Praline, chocolate, vanilla
Serra da Mantequeira
1.100 – 1.300 masl.
Mantiqueira Mountains coffee has been produced by smallholders in the town of Carmo de Minas, in the Mantiqueira mountain range, in the state of Minas Gerais. This town is located in the southeast of Brazil, about four hours by car from Rio de Janeiro.
The farms of the small producers that make up this coffee are at an altitude of between 1,100 and 1,300 meters above sea level and have volcanic terroir. These conditions, together with a favorable climate, make this place ideal for growing specialty coffees. The variety chosen to plant in these conditions has been Yellow Bourbon and the post-harvest process a Pulped Natural. The result is a balanced and full-bodied coffee.
Brazil: a constantly evolving coffee tradition
Brazil is known worldwide for its coffee production. In the Mantiqueira mountain range, coffee has been grown for over a hundred years on the mountain slopes. This region received the recognition of “Geographical Indication” for the quality and unique characteristics of its coffees in 2011.
Many coffee farmers in Brazil, especially those small producers who are located in areas that are ideal for growing specialty coffee, are making an effort to focus more on quality than quantity.
To do this, they are investing time and resources in all processes, from the coffee tree to the way the coffee is processed. This, together with ideal conditions for cultivation, as in the Carmo de Minas region, results in very balanced coffees.
Cooperative coffees versus large estates
Many of the small producers in Brazil are grouped around cooperatives. Cooperatives offer a legal instrument for representation and finances that allows them to have more control over their productions and access financing.
This, in turn, allows them to invest in technical and human development, which translates into greater attention and care in production. As a consequence the coffees are of better quality, which also means a higher price, which has a direct impact on better living conditions for coffee farmers.
This is a big step, since in Brazil a large number of coffee plantations are large estates whose purpose is to lower costs and produce low-quality coffee for commercial use.
Cooperatives offer the possibility for small producers to group together and not have to sell their better quality coffees at low prices to large companies.
The coffee growers of this lot are grouped in the Cocarive cooperative, which is part of a trend in Brazil focused on improving quality over quantity.
A coffee from Brazil treated with the Pulped Natural process
All coffee, once harvested, has to be processed. With the process we refer to the way in which the coffee seeds, which are inside the cherry, are separated from it and dried.
There are different types of processes, the natural, washed and honey processes are the most common. But there are many more that vary these three standard processes to achieve different results. This is the case of a Pulped Natural coffee.
A Natural Pulped coffee means that, once the cherries have been picked at their optimum point of ripeness, they are pulped to remove the skin, but leaving the mucilage and part of the pulp. Then they are put to dry in the sun on dry pavements.
The result is a coffee between a natural process and a washed process. The washed process removes all the skin and pulp before drying the seeds and the natural one leaves the seeds to dry in the cherry and they are separated afterwards.
The Pulped Natural process causes the sugars present in the pulp and mucilage to pass into the seed. The result is a balanced coffee, with a complex sweetness and tasting notes of praline, chocolate and vanilla.