Organic Brazilian Maria Branca
Organic Brazilian Maria Branca Estate One Roast, Natural
Please note, organic coffees are roasted on Wednesday.
You may remember that back in the Autumn of ’22 we had a visit from Jose and Jacqueline. I wrote a very short piece about the challenges of producing Organic coffee there. Against adversity, they have delivered some fantastic coffee. I am not going to call a favourite organic Brazil this year as it would be personal with two farms. We are all friends at the moment too.
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. If time and itinerary allow I will be dropping in, in June.
As intended by Jose and Jacqueline, this will be roasted as organic, to reflect on their hard work and investment.
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
Roast: Cool dropped and medium filter, completely extractable as espresso, but an outstanding filter.
|Aromatics: Sweet and spice| Body: Silky| Acidity soft, sweet, ripe acidity|
How great is this? Cupping Jose’ and Jacqueline’s new crop Organic Maria Branca! On the nose this just says (to me) sweetness with a layer of spice or savoury depth. On the first visit, Maria Branca is soft and sweet with the lightest touch of white fruit sugars. Literally, a few moments later, there is the ripeness of fruit that sits somewhere between blueberry and liquorice, with the most delicate acidity. Eventually, there is a hint of chocolate, but this is all about the sweetness and those soft ripe fruit sugars. On cooling, this is a bit like botanical cola, with ripe, brown sugars that are incredibly sweet and long.
In filter, we are brewing this at 60-65g per litre.
Due to what espresso does, this is juicy complex and ripe with a touch of bright apple on the finish. If you want more body and less acidity, I would crank things up to 96 or 7C and don’t be afraid to stretch those shots to 60g+
In milk-based drinks, this was a big surprise. When the coffee was really fresh it was like Maltesers in milk. After a good rest (10 days+) We had ripe, boozy blue sugary fruits in a 9oz cup (as big as we like to venture).
The 6oz just wasn’t better. There was a rye-like flavour, that was out of place that just didn’t show up anywhere else in this coffee. It wasn’t a weak cup either. With more time, I need to revisit this oddity and see how to approach it differently. Watch this space.
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 about 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.