Intro by Chris Kornman
Brazil’s reputation in specialty coffee has evolved significantly since its early days as a cheap espresso blending option. There are, of course, still plenty of these 82-point options for those interested, and much more of the commercial grade and mechanically harvested coffees as well.
This is not one of those coffees.
Grown on an estate established by Nagipe Viana Klem and his wife Adelina in the mid-1950s, this coffee exemplifies some of our favorite attributes of amazing Brazilian beans. It has a mild acidity paired with dried fruit and brown sugar sweetness, a solid chocolatey backbone, and plenty of pleasant toasted almond and walnut notes.
Fazenda Klem is located in eastern Minas Gerais, one of Brazil’s largest and most agriculturally productive states. While many roasters are likely familiar with regional distinctions like Carmo de Minas, Grama Valley, and Cerrado, the east of the state is a little less travelled.
The Klem farm contains about 650 hectares of land, on which 200 are planted with coffee. Nagipe’s four sons now manage the day-to-day operations on the farm, and the farm partners with about 50 families, each of whom are responsible for their local production area. In addition to coffee, the farm has a productive avocado and banana operation.
Notably, this coffee is certified organic, an extreme rarity in Brazil. The conditions in Brazilian coffee production over the last century have led to unparalleled automation and efficiency. Enormous farms employing a skeleton crew riding mechanical harvesters and applying egregious amounts of fertilizer have become a reality in parts of the country. Organic production is almost unheard of — the idea of reducing yields and increasing labor are ideas that run counter to the established norms. Yet Fazenda Klem has managed not simply to produce, but to produce at incredible qualities, attested to recently by a third-place finish at the 2017 Cup of Excellence.
Green Analysis by Elise Becker
This Brazilian gem comes to us with below average water activity, a little below average moisture content, and below average density. The aW makes for a coffee that stores very well green. It has been well sorted to 82% 17-18 screen size, and this tight sorting should make for a consistent roast. The low moisture content and density may require gentle heat to avoid scorching; check out Evan and Chris’ roast analyses for tips on heat application.
Catucaí is a hybrid in the style of a Catimor, yet in many ways a Brazilian original. It crosses the Catuaí hybrid (Mundo Novo, itself a spontaneous Typica x Bourbon tree, and Caturra, a dwarf Bourbon mutation) with Icatu. Icatu is the Brazilian Instituto Agronômico de Campinas’ version of the Timor Hybrid: its parents are a robusta tree and a Red Bourbon. This yellow variation retains most of the characteristics of its red-fruit predecessor: early and large yields, large fruits, and “tolerance” for diseases like rust and nematodes.
Ikawa Analysis by Chris Kornman
We’ve updated our V2 Ikawa Pro machines with the latest Firmware version (24) and run on “closed loop” setting. Our roasters underwent full service in October of 2018 which included replacement heating elements and an updated PT 1000 temperature sensor, and were recalibrated in September 2019.
I have a special place in my heart for fine Brazilian coffees. It may sound like an oddity coming from a noted washed coffee lover and champion of light roasted, high acid selections, I know. But those really special Brazilian coffees are so uncommon, and I just can’t help but celebrate when I find one. Having kicked around a few hundred miles on dusty roads between Sao Paulo and Salvador de Bahia, I got to know a little bit about the country and its people and coffee along the way. There’s much to love, from the churrascarias, to pao de quiejo, to the jaboticaba trees that grow berries on their trunk, to the wide diversity of landscapes, faces, music, and of course, cafezinhos.
Roasting this coffee on my porch under shelter-in-place orders this week took me back to some of my first visits to farms, cupping labs with open windows and sample roasters buzzing. The smell of roasting coffee outside… god, there’s just nothing like it.
Intuiting that this coffee was going to be the one to break the streak — a low density natural process hybrid cultivar — I took the precaution of creating a few roast profiles with lower airflow settings. I cupped them at home, blind, and laughed when I revealed the key. My favorite, with consistent scores across two separate cuppings and 5 profiles, was the standard sample roast I’d worked on over the winter. Buttery chocolate croissant notes create a canvas on which light marmalade, fragrant pipe tobacco, and honey-roasted almonds each hold together in an elegant, chuggable balance.
I’ll revisit the lower-airflow profiles in the future, but you should feel confident with the sample roast below, even though it might pop a few beans into the chaff can around first crack.
You can download the profile to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Behmor Analysis by Evan Gilman
Unless otherwise noted, I follow a set standard of operations for all my Behmor roasts. Generally, I’ll use the 1lb setting, manual mode (P5), full power, and high drum speed until crack. Read my original post and stats here.
With the shelter in place order, I’m back on my Behmor. My current setup consists of the Behmor 1600+, silicon gloves, and the range hood on my stove. I have decided to use the machine’s cooling function with the door closed in order to limit the amount of smoke abated into my apartment, even though I’ve found that almost all of the smoke gets taken up into the hood. It doesn’t smell up the apartment too much! When in doubt, I’ll open up a window. I have yet to roast on my deck, as it’s been a bit rainy lately.
