News from the shops
South America Season - Brazil Serra Do Cabral
Coffee is, like most crops, seasonal. Around the world, the different growing regions come into season at different times of the year. The crop is picked when ripe, processed and shipped and arrives in the UK around 4-8 months later. This means that throughout the year we have coffees arriving from different parts of the world and right now, we’re coming into South America season.
This means that from February to April we’ll have some excellent coffees from one of the most famous coffee growing countries in the world like Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and perhaps Peru and Bolivia too.
Brazil is the highest producer of coffee in the world by quite a distance and it plays a huge part in its economic growth and development. Coffee farming in Brazil is highly developed and often mechanised, with coffee cherries being strip picked by machinery. Great swathes of coffee is grown in large farms out in the sunshine so often, even speciality grade Brazilian coffees often don’t have the same nuances and subtleties that you might find in coffees from other origins (where shade growing and hand picking is the norm).
Brazilian Coffee Growing in the sun
So, when we find a coffee like our Serra do Cabral, we get very excited indeed. Ecoagricola Serra do Cabral is a new farm for us in Brazil with a great backstory, an innovative approach to production and some great coffees like this Yellow Catucai natural.
The farm is managed by brothers Marcelo and Roberto Flanzer who took over the farm in the Serra do Cabral region of Minas Gerais from their father Henrique in the year 2000. Henrique had run the estate as a forestry business since the 1970’s and there was no history or precedent of coffee production in Serra do Cabral. The brothers themselves had no background in coffee but decided to invest their time, money, passion and skills as engineers and businessmen into turning Ecoagricola into a coffee plantation.
Roberto, Henrique & Marcelo Flanzer
Ten years later the farm is producing some of the most interesting and complex coffees coming out of Brazil at the moment; Ecoagricola was a Cup of Excellence winner in both natural and pulp natural categories in 2017.
Natural Processing Coffee at Serra do Cabral
The brothers have a developed an intriguing irrigation system for the farm known as ‘pivot irrigation’ where crops are planted outwards in a crop circle like formation from a central pivoted irrigation system. This pivot system uses a lot less water than more traditional irrigation systems and also gives the farm a unique look and feel.
The Pivot Irrigation System
Sustainability has driven most of the brothers decisions and was a precedent Henrique set when the farm was a forestry with vast tracts of the forest remaining untouched to this day. The name Ecoagricola simply means eco-agriculture and sums up the Flanzer families approach to their farm. This approach alongside diligent and modern processing styles makes Ecoagricola our new favourite Brazilian coffee.
Spring-filled Reservoir used for irrigation on the farm
This is a lovely, complex natural process with a soft pear-like acidity, cinnamon flavours and a classic dark chocolate aftertaste. Brazilian coffees always seem to make good espressos and pair well with milk and this is no exception. Brew this as a simple 2:1 espresso, so 18g of coffee for 36g of espresso and you’ll get all the dark choc and cinnamon mouthfeel with that sweet pear acidity, that makes a lovely creamy, dessert-like coffee when served with steamed milk.
This coffee is complex enough to stand up as a filter as well, pourover and cafetieres both produce nice cups that lean more toward the fruity notes.