||Brazil Biodynamic Fazenda Terramater Pulped Natural Forest Special 2011
||Typica & Natural Varietals, Pulped Natural Me
Back for a second year, we are so lucky to have a world exclusive of this farm's coffee. Part of our direct trade relationships in Bahia, Brazil, this farm was on its knees when we visited last year.
Owned by Adeodato Meneze, who has been the custodian of this unique farm since the 1980s, it's not your normal specialty coffee farm, in fact I don't think I've been anywhere more different to the norm.
It has a production of just 8 bags, not because it wasn't possible to produce more (in its heyday this farm produced over 200 bags), but as a result of the farm being disorganised and without a market to sell it to, and no motivation. Another factor was Adeodato's blind belief in biodynamic farming which has the biggest effect on yield I have ever seen. He refuses to use any external fertilisers apart from the branches, leaves and fauna that fall to the ground from the surrounding plants. There is 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. A very clever man, with a degree in agricultural engineering, he spent much of his working life as a scientist. He is also very passionate about biodynamic farming and organic practices. The two must constantly be at odds with each other.
In November 2009 this was the very last farm visited during my trip to Bahia, in fact it was whilst I was on my way back to the airport. Luca, 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 and unusual, but that was a red flag for me to want to see it even more.
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 pony-tailed 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. He was a bit cautious of me, and I think many visitors have passed through without following up. I enjoyed the visit but for such a relaxing place, I felt a little uneasy, nothing I could put my finger on, but uptight.
This year's visit could not have been more different. I felt so at home, Adeodato's wife had cooked us the biggest meal I had ever seen. We chatted (I have some great photos of us chatting and I don't speak Portuguese whilst he doesn't speak English, but we are deep in conversation). A brilliant visit and one of the highlights of the week for me.
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 metres 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 kooky 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.
On the first visit I asked Adeodato about some plants that were in the forest where there were loads of pine cones on the floor. Luca translated for me, and Adeodato looked at me like I was crazy and said he didn't know. On this trip he was most excited to show me the four bags he had picked from the forest section of the farm and kept separate for me. So excited to cup it to see if it was different. It's every so slight but the woody piney is highlighted, there is a bigger body and that tiny acidity is made even smaller.
A great way to see how what the soil gets fed makes its way into the cup and certainly has an influence.
Farm: Fazenda Terramater
Farmer: Adeodato Menezes
City: Chapada Diamantina
Farm Size: 20 Hectares
Coffee growing area: 9 Hectares
Altitude: 1100 masl
Varietal: Typica and National
Processing System: Pulped Natural
Roast as second crack starts then stop, don't take it any where near oils.
"Quick Look" Guide:
Woody, pine, big body, bold, increased acidity from normal lot.
Good Filter: Yes, Good Espresso: Yes
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