We have a bit of a love affair going with Brazil at Te Aro. Besides the nice beaches, good-looking models, smooth beer, and great soccer, Brazil grows really, really, really good coffee beans. We’ve just received shipments of our favourites, from Fazenda Cachoeira De Grama and Fazenda Delarisse, causing much jubilation and excitement around here. We’re all quivering with anticipation to get roasting these amazing coffees and share them with you. Once you try them, you’ll understand.
Both of these coffees have come to us through direct trade. One of the best parts about our business growing is our increasing ability to deepen and widen our direct trade model. That means we can take more trips to warm and sunny places, visit lush green expanses of mountainous farmland, and, most importantly build solid, long-lasting, mutually beneficial friendships with the wonderful people who grow our green beans. For those of you who eagerly follow all our activities over here (which we know is most of you, of course), you may remember Andy’s adventure down to Brazil last spring. He was able to spend some quality time at both of these farms and establish direct trade relationships with their dedicated owners.
And now, let us introduce you to these beautiful beans:
Fazenda Delarisse Chapadão de Ferro
This is Te Aro’s very own micro-lot. Yes, that means it is exclusively ours, and that also means when you have a cup at the café or at home, you’re one of the select few (in the world!) who gets the pleasure of experiencing this bean. We did up a single-origin espresso with this stunning coffee for the Central Regional Barista Competition last year, and it took us all the way to Nationals.
Fazenda Delarisse is in the Cerrado region of Brazil, one of the most bio-diverse regions on the planet. Fazenda Delarisse is owned by Ruvaldo Delarisse, who’s family founded the farm in 1977. Ruvaldo is a mechanical engineer who has brought that expertise to his coffee growing, employing incredibly efficient mechanical pickers (one of which he even let Andy ride along the tree-tops, a dream he never even knew he had until that moment).
The farm is situated on the legendary Chapadão de Ferro, or “Plains of Iron,” 1250 meters above sea level and inside the crater of a volcano. With that kind of location you know you’re going to get some pretty special characteristics. The crater is its own little micro-climate, and the coffee grows from iron-rich volcanic soil, producing a delicate cup with exceptional clarity, highlighting notes of toffee and stewed tropical fruit.
Ruvaldo is unflagging in his commitment to quality and is eager to hear feedback from roasters. This is our second year buying a micro-lot from Fazenda Delarisse, and we’re looking forward to many more.
Fazenda Cachoeira De Grama
Andy actually met Gabriel de Carvalho Dias, owner of Fazenda Cachoeira De Grama, right here in Toronto while he was setting up a roastery in Oakville (he still spends a lot of time in Toronto while his son is going to university here). Gabriel is the inheritor of a long tradition of coffee farmers; the Carvalho Dias family has been working the land of Fazenda Cachoeira De Grama since 1890. Some of the bourbon varietal trees are originals from the farms inception over 100 years ago. When Andy went down to Brazil, Gabriel Andy on all sorts of coffee adventures from picking cherries with the farmers to assisting in processing the beans to graciously hosting him for dinner on his farm.
The 417 hectares of Fazenda Cachoeira De Grama are located in the mountainous Mogiana and Sul de Minas regions, about 4 hours drive from Sao Paolo, and is located at an altitude of 1,100-1,250 metres. Because its hilly terrain doesn’t accommodate much machinery, all operations are totally manual.
The hand-harvested coffee is picked with the utmost care to avoid the beans having any contact with the soil. They are then washed and set outside to dry in attentively monitored conditions.
The Carvalho Dias family is strongly committed to social and environmental sustainability. The farm is careful to plant native species to maintain ecological balance. There houses, all with modern facilities, for employees, as well as a school, club and soccer field. They are careful to prevent pollution of the streams, and the farm has a small hydroelectric plant and only buys energy during the peak harvest. This is a farm we can feel great about supporting, for its quality product and its responsible, conscious operation. Not to mention, the sweet chocolate caramel you’ll taste in the cup will melt your heart.
Are you sufficiently pumped for your new favourite coffees? Just a few more sleeps until these beans hit the shelves!