La Cabra Coffee is continually on a journey to discover new coffees, to establish close connections with small farmers, and to understand the nuances that differentiate sourcing experiences around the world. This fall we travelled to Brazil to visit small farms in the state of Espirito Santo, and afterwards joined a coffee festival in the state of Sao Paulo.
The world’s largest coffee producing country, Brazil is principally known for its commodity quality, produced on large industrial farms, in flat and low-lying landscapes. Espirito Santo is a coffee region apart, where small farms produce handpicked specialty quality in high altitude hills. The local microclimate is marked by warm days and cool nights, which leads to slow maturation and late harvests. Coffees from Espirito Santo excel on the cupping table with distinct and complex flavor notes that are unlike any Brazilians we have tasted in the past. We looked at each other in amazement when one day a table offered several delightful tastes reminiscent of floral Ethiopians, red berry Kenyans, and more traditional Brazilian nutty and caramel profiles.
We had the pleasure of visiting many of the small farms whose coffees we cupped on this trip. The opportunity to visit a producer, to understand their approach to farming and process, while at the same time cupping their coffees, is nearly invaluable for those seeking to understand how good quality comes into being. It helps us recognize how natural splendor and soil composition can endow the fruits of a small family-owned affair with final taste notes that stand apart. And just as importantly, visiting and cupping in countries of origin helps us make informed decisions about long-term relationships with farmers and exporters.
After five days of travelling around Espirito Santo, we headed for the state of Sao Paulo and a micro coffee festival that featured talks and more cuppings. Coffee professionals from around the world shared insights about fermentation, farming and exportation, and Ben from La Cabra spoke about sustainability at the small farm scale. A close friend of ours who came along for the ride produced this beautiful film for the specialty coffee publication Perfect Daily Grind, recapping the entire event here
We are looking forward to receiving a new shipment of Brazilian coffees in the start of 2018, and will keep you informed closer to the arrival date.