About the coffee
Masterpieces Jací Anaerobic
This lot was processed using Daterra’s rather new Anaerobic honey process, where cherries are first depulped carefully in order to only remove the skin and retain 100% of mucilage, before being placed into sealed stainless steel tanks equipped with one-way valves. Similar to Daterra’s full cherry Carbonic Maceration process, when the coffee starts to ferment and CO2 is produced, lighter oxygen is pushed out of the top of the tank, creating an anaerobic environment. This creates an environment with a dominant enzymatic and lacto-bacterial fermentation in place of a yeast-driven fermentation. The coffee is then dried with mucilage still attached, as in a traditional honey. This creates a slightly fresher and more acidity forward interpretation of the Aramosa, with its floral and citrus varietal character slightly more prominent, alongside a heavy umami character and enhanced sugary sweetness.
Lemon zest, Jasmine and Honey
We are excited to share a new twist on a favourite from our friends at Daterra in Brazil. Daterra initially dubbed their innovative Semi-Carbonic Maceration Aramosa ‘Jací’ for the Brazilian goddess of the moon, whose tears were said to have fed the Amazon river. After its stunning debut in early 2018, we knew we had to continue our exploration of Daterra’s unique hybrid varietal. This is an example of Daterra’s continuing innovation, an anaerobic honey process of the Aramosa varietal. Aramosa is a cross between two species of coffee, the well known Arabica, and the incredibly rare Racemosa. Racemosa is a wild growing coffee species, native only to a small stretch of the East African coast around Mozambique. There are no known commercial plantations of Racemosa, as it has a very low yield and produces very small beans; about six Racemosa trees would produce the same as a single Arabica tree. However, the species is very hardy, having great disease and drought resistance, and importantly has a caffeine content of only 0.38%, compared to 1.2-1.8% in Arabica, meaning it qualifies as caffeine free. It was technical qualities that led Daterra to create this cross between the two species, but what they found were wild and exciting cup characteristics, with floral aromatics and incredible sweetness alongside the low caffeine content.
This is the fourth year we have bought coffees from Daterra, a small producing group in the Cerrado Mineiro region of Brazil. Nowadays, they are a boundary pushing producer of various levels of speciality coffees, but their story stretches all the way back to 1908, when they started as a small family business. A young couple emigrated to Brazil from Italy, and opened a small gourmet coffee shop, selling the beans they grew on their own small farm and educating other families on how to roast their green beans and sell them. All was not as easy as it sounded however, and after years of hardship attempting to make a living in the fledgling Brazilian coffee market, they decided they had to diversify their family business to survive. They opened a small gas station, and over the next half century, built a successful auto parts business. When it was time for Donato, the eldest son of the couple, to retire, he decided to reinvest in the industry that had sparked his parents’ passion so long ago. The year was 1976, and the foundations for what would become Daterra were set. Donato wanted to create a new and modern approach to Brazilian coffee agriculture, setting a template decades ahead of its time.
Daterra, meaning ‘from the earth’, was initially two small patches of land in Cerrado, the Boa Vista and Tabuoes farms. Much care was taken to preserve the native flora and fauna of the Cerrado region, one of the most biodiverse regions of Brazil, in an attempt to farm collaboratively with nature rather than trying to control it. All of this meant that as Daterra grew, they became the first Rainforest Alliance certified farm of any kind on Brazil, and were used by Andrea Illy to create the sustainable coffee farm model in 2008. This is something the current generation of the family are very proud of, alongside their coffee quality. They have pioneered new levels of quality control in Brazil, using modern agro-technology alongside ancient techniques to consistently create high quality lots.
The desert climate in Daterra slows down cherry maturation to a point that quality can be controlled during harvest. Every day during harvest small lots of coffee are picked and cupped from each micro-farm, along with soil samples and moisture levels. When a professional cupper decides that the plot is ready to be picked, the pickers return and harvest the whole plot. This allows very tight control of ripeness of cherries, and therefore sweetness in the final cup, across each small plot of the larger Daterra system. Recently they have also been experimenting with new varietals and processing methods in order to create extraordinary flavour experiences, while still maintaining their incredible level of consistency and quality control. This has led to international recognition, including a World Brewer’s Cup title in 2018 with a rare Laurina varietal processed using an experimental carbonic maceration process. It is some of these boundary pushing lots that we are excited to share with you over the coming weeks. We are proud to be working with such a trailblazing producer, providing a template for the future of the Brazilian coffee industry; both through directly supporting other producers and through changing consumer perceptions about the flavour potential of Brazilian coffees.
The coffee is first pulped mechanically, removing most of the fruit, as with a white honey process. The parchment coffee and almost gel-like mucilage are then packed tightly into a small fermentation tank, and sealed with almost no oxygen present. As the fermentation starts to occur, carbon dioxide is produced, creating a completely anaerobic environment, and also high pressure within the tank. This affects coffee flavour in two ways. An anaerobic environment favours a very different set of fermenting bacteria and yeast, leading to a dominant lacto-fermentation. The pressure also forces coffee juices into the seed itself, adding more fermentable sugars to continue the process. The coffee is then dried with the mucilage still attached, as with a honey processed coffee. All of this adds layers of complexity to the final cup.
About La Cabra
A focus on raw material
If we don’t feel that a coffee suits our style or what we like to present, we simply won’t buy it. Sometimes this leads to issues in green buying; we have to pay very close attention, to a level of green quality that will support this approach, and to how this will develop over the life of a coffee. We are required to focus heavily on the freshness of coffee, both green and roasted, to avoid introducing taints into our cups. We always use clean and fresh water, of an ideal mineral content to present the coffee in its best possible light. Once we have the correct roasting profile, water, and coffee age, the act of brewing is much more simple. A wide variance in brewing parameters can still produce delicious and transparent cups. It is also important to note that this is not always the most consistent approach. The coffee is laid completely bare, so any flaw with the raw material is clearly on show. We could often develop some coffees slightly more, to make them more approachable or easy to work with, but wavering from our philosophy like this would compromise our commitment to complete transparency in coffee.Read more