Frank Sinatra sang, "They grow an awful lot of coffee in Brazil." It is unquestionably true; it's the largest producer of arabica coffee and not a small amount of robusta too. Brazilian coffee is nutty, sweet, low in acidity and develops exceptional bittersweet and chocolate roast tastes. There's a long tradition of roasting Brazil in the United States. Brazil is roasted and sold as a single-origin coffee -- by region, cooperative or Fazenda -- but it is often used in blends for the sake of cost control. Brazil coffees are common in espresso, both in high-end blends and in commercial coffees like Dunkin Donuts. Even the broken fragments of beans and the dust from the dry mills is sold, ending up in some awful coffee product somewhere, most likely instant.
This is a special micro-lot that scored as the top natural in a cupping competition. Fazenda Monte Verde has won awards for both pulped natural and dry-processed coffees, including first place for this dry-process lot in the Cocarive Competition. The farm is the property of Jose Roberto Canato and his family. The farm is 600 hectares with 140 dedicated to coffee, and much of the farm is maintained in a natural state, with many freshwater springs supplying water for the crops and the natural environment as well. Fazenda Monte Verde is situated at 1260 meters, and they have a variety of coffee cultivars; this lot is Yellow Bourbon. This is one of the nicest Brazil dry-processed coffees I have tasted in a long time.
This dry process Brazilian coffee is laden with dark fruited notes and with an intense sweetness all the way through to the finish. The ground coffee has Concord grape and melon, along with a note of cola nut. There are complex sugars as well, and a scent of dark caramel prevails in deeper roasts. Adding hot water brings up raw sugar in the aroma and a fruitiness that I'd liken to pie filling. Pie fruits like wild blueberry, rhubarb, and plum come to mind - so sweet and saturated. The cup is very juicy, and with notes of black cherry and grape, turning more to stone fruit as the cup cools. There's a tartness to the acidity that is like huckleberries, or even coffee cherry skin. Dark roasts have a waxy chocolate mouthfeel, and with notes of fig, Monnuka raisin, and tamarind. This coffee finishes sweet, and the weight of the liquor allows this quality to hang around in the mouth long after the sip. This coffee's profile is loaded with fruit complexity, and along with the developed sweetness and mouthfeel, will make a great single origin espresso as well.
At the foot of the Serra da Mantiqueira, Fazenda Kaquend has a 200-year-old tradition of coffee production. The farm is owned by Jose Wagner Ribeiro Junqueira and his wife Margarida, and their sons Kleber, Ralph and Herbert. Kaquend has won too many awards to list, including the #1 spot in the Cup of Excellence. This microlot is a pulp-natural process (cereja decascada) from this 45 acre farm with an altitude of 1100 to 1450 meters, and produced by his son Kleber. They have Yellow Bourbon, Acaia, Yellow Catuai, and Catuai varietals planted, but this particular lot is Yellow Bourbon. Keep an eye on this coffee when roasting. The beans will start to fracture a ways before any audible snap. I think I pulled our City+ roast a little past the 1 minute mark from the beginning of the first audible snaps.
This is definitely one of the better Brazil's we've seen this year. The dry grounds smell of malted caramel, with a grain sweetness like caraway or pumpernickel. Dark roasts show toasted sugar, molasses, and orange peel zest. Hot water boosts the sweetness in the aromatics with lightly caramelized sugars, dark fruits, chocolate nut, and vanilla bean. If you take this coffee closer to a Full City roast, you may find that the wet grounds have a "brawny" aroma - almost on the fatty side of things, but replete with deep sweetness. The cup is very nice and with a surprisingly clear finish. Sweet grains are definitely front and center in the cup with toasted sesame seeds, malted barley, and a note of gen ma cha tea. The coffee has a silky mouthfeel, full body, and with a pleasing touch of raw honey. Dark roasts have chocolate roast tones, burnt sugar, and a smell of pecan pie. This coffee has a clean finish, with a note of orange pekoe tea. It's nice to have a Brazil with such complexity, and the profile transfers nicely as a single origin espresso too.
This coffee is from Carmo de Minas region, Fazenda São Benedito, adjacent to the large farm we have bought many times, that of Nazareth Dias Pereira. The coffee is grown at 1130 meters, and this lot is a mix of cultivars with the majority being Yellow Bourbon. It is processed using the Pulp Natural method. While there are other areas in Brazil that produce some fine coffees in respect to the classic Brazil flavor profile, I feel we have found consistently good lots in the Carmo zone. Here there is a bit more altitude than most of the Cerrado coffees, and certainly more than Mogiana farms. The cultivars are generally the same as the other zones, but I feel the processing, while still on a large scale, has a good quality focus. And I really like how these coffees perform in espresso.
The dry fragrance has cocoa powder, dark honey, with semi-sweet chocolate dominating the darker roast levels, and a hint of savory red miso. The wet aroma has more sweetness, with hazelnut, honey and a hint of dried banana in the light roast. Full City level has malted milk chocolate and less obvious sweetness but a very balanced roast tone. The cup flavors fall right in line with the aromatics. More developed roast levels have that classic chocolate roast taste, with some sweet caramel nougat notes and a hint of fruit peeking out. This roast level, Full City to Full City+, works really well for espresso and the low acidity levels produce a greatly balanced shot, or work as a great backdrop/base coffee for an espresso blend. Lighter roast levels have less thickness to the mouthfeel, but have a nice nut-honey character. There are suggestions of peach and pineapple as the cup cools.