Brazil – Carmo de Minas – Natural – Fazenda Santa Ines – Yellow Bourbon B20031
Yellow Bourbon is a program coffee formalized really after we took one of our first major leaps of paying a premium so far above the going rate for a Brazilian coffee in the 90s that it was kind of scary at the time. The quality was undeniable however back then. Those early days we tasted a distinct sweet chocolate orange in the cup that was unlike anything we had ever had from Brazil. We knew we had to have it and we knew the market wanted an elevated option from Brazil, so this program was built alongside our partners to meet that demand. These coffees are generally higher quality than standard Brazils, and traceable to a specific farm and variety. We cup for distinct fruit characteristics, sweet, mild nuttiness and chocolate flavors.
There is a social premium included in the purchase of these coffees that directly funds a charity called CriaCarmo, a youth initiative established by CarmoCoffees, our export partner in Carmo de Minas, that aims to provide social, educational, and athletic opportunities to at-risk youth in the region. Cafe Imports has supported this project since 2013 with owner-equity donations, and also partners with CarmoCoffees on one lot of coffee annually that is priced to benefit CriaCarmo. The youth who participate primarily come from the local coffee-producing families and enjoy karate, futbol, and chess lessons among other things.
Coffee growing in Carmo de Minas has been the business of the Pereira family since 1979. When the family started managing the 215-hectare farmland at Fazenda Santa Ines, it was already planted in coffee, but they opted to plant new varieties and update the work model in order to improve quality and productivity. At the time the family took over management at Santa Ines, the Carmo de Minas region was experiencing problems with quality. The family hired experts to help improve quality, they introduced new harvesting/processing techniques, and they also implemented the newest farm technology available. Since making these changes, the coffees from Santa Ines have stood out in regional and national contests: In 2005, a sample from Fazenda Santa Ines won first place in Cup of Excellence Brazil, with a world-record 95.85 score.
The farm is planted with Catucai, Yellow and Red Catuai, Yellow and Red Bourbon, and Acaia on about 100 hectares; the rest of the farmland is used for bananas, corn, and dairy cows. Annual coffee production is around 4,000 bags.
"In Carmo, soil and climatic conditions are favorable to the coffee. It is what French people call 'terroir,' and our region is doing its homework; we are on the right way. Now we can only expect better times," the family says.
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