Earlier this year we spoke to Merito Coffee while in search of coffees for our Fifteen Shades of South America project. As we've come to expect, we were treated to enough options to make choosing one a challenge. We just so happened to settle upon a Brazillian offering.
While making our way through our personal assortment of Shades, Shade 11 jumped out to us in an unexpected way. So impressed by the profile of said coffee, we got in touch with Merito once again, this time to share more of the story, our June Collaboration. The perfect opportunity to explore a regional lot alongside a freshly penned blog of the same subject.
Cascavel Vermelha is a blend coffees selected from multiple regions across Brazil for their fruity flavours, resulting in a pulpy juicy coffee in the cup. Sourced by Sucafina, this coffee is part of a whole harvest purchasing model, where the buyer (Sucafina) purchases the entire harvest from a producer, as opposed to just the beans that fit their target market (often the high quality or specialty beans). An approach that provides benefits to both producers and buyers alike.
Even the best farmers produce a certain volume of coffee across all grades, so this purchasing model ensures they aren’t left to try to find a market for the less desirable grades of coffee.
The benefit to buyers is protection of brand for repeat purchasers down the value chain, something that equally benefits farmers. High quality micro lots are often sold with the prestige of the farm (in this case a Fazenda in Brazilian Portuguese) behind it, without the risk of other buyers of lesser quality coffees capitalising on the name. Makes you think, how many times have you purchased as coffee because you recognised the farm name from previous harvests or social media fame and it was everything you hoped it would be?
Economy of scale
It’s well known to most that Brazil is the powerhouse of coffee production on a global scale, holding the number 1 spot for production, for some 150 years. This begs the question, how and when did coffee arrive?
The commonly accepted story is that in 1727 Portuguese Lt Col. Francisco del Melo Palheta seduced the wife of the French Guiana governor in an effort to gain her assistance in getting coffee seeds across the border, allegedly coffee cuttings forming a component of a bouquet of flowers.
For the next 70 years Brazils’ coffee remained largely consumed by European colonials until its global demandsaw Brazils’ coffee become an exportable commodityaround the turn of the century.
Within 100 years of its introduction, Brazil saw itself producing 30% of the worlds coffee, a market share that would near triple within the next 100 years as a result of devastation caused to asian and central American crops during a disease outbreak in the latter part of the 19th century. In the face of other producing nations recovering from the devastation, Brazil while losing market share, has remained a linchpin of global coffee production, with over 50 million bags produced per year, of which approx 80 percent is Arabica.
While there are many standard processes and practices for sorting and categorising coffee post harvest, these can vary from country to country, depending upon many factors including tradition and government imposed regulations.
Leading the world in a growing (no pun intended) commodity,saw Brazilian Emperor Dom Pedro II sign off on the worlds first coffee regulation in 1836, evaluating beans on what are now known as defects.
These protocols evolved organically and became more widespread across Brazil before eventually becoming the national protocol “Classificacao Oficial Brasileira” or COB in 2002.
Other aspects of Brazils’ coffee production infancy have become engrained in the modern industry. Evaluation of beans by a standardised cupping protocol was introduced at a harbour warehouse level in 1910 with coffee being sold based on its cup score becoming commonplace Just 7 years later. Other throwbacks to this era and locale is beans baring the name of the harbour in which they were exported,a common example in use today is Brazil Santos.
Farm size: 7.5ha (average)
Altitude: 800 – 1100 M.A.S.L
Tasting Notes: Nectarine