« Great Lakes Regional Barista Competition 2010

Brazil Fazenda Sao Domingos

imageWe are very proud to have 2 outstanding coffees from Brazil to offer you this week. They are an extremely limited edition so if you want to try some of the best coffee Brazil has to offer don’t miss this chance!

Alexandre’s Perfect Place

Alexandre Gonzaga has had something to do with almost all of the Brazilian coffee we’ve sourced over the last 10+ years. He’s a coffee farmer, agronomist, exporter, and all around nice guy. His farm in Jaboticatubas, Fazenda Vista Alegre, was the first in the world to use drip irrigation and pioneered the silo-aging process that contributes to the wonderfully complex flavors found in the beloved “Natural Dry” coffee.

Over the years, Alexandre has partnered with other farmers in Brazil who share his passion for quality coffee and have the potential to produce it. When Alexandre first arrived at Fazenda São Domingos in 2003, he spotted a plot of land with poorly managed coffee trees soaking up the morning sunshine. From his perspective, this plot, known as Engenho, had the perfect combination of factors to produce great coffee. This is the “perfect place to produce quality coffee,” he said (qualified with a humble smile), and the folks at São Domingos took his lead. The plot was replanted with new coffee trees, and the soil was restored to promote healthy production.

Seven years later, with the coffee trees in peak production, the Engenho plot produced a coffee that received one of our highest scores out of nearly 100 samples, tasted blind.

This lot was carefully managed by Flavio Batista, the gentleman responsible for São Domingos’ best coffees. It was hand-picked from Catucai variety trees at 1,100 meters above sea level, on an east-facing slope that receives bright, morning sunshine. It was then sorted according to ripeness, dried on Kenyan-style beds, and rested in a coffee house before milling.

The plot was named Engenho after an old sugar mill, but since Alexandre’s vision came to fruition, we prefer the other definition of the Portuguese word engenho - “ingenuity”.

The coffee from Alexandre’s “perfect place” delivers incredible depth and sweetness, full, buttery body, and flavors of custard and molasses.

Flavio’s Reserve

When we visited Fazenda São Domingos last October, Flavio Batista Faria (one of the managers of the farm) took us through a converted house where he stores his best coffees. Every room in the house except for the kitchen was filled with bags of very small lots of very high quality coffees. It was an exciting moment to say the least, especially since the bulk of Brazil’s coffee production is of generic quality and most farmers are interested in one thing – volume. It quickly became clear that owner Danilo de Castro and the folks at São Domingos have something else in mind.

The smell of perfectly dried naturals inside the house was incredible – big, heady aromas of cherries, clove, wine, pipe tobacco and cedar filled each room. We could only hope that these aromas would carry through to the cup, and after tasting dozens of samples in our lab in Milwaukee, we had some very exciting results.

Flavio’s Reserve is a blend of 4 tiny lots from 3 different plots within São Domingos – Serrinha, Serra de Araponga and Alto da Grama – which were chosen not only for their quality, but because they are a particularly lively expression of the unique flavors that come from this region and this style of processing.

The coffee was hand-picked from 6- to 10- year-old Bourbon and Catuai variety trees at the crests of the hills (1,100-1,200 meters above sea level) and sorted according to ripeness. The coffees from the final stage of ripeness (over-ripe, raisiny pods) were then pre-dried on raised Kenyan-style beds - an uncommon practice in Brazil - and transferred to the house to rest until they were ready for final drying, milling, sorting and export.

Flavio’s Reserve features a full, sweet, satisfying mouthfeel, subtle cherry-toned acidity and all of the aromas and flavors that we first smelled in the house. Enjoy!

These two amazing coffees will be our café special through March 21st and will be available online through March 18th. Don’t miss it!

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This entry was posted on March 11 2010 in the Coffee Special category.
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