Intro by Chris Kornman with Mayra Orellana-Powell
Organic Specialty Brazilian coffees are fairly rare. In a country where coffee production is often mechanized and driven by efficiency, the kinds of attention to detail and care required for certification can be a strain on precious resources. So when this lush, velvety natural from producer Ricardo Aguiar Rezende crossed our path, we jumped at the chance to present a small amount as a Crown Jewel. Its easy-going flavor profile includes some light melon and maple syrup notes, with an effortlessly smooth body and chocolatey base. With the right roast, you’ll draw out some more subtle flavors like violet, plum, and butterscotch.
Fazenda Santa Cristina began converting to organic practices about 10 years ago. Its 600-acre borders include 250 dedicated to forest, wildlife, and watershed conservation and protection. During the harvest the estate employs more than 180 people. Employees have access to prenatal care and computer classes. Ricardo and his family also contribute to family garden and trash collection initiatives in the nearby community of Igrejinha da Macega.
Cerrado Mineiro — the northwest region of Brazil’s massive agricultural state Minas Gerais — is marked by rolling hills and a lot of sky. It’s pretty common to see machine picking in the area, as the gentle slopes allow for easy passage over the full-sun exposed trees. Cerrado, which could be translated “savannah,” is a protected origin for Brazilian coffee, responsible for more than 10% of Brazil’s enormous production volume.
Coffee from Santa Cristina made its way to Royal via our export partner Bourbon Coffees, a sophisticated specialty coffee group whose offices and cupping lab are located in the beautiful city of Poços de Caldas, near the Minas / Mogiana border. In addition to providing quality control and export, the group works closely with producers to consult on best practices and farm management, as well as partnering with research groups including the prominent nearby University of Lavras to innovate new technologies and study agronomy more closely.
Green Analysis by Chris Kornman
Brazilian coffees tend to be dry and low density. Especially in regions like Cerrado, the sun can be relentless during the harvest season (rains don’t usually start until September or October) and lower than global average elevations tend to yield coffees with a little less mass per bean.
Here we have an average looking moisture reading, perhaps a little high for a Brazil, with moderately low density. The screen size is widely distributed and mostly falls in the 15-18 range, similar to a European prep. You will almost certainly want to treat this coffee gently in the roaster with regard to heat application, as a result.
The cultivars here are classic Cerrado. While much of Minas Gerais specialty coffee relies on the renowned Yellow Bourbon, Cerrado region seems to have more success with the traditional red iteration. Brazil was the first American nation to grow Bourbon, largely replacing its Typica fields in the mid 1800s. The dwarf Caturra/Mundo Novo hybrid called Catuaí, here in its yellow version, is a well-loved cultivar worldwide, and a Brazilian innovation. The short stature allows for dense planting and easy picking.
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.
This low density natural Brazil provided a good opportunity to check my two “alternative” profiles, as the “standard” sample roast on Ikawa is unfortunately not really built for this type of bean. I went ahead and roasted all three for the sake of comparison, and as expected the shortest roast (blue) offered little in the way of nuance in the cup with lots of nuttiness obscuring the sweetness.
The +30 Maillard profile (red) showed off the caramelly sweetness, stone fruit and melon flavors, and a lot of aromatics that weren’t there on the first roast. The profile, in addition to a slower acceleration through color change, employs a lower charge temperature, which can be beneficial for these lower density types of coffees. The roast was balanced, sweet, and very smooth to drink.
I accidentally used an old (and what I thought was a failed) low-airflow profile (yellow) instead of my more successful Crown 7m SR Low AF which is a bit longer and uses a lower end temp. Instead, this one — which mimics everything about the “standard” sample roast except with a lower fan speed, effectively resulting in darker roast color in the same time/exhaust temp profile — was the only one of the three to reach first crack that allowed a reasonable (60 seconds) amount of time to develop after crack. It reduced this coffees’ perceptible acidity to just a whisper, muting the fruit notes a bit but really driving home the sweetness and viscosity in a lush, full cup with overtures of chocolate, vanilla, butterscotch, and brown sugar. Some gentle dried apricot and baked orange notes became a little more evident as the coffee cooled.
This was a unique coffee to roast, but one that responded well to some combination of darker color, longer Maillard, and lower fan speed, and will surely please folks craving a sweet, low acid coffee with a lot of body.
You can download the profiles to your Ikawa Pro app here:
Roast 1: Crown Standard SR 1.0
Roast 2: Crown Maillard +30 SR 1.0
Roast 3: Crown Low Airflow SR 1.0
Quest M3 Analysis by Candice Madison
As I sit here and write this, in the middle of a pandemic and after days of global turmoil, I feel an enormous amount of gratitude to all coffee producers. The one constant, the one thread that I have running through my life is coffee and the pursuit of excellent coffee. This is the same thread that joins me to people I have never met, such as Ricardo Aguiar Rezende of Fazenda Santa Cristina. For which I’m very grateful – and so is my palate!
This coffee is an organic coffee, which coming from Brazil is a rarity, and was quite excited to see this come across my desk (well, in the mail, now!). The moisture level was higher than I’m used to seeing from Brazilian coffees. Marry this with a lower density reading, and my initial thought was to drop the batch at a higher temperature initially, to reduce the moisture percentage as quickly as possible, without damaging the soft, lighter, beans.
