Brazil’s Chapada Diamantina is as unique and interesting a coffee origin as you’ll find anywhere in the world. The former diamond mines that littered the rocky canyon cliffs and waterfalls were designated as a national park in the 1980’s, but the history of the region, the state of Bahia, and its capital city Salvador, are integral to the cultural inheritance of the entire nation.
Salvador de Bahia was the original Portuguese capital of all of Brazil dating back to the 14th century, and it remains a busy port and the third-most populous city in the country. In addition to exporting agricultural products and minerals from the region, Salvador was the center of Brazil’s slave trade for many years even after the practice was formally criminalized. Nowadays, Bahia boasts the most diverse population of the country, owing much of its legacy to Afro-Brazilian cultural contributions to fields as far reaching as the linguistic, culinary, and performing and martial arts.
In terms of coffee, the Chapada Diamantina region is vastly different from the flat plains of Cerrado or Mogiana or the gently rolling hills of Sul de Minas. The region is remote and rural, and while large-scale farming does exist here, there is a higher ratio of smaller scale farms. Here, one will often see more crop diversity in terms of both intercropping and uncommon coffee cultivars. Sustainable practices have taken hold here, too – Bahia is the leading producing state in Brazil of biodynamic agriculture, a holistic practice that attempts to bring order, balance, and spirituality to practice in organic cultivation.
Our Crown Jewel comes to us from Luca Allegro and his farm, Fazenda Aranquan, located within the municipal district of Ibicoara, just south of the Chapada Diamantina park. Luca, along with a few other farmer-neighbors, has established the Asociación Biodinámica d’Ibicoara to help promote and export their coffees. The coffee we’re featuring is pulped natural, so some of the coffee cherry was removed mechanically prior to drying. It stood out to us with its complex array of mild fruit flavor, confectionery sweetness, and bright acidity.