I can’t tell you how excited I am to be able to offer you, Maria Branca, this season. We know just how hard our producers work to deliver great coffee, but it is really special when one of our producers has an incredible harvest, that is beyond our expectations. Jose and Jacqueline work with our mutual friend Cassio Franco Moriera, who is also a passionate organic advocate and our supplier too. He has consulted with José and Jacqueline since the beginning of the journey, turning Maria Branca into an organic coffee farm. The results are outstanding this season. I believe this is our best Brazil this harvest. In a post-Covid world, I plan to spend some more time at Maria Branca if we are not visited first!
Farm: Maria Branca
Owners: José and Jacqueline Lopes de Faria
Region: Esperito de Santo de Pinhal
Farm size 35 Hectares/ 15 Hectares planted with coffee.
Varietals: Catucaí amarelo (main), Icatu and Mundo Novo
Certification (Organic) when roasted as…
Roast: Cool dropped and medium filter, completely extractable as espresso, but an outstanding filter.
|Aromatics: Sweet Chocolate & tropical fruits| Body: Silky| Acidity Low, ripe and sweet. In espresso a little apple|
On opening, in a cupping bowl, this is intensely sweet. The acidity is soft, sweet, and ripe with milk chocolate and a silky body. Think Lychee and blueberry. On cooling the coffee becomes riper, more tropical and seductively sweet. This is our favourite Brazil of the 2020 harvest, maybe the best thing that happened in 2020?
In filter, we are brewing this at 60-65g per litre.
This is juicy complex and ripe with a touch of bright apple on the finish. In milk-based drinks, this is malty, caramel and all of the lactic sugars. A perfect coffee right now. We have been getting great results with Maria Branca using the normal ratios, but extracting longer, due to the light roast. Potentially a target of 28-36 seconds at 93C if you can.
Maria Branca is a labour of love in more than the usual way. Owned and run by a highly accomplished medical couple (we are talking a professor (Jose) and his wife (Jacqueline) is a famous optometrist) who both thought it would be interesting to have a coffee farm. When we visited in the summer of 2019, I don’t think I have ever seen a farm run like it. Jose is very accepting of what nature does and replants and regrows things in a different way that can work. I don’t mean this in a negative way at all, but when you want to run a farm and you will still get by if the farm doesn’t make a (big) profit there is a different outlook from many of our other producers, whos everything is solely dependent on coffee income. Organic is at the heart of what they do and believes in.
On the farm a number of other organic crops are grown, everything is organic. The bananas were some of the best I have ever tasted, and that’s before we talk about the coffee.
We had such a great evening when we visited and they made their coffee beautifully in pour-overs again and again. It was so good and a truly idyllic place.