This Brazil is my first foray into Behmor roasting in a good while. I knew from the consistent screen size, low moisture content, and low water activity that I would need to pace myself with heat application on this coffee. From memory, I knew that coffees would generally crack around the 11 minute mark on the Behmor, but I expected such a dry coffee to reach first crack a little sooner.
I wasn’t wrong. After starting at high heat application and high drum speed, I reached first crack at 9:45 and lowered the heat to 75% power concurrently. At 10:15 I opened the door of the roaster a bit to abate some heat and smoke. At 11:15, I hit ‘Cool’ to cool the batch using Behmor’s 13 minute automatic program, and left the door of the roaster closed in order not to smoke up my apartment.
Some smoky flavors were certainly imparted to my roast, but on the ‘cupping table’ (spoiler: it was my kitchen counter) I experienced some very tasty flavors ranging from baked apple to tootsie roll. This coffee is undeniably Brazilian, but it’s also undeniably sweet. There are some mild nut flavors, and this roast in particular had a nice aftertaste of a toasted pumpernickel bagel. I like pumpernickel bagels! I also got some subtle plummy sweetness, and just a hint of the almond paste/cherry flavor I associate with very nice Brazilian coffees.
This is a chugger’s coffee. I am enjoying it as a pourover, and in my Zojirushi automatic brewer. If you’re looking for a solid drinking coffee that’s a few steps above the ordinary, but would keep the whole house sane, this coffee would be great for you. I’m thinking it would also make a great espresso!
Probatino Analysis by Candice Madison
Roasting in the time of COVID… Much like everything else at the moment, work-life feels very topsy turvy, but the one thing, the one constant I can always count on, is roasting. This week I was able to roast the Crown Jewel coffees on the Probatino. However, upcoming analyses will have to be on the little Quest M3, which is keeping me company on the kitchen table.
This light, drier bean, as analyzed by Elise, and the processing method, gave me the key to the first lock in roasting this coffee – I expected it to be softer and lighter, and so approached it with minimal heat (2) on the dial. Wanting to get as much out of the volatile compounds as I could I chose to blast the roast with full heat after the turning point, stepping down at the Maillard stage.
The coffee took on color very late, leaving me to record Maillard at 330 F – within the margins for these reactions, but the latest I’ve ever noted on any roaster. As soon as I noted the advent of the color change, I turned the gas down to 2.5 and left it there until first crack. The immaculate processing and very narrow screen-size range led to an easy roast.
The coffee cracked late on the Probatino, at 396 F. It was very sparse at first, and continued to be soft in volume, but picked up a steady roll. I turned the gas back down to the minimum (2) and ended the roast a minute later at 404 F.
I was excited to taste what was in the cup – I was later roasting my samples than Chris and Evan and I had heard yummy things. I have a soft spot for Brazilian coffees and this one is sure to become an annual fixture for me. The cup was brimming with cocoa and a creamy toffee sweetness, as well as an expected nut note – roasted almonds. But there was a rich vanilla essence to the distinct honeycomb notes adding complexity to the sweetness balanced by Meyers lemon and green apple acidity. A really delightful, articulate and velvety cup. An all-day batch brew option, or a sweet, chocolatey espresso base for a cappuccino, perhaps?
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
I decided to bust out the Chemex for this coffee, and leave behind my automatic home brewer for a few days. While I’m sure the Zojirushi EC-YTC100 would have done a fine job, there’s nothing like a manual brew now and again to really open up a coffee. But on second thought I drink enough coffee, so why not have it both ways?
For the Zojirushi brewer, I generally grind at a 20 on the Barata Virtuoso, dose 50g of ground coffee into the filter basket, and use 800g of water. This time, I wanted to get close to a 1:15 ratio of coffee to water and dosed 53g. The result was somewhat heavier, but I think I could have gone to 1:14!
So I did exactly that when brewing a Chemex. The resulting cup was incredibly expressive in comparison, and I think I may be falling in love with my Chemex all over again. I followed my typical protocol for Chemex: bloom for 30 seconds with twice as much water by weight as I have ground coffee (I used 36g coffee here, and bloomed with 70g water). Then, I bring up the level of the slurry about midway up the wall of the Chemex (in this case, my first pour was to 300g). I wait for the initial pour to drain through almost all the way, then start my second pour up to the original line, pouring in an outwardly spiraling pattern (my second pour got me to 450g). I allow that pour to drain through a bit, then complete the dose of water up to the final weight (in this case, 504g).
Heavy and creamy, this is a stereotypical Brazilian coffee, but with a little something extra. The nutty flavors one usually expects in a Brazilian coffee didn’t really come through in this cup, but plenty of the chocolate and cream notes did. I would hazard to say that this coffee doesn’t need cream to be creamy. The acidity here is primarily citric, and is incredibly balanced with the other attributes present. Just a touch of clean lemon brightness amidst the cocoa and brown sugar flavors. The cherry note on the finish of this coffee is over the top!
I would recommend this coffee to be brewed mostly on pourover. My automatic machine simply did it no justice at all! The Chemex really made this coffee shine, and I’m sure you all could make it just as well with a manual pour over method.