I dropped the coffee at 390F, a full 30 degrees higher than usual. Relying on a little thermodynamics knowledge, I felt enough heat would dissipate with the initial temperature drop and moisture evaporation to keep the coffee from racing.
I started with 7 amps of heat and no forced air. At the turning point, I raised the heat to 9 amps and opened up the air to the maximum (9 on the dial). A stepped down off the heat before and just after the yellowing, going to 8 amps at 279 degrees F, and then down to 7 amps at 325 degrees F, closing the air slightly to 6.
As the coffee had taken on all the heat it needed to ascend through the roast at a steady pace, I stepped down off the heat at 350 degrees F, and turned the airflow to 3 on the dial. The coffee cracked sparsely at first, but filled into first crack at 392 degrees F. I turned the heat down to 3 amps and the airflow up to 9, managing to take the coffee to 16% post-crack development.
I say that with confidence, it was accidental! I had intended to have less development and end at a higher temperature. Instead of flying at the end, I felt I might have lost some of the best that this coffee had to offer, as I had been nurturing time in the Maillard phase to elicit all the sugary notes I love in Brazilian coffees. However, wow, is this coffee different from my previous experiences. On the table I got a slap of butterscotch and vanilla that mellowed into a caramel note. Milk chocolate and roasted almonds were to be expected. But none of the usual ‘fruit’ notes that can herald a natural coffee, instead a really subtle melon and stone fruit note at the end of each sip really elevated the cup.
Sitting in the peace of The Crown and filtering the coffee from the cupping bowls, I enjoyed the sunshine and felt, as I very often do, that coffee found me.
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.
Despite how common they are supposed to be, it’s not often I have the chance to roast a coffee from Brazil as a Crown Jewel. As importers, we certainly get quite a bit of coffee from this region, but it tends to be mellow, sweet, and malleable. This coffee is no different, but the positive characteristics here are amplified just so.
I know from experience that Brazil tends to produce softer coffees that need gentle heat application. This is no problem at all on the Behmor! With this in mind, I set out to apply heat more gently through Maillard, and to draw out the crack as much as possible as well. The tactic worked, and I experienced a very long and shallow crack with this coffee.
Starting with P5 (100% power), I brought this coffee through drying stage and into Maillard. I dropped heat application to P4 at 9:25, and heard a few early pops. First crack proper didn’t start until 11:25 however. At 11:50, I opened the door of the roaster for 20 seconds to abate smoke and heat, and concluded the roast by hitting “COOL” at 12:40. Plenty of time spent in Maillard.
My roast loss percentage on this coffee was high at 14.6%, but there was quite a bit of chaff left in the roaster! This coffee also has higher moisture content than usual for a Brazilian coffee. I would very strongly suggest that you do a thorough cleaning of your roaster after roasting this coffee. I haven’t seen this much chaff come off a coffee in a while.
In the cup, this coffee showed how pleasant it could be – deep almond, creamy chocolate milk flavor, and a touch of aromatic hazelnut really made me feel warm in the June gloom of the Bay Area. This coffee will take a little dialing in, but focus on sweetness and you’ll be happy with what you find!
Brew Analysis by Evan Gilman
For this sweet organic Brazil, I wanted to give my Zojirushi brewer another shot. While I’m fairly certain the best expression of this coffee would be through a full-immersion method like French Press (my cupping was quite nice), I unfortunately don’t have one at home!
I did a straight 1:16 ratio of coffee to water and hit start – as easy as that – and the result was… okay. While definitely chuggable, I just knew that this coffee had more to offer than the almond and hazelnut flavors that I got from this brew. 18.8% extraction isn’t bad, but there’s certainly more to pull from this coffee.
So I went back to the trusty Chemex, Zojirushi elephant tail between my legs. Thankfully, the Chemex welcomed me back with open arms. I followed my usual routine of starting with a 1:16 ratio of coffee to water, a 45 second preinfusion, and 175g pours up to my final H2O number (640g in this case). The result was a much more pleasant cup with gentle but clear cherry and lime notes, a hint of coconut, and a custardy flavor that rounded everything out nicely. But folks, I wanted more!
I reached for the AeroPress to complete my thoughts of full immersion, but with an interstitial filter for a little extra clarity. This is exactly what this coffee needed to shine, in my experience. For my AeroPress brew, inverted brewing is my method of choice. I used an 18 grind on the Baratza Virtuoso, and 15 grams of coffee to 240g of H2O for a 1:16 ratio. After a 40g preinfusion for 30 seconds, I filled the AeroPress, capped it with the filter, and turned over at 1:30 after plenty of agitation. After a 1 minute press-through my final brew time was 2:30.
The result was some deliciously gentle lime and cocoa, with a rye bread aftertaste – both sweet and savory. Upon cooling, this coffee opened up immensely! Dark cherry and even a hint of peach came through. I really have been enjoying this coffee, and I’d definitely recommend a full immersion, or partial immersion brew. Give it a shot, or a press. You won’t regret it!