When viewing the Royal Coffee offering list for Brazil, it has been traditionally dominated by Mogiana and Cerrado FC SS 17/18, with multiple containers arriving and shipping out to us every month. These are the bread and butter Brazils: soft, mild, mellow sweet and nutty (and cheap), used widely and anonymously in blends by roasters everywhere. The coffee is grown on large and mid-sized fazendas on the gently rolling farmlands of the Brazilian interior in the states of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo, sold by massive cooperatives and exporters. The goal is cheap, mild, and mellow uniformity exported on a large scale. It is a dependable coffee and plays an indisputable role in coffee roasting around the world.
Being the largest producer of Arabica beans in the world, though, you’d think there be a lot more to offer than a basic blender for the masses. Well, there is. If you’ve looked at the Royal Coffee offering sheet lately in the “Brazil” category, you may have noticed a number of new additions to the menu this year – Mantiqueira de Minas, Cerrado Fazenda Quilombo RFA, Organic Andradas & Santa Clara, and Organic Matas de Minas, as well as our returning stars Fazenda Sertaozinho and Fazenda Rainha.
These coffees differ from the big blender lots in many of them are grown in hillier and higher terrain where machine harvesting is not an option. Several are pulped natural process coffees as opposed to full natural. And nearly all of them have brighter notes, big creamy body, and a heavy fruit component. The Mantiqueira de Minas coffees are grown on the flanks of a mountain range in the SE corner of Minas Gerais, with some farms reaching 1400 meters (Sitio da Torre), and all of the coffees meticulously sorted by processing style and variety, but focus primarily on the sweeter yellow varieties. If you want to up the ante on your Brazil component or even try serving one as a strait varietal, the Mantiqueira de Minas coffees are a great place to start.
After a mediocre year last year, the Fazenda Sertaozinho and Fazenda Rainha coffees are back to form with lush heavy sweet body, and clean nutty caramel. Both coffees are pulped naturals from large family farms growing yellow Bourbon. These coffees are also a big step up from the large lots of the usual Brazil fare, strikingly sweeter and fuller bodied. We also brought in a new RFA certified coffee – Fazenda Quilombo from Cerrado. This coffee is a natural process like most coffees from Cerrado, but again, fuller, thicker, sweeter, and more almond than nutty, and with a very reasonable price tag, allowing a roaster to upgrade their blends without throwing cost too out of whack.
Finally, we’ve added a few new organic offerings – Organic Andradas & Santa Clara and Organic Mata de Minas Corrego da Limeira. The Andradas & Santa Clara are fairly classic soft, nutty and mild Brazils, grown in Sul de Minas on a large family farm, all coffees are processed natural style. The Matas de Minas coffee, meanwhile, is from a very high region in eastern Minas Gerais near the mountainous border with Espirito Santo. These coffees are massively floral and fruity, a real divergence from the typical Brazil profile. This coffee arrives in mid April along with another new organic, Fazendinha Estate, a neighboring farm to the organic Fazenda Nossa Senhora de Fatima from the Cerrado which many of you are familiar.
So, if you want to shake up your menu or upgrade your blends, this year’s new Brazil offerings are a good launching point. Try a bag or two on your next order or ask your salesperson to send you some samples. The coffees are mostly available now and cupping at their peak, this is a great time to try them out. Obrigado.
– John Cossette