Every trip to a coffee producing country is unique. My 2015 visit to Brazil was spent tasting hundreds of different coffees, and covering a lot of ground. We tasted coffees every day, in every place that we visited. I was very grateful to taste so many different coffees from Brazil, and see so much of the countryside. At times I was certainly on the fringes of caffeine overload.
I arrived in Sao Paulo, Brazil, met up with the crew, piled in our Fiat rental, and headed off to taste coffees. Our first stop was Santo Antonio Estates and the AFASA coffee group. "You're in Brazil! Let's taste coffees!" was basically what transpired. After traveling for 18 hours I was very grateful to have some great coffees ready when I got there.
Our first two days in Brazil we tasted coffees produced by the AFASA group. They are a community of growers that work together to grow some amazing coffees. We had the privilege of being their deciding panel for a coffee growing contest! In the photo above is the award ceremony and Feijoada (a Brazilian Chili essentially) party.
The way coffee is grown and processed in Brazil is a bit different from what is done in other parts of the world. In Brazil, they have coffee growing in flat fields as opposed to mountains, which allows them to mechanically harvest coffee. This has made Brazil's coffee growing extremely efficient. Pictured above is a mechanical harvester unique to very few coffee producing countries. It eliminates the need for hand picking by driving through the rows of planted coffee and picking the cherries.
After the coffee has been harvested, it is taken to be pulped. The image above to the left is a aqua pulper, which takes the fruit of the cherry off of the coffee beans. Ounce the coffee has been pulped the coffee is washed, and then spread out on patios (pictured above) to be dried before being hulled and sorted.
The machine pictured above is a dry mill. It shaves off the parchment layer that remains on the coffee after it has been dried. Next the coffee will be sorted and cleaned of stones or any other debris.
In the four pictures above are the four steps of the cleaning process. The first photo is of a de-stoner. This machine works by measuring the difference (in density) between anything that is, and is not, a stone. The second photo is of a size-sorter. The third separates coffee by density (which will find smaller stones and defects) and lastly a color sorter. The color sorter is a very interesting machine. Coffee flies through it and it detects anything off color and quickly shoots a puff of air to reject the off color coffee/defect.
After the coffee has been sorted the coffee is weighed out into bags for shipping and loaded into inter-modal containers for truck/ocean transport. Most commonly each container is loaded with 37,500 lbs of coffee.
We traveled each day,visiting many towns and cities and tasting coffee everywhere we went. Pictured above and to the left is a coffee tasting at Bourbon Specialty Coffee, and to the right a view of the Santos bay and the historical Coffee Stock Exchange building.
I had such a great time traveling Brazil and learning more about what coffee tastes the best for espresso blends. I am very happy with the coffee we selected after my time in Brazil. It's what makes our Montanaro espresso on of the best espresso blends I have ever tasted. You can find our Montanaro espresso blend in our cafes, wholesale accounts, and on our website.