BRAZIL - Bota Fora - Yellow Bourbon
«Hazelnut, apple, plum & milk chocolate »
- Species: Arabica
- Varietal: Yellow Bourbon
- Altitude 1100 - 1300m
- Harvest: April to september
- Process: Pulped Natural
- Drying: African beds
- Region: Mantiquiera De Minas
- Producer: Fazenda Bota Fora
Knowledge of the land and coffee processing stretches back four generations at Fazenