers. We later found out that it was the same coffee that had placed 1st the prior year, with a record (at the time) for the highest price paid for an auction coffee - $49.75 per pound. In a way, this was the first big price competition coffee, though that record has been eclipsed many times since.
We kept coming back to coffee from this farm, always in blind cuppings, consistently impressed with the quality and often the uniqueness of their cup profile. And so we have once again, this time with microlot showing great power and finesse.
Fazenda Santa Ines is located in the municipality of Carmo de Minas in southern Minas Gerais at the foot of the Mantiqueira mountains. When the farm was acquired by the Sertao Group in 1979 it was already planted in coffee. Soon thereafter work began on planting more fields, building new concrete drying patios, and installing a washer, dryer, and processing machine. The Sertao Group is highly committed to environmental conservation, witnessed by the fact that it has preserved a large area of native forest on the property and protects all the mountain springs and creeks as well as the vegetation along their banks.
Producer Francisco Isidoro Dias Pereira
Coffee growing in Carmo de Minas has been the business of the Pereira family since 1979. When the family started managing the 215-hectare farmland at Fazenda Santa Ines, it was already planted in coffee, but they opted to plant new varieties and update the work model in order to improve quality and productivity. At the time the family took over management at Santa Ines, the Carmo de Minas region was experiencing problems with quality. The family hired experts to help improve quality, they introduced new harvesting/processing techniques, and they also implemented the newest farm technology available. Since making these changes, the coffees from Santa Ines have stood out in regional and national contests: In 2005, a sample from Fazenda Santa Ines won first place in Cup of Excellence Brazil, with a world-record 95.85 score.
- Country: Brazil
- Region: Carmo de Minas, Minas Gerais
- Producer: Francisco Isidoro Dias Pereira
- Altitude: 1050 meters
- Variety: Red Bourbon
- Processing: Natural, dried in the skin
- Drying: Patio, sun
Social responsibility is also taken seriously on the farm: 13 homes for workers and their families have been built on the property, complete with the necessary infrastructure, including water, electricity, and a sewerage system. The houses are occupied by 35 employees on payroll and their families, or a total of 80 people. The rest of the workers' families live in Olimpio Noronha. In addition to their wages, all the families receive milk, coffee, medicines, and other assistance, and they have access to soccer fields, a sand court, and a quoits court for recreation and sports. Employee's children who are studying can easily get to school: a bus passes by the entrance gate several times a day and takes them there.
Because of the topography, harvesting at Fazenda Santa Ines has always
been done by hand, the cherries being collected on a cloth. This precaution is taken so
that the coffee will not be contaminated or lose its quality. Once they are picked, the
cherries are taken to Fazenda do Sertao, another partner in the
Sertao Group, where they are washed, pulped, and spread out, always with
a view to obtaining a high-quality product. In keeping with the Sertao
Group's philosophy to continuously strive to improve the quality of
their coffee, personnel from Fazenda Santa Ines often visit national and
international sites to exchange experiences with other growers in an ongoing effort to
raise the bar for the coffees it produces. Oh, the bag the coffee arrived in was really cool. At least one is going on to a wall in our office!
Cup Characteristics: This coffee is boldly fruity and reminiscent of some anaerobic processes, although we are told classic natural processing was done. Flavors are big and bold with lots of jammy fruit, notably blackberry. The finish is long and mouth coating. Complex concentrated fruit flavors that are clean and pure are hallmarks of this cup. An outstanding cup and excellent value.
Roasting Notes: We prefer to stop this coffee before the outset of second crack, in order to preserve its bright fruit tones. Certainly the coffee can be roasted darker but many of its subtleties might be lost.