||Brazil Biodynamic Fazenda Terramater Pulped Natural 2009-2010
||Chapada Diamantina, Bahia
||Typica and National varietals
This year, I have set myself three goals. One of them is to do more direct trade in exclusive coffees from producers with whom we create and maintain a relationship. With that in mind, this coffee is one of the first of a flurry from my trip to Brazil last November. So a direct trade (tick) and an exclusive for the UK (tick).
This farm is located in the Chapada Diamantina region which is half way between the Equator and the Tropic of Capricorn. With an altitude ranging from 1,050 to 1,200 meters it provides the ideal microclimate for coffee farming. The Chapada Diamantina region is the largest biodynamic coffee producing region in Brazil with over 600 workers and their families involved in this form of agriculture.
Biodynamic agriculture is the oldest consciously organic approach to farming and gardening and is one of the most sustainable in existence. It is founded on a holistic and spiritual understanding of nature and the human being and builds on the pioneering research work of Rudolf Steiner. Has Bean is the first (and at the time of writing, only) Certified Biodynamic Roaster in the UK.
I'm going to give you my Has Bean Steve summary of what biodynamic is in one short sentence. Biodynamic means the farmer gives a stuff about the farm, the land, the animals on the farm and the people that live and work on it. Like the sound of it ? Yes, me too, and that's why we are involved at the ground level. Ignore the hooky cooky stuff you may have heard about it and remember this - as long as growers follow the good principles of biodynamics then that's good for the cup, the environment and everyone involved.
This was the very last farm visited during my trip to Bahia in November 2009, whilst on my way back to the airport in fact. Lucca my guide and one of the leaders of the group of farmers, was not overly keen to show it to me. He kept saying that it was a very different farm; unusual. Upon arrival, I was greeted by two lovely big dogs (Hugo Chavez and Che Guevara), the most amazing family home and a quirky but very relaxing place to be. A ponytailed older guy came out and the first thing he asked was "Americano"? He then went into a rant, and the only words I could really pick out were George Bush. The man turned out to be Adeodato Menezes, the farmer at Fazenda Terramater.
Adeodato took us around the farm, which was most bizarre but a strangely interesting place. He is firmly of the mind set that biodynamic farming is everything that he wants to do. By following biodynamic principles, he has reduced a healthy yield of nearly 200 bags to just 8 bags, an amount that is simply not sustainable. Adeodato's blind belief in this method of farming is even more amazing when you understand that he is a scientist with a degree in agricultural engineering. He refuses to use any external fertilisers apart from the branches, leaves and fauna that fall to the ground from the surrounding plants. I have never, ever seen so much shade and so many trees. Adeodato explained that there are lots of birds and animals in the area and if he cut down the trees there would be nowhere else for this wildlife to go.
We were not shown a sample of this crop by the farming co-op on the trip because they thought I wouldn't want to see it, but after our visit to the farm, I moaned and groaned at them for the remaining two hours of the journey to the airport, so they finally conceded and sent one. Cupped blind on a table of 6 Brazillians, I will tell you it wasn't the best, but it was a very admirable 3rd. I think, with a little work alongside the producer, this one has the ability to make a really special cup. It also brought a whole heap of difference to the cupping table. It's not your typical Brazillian.
In the cup there is a woody/piney front end. Now is this as a result of the food available to the plants, or is it to do with the vareital 'National' in which I have found this attribute in the past? It then has a chewy toffee note with that chew-like sweetness. It finishes on the mashed up pine cone with which it began. Running all the way through it is an acidity that's as tiny as tiny as can be; it is there, just delicately.
Farm: Fazenda Terramater
Farmer: Adeodato Menezes
Farm Size: <not known>Hectares
Coffee growing area:<not known> Hectares
Altitude: <not know>masl
Varietal: Typica and National
Processing System: Pulped Natural
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