Brazil: New Crop Poço Fundo (Almost) Here!
I got an email from Mr. Luis Aduato de Oliveira yesterday afternoon. He had some good news and some bad news: the good news was that he was ready to send me some pre-shipment samples. The bad news was that he’d lost my address. No biggie, I told him, that’s some damn fine news. I sent him my address, now he’s sending me samples.
I’m just happy that somewhere between my spanish, his portuguese, and our shared love of great coffee we’ve been able to spend a week together hiking around the mountains of Sul de Minas, Brazil, meeting a handful of the members of his cooperative, COOPFAM, and getting to know a little bit more about the reality of life as a family farmer in the town of Poço Fundo, Brazil.
And sourcing some great coffee too, of course.
Finally, though the wait is not quite over, I’ve got samples from the recent harvest on their way. Thank you DHL, UPS, FedEx, whoever you are. Please hurry up.
I generally consider myself a pretty patient person, and I am mostly. I’m usually pretty good at allowing for the 4-6 months between harvest and arrival of a coffee, the once a year chance to experiment with a quality improvement idea, and the often slow-pace that’s part of the deal when working with coffee farmers. But we all have our moments. I’ll be honest, I’m having one right now.
Poço Fundo is an exciting coffee. It’s a natural, which to me means that there’s huge potential for something that will totally stun you, my dear coffee drinker. More potential for sweetness, more potential for character, more potential for complexity. And we’re hot on the trail—the samples that Aduato is sending represent different lots produced at various altitudes and of various varietals (Mundo Novo, Yellow and Red Catui). We’ve fine-tuned our understanding of what ripeness really is using a refractometer to measure sugar brix (stealing a trick from the wine industry) and we’ve fine-tuned our understanding of the right drying times to maximize absorption of sugar by the mean without producing any of the off flavors associated with fermentation. Now there are a bunch of microlots, representing the culmination of these experiments. From these lots we’ll either pick our favorite, or our favorite few and create a blend of them. And I tell you what: we’re going to roast those coffees as soon as they get it. Well slow down then, and take a long time going through each sample. Probably until we’ve brewed every last bean. But as soon as we’re finished with that, I’m getting on the horn to Brazil. Aduato and I are going to press the button that turns the light green, to get those coffees on the water, and on their way here. Stay tuned for news about the arrival and upcoming launch of our new single origin Brazil. Here’s a photo of the cherries that are now the beans that are soon to by yours!