||Brazil Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama Natural Canario 2020
This farm and its coffee sparked a massive change in what I thought I knew about coffee. I remember the first time I ever cupped this coffee: time stood still as the cup opened my mind to what great coffee is and can be. Gabriel de Carvalho Dias, the farmer, continues to produce great coffee year on year, and this coffee still holds a very special place in my heart.
Gabriel is one of Brazil’s leading agronomists. His family owns several farms, all of which border one another. Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama is 417 hectares in size – that’s 4 square kilometres! That sounds huge, but it’s not uncommon for farms to be more than 1,000 hectares.
Because of the mountainous terrain, however, only 64 hectares are planted with coffee, and it's all picked and maintained by hand. The mill is located close to the spa town of Poços de Caldas, which is 45 minutes away from the farm.
Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama has been in the Carvalho Dias family since 1890. It's located in São Paolo state, just three miles from the border with Minas Gerais state. It enjoys the typical characteristics of the mountainous Mogiana and Sul de Minas regions, and it's located at an altitude of 1,100–1,250 metres above sea level.
Their farm has a school, a club and a full-sized soccer field for the employees and workers, and 47 houses – all with modern facilities. The wastewater is treated in order to avoid polluting the stream that runs across the farm. The farm has a small hydroelectric plant, and the farmers only buy energy during the peak harvest.
As well as providing support to the workers, the family have also invested in the farm's coffee processing facilities. This has allowed them to produce one of the most consistent and delicious coffees. They grow mostly Yellow Bourbon, but also Canario and Mundo Novo. It's well-established plant stock, and some of the original Bourbon varietal trees are as much as 108 years old.
They’ve also invested in trying new things, including planting some new varietals and trialling new fermentation experiments with the involvement of experts from the University of Lavras (UFLA) in Minas Gerais.
The Carvalho Dias family consider social and environmental sustainability to be very important. The farm has a programme of planting native species of trees to maintain a better ecological balance.
This coffee is processed as a Natural. The ripe fruit is dried in the sun before the green bean is removed from the fruit.
This comes from the rare Canario varietal, which is a Bourbon mutation that originated in Brazil. You can find out more about it here, but what you will notice in the cup is that it adds complexity and acidity compared to Bourbon.
There's lots in common with the Pulped Natural Bourbon here, but the flavours are a little darker. It's cocoa nibs mixed in with Brazil nuts, all wrapped up in silky walnut oil. It finishes with dark chocolate, which hangs on into the aftertaste.
State: São Paulo
Municipality: São Sebastião da Grama
Farm: Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama
Producers: Lidolpho de Carvalho Dias and family
Altitude: 1,100–1,250 m.a.s.l.
Cocoa nibs, Brazil nut, walnut oil, dark chocolate
Clean cup: (1–8): 6
Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
Acidity: (1–8): 6
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6.5
Balance: (1–8): 6.5
Overall: (1–8): 6.5
Correction (+36): +36
Total (max. 100): 87
Medium-dark – through first and develop it through the gap, but drop just as you approach second to emphasise the body.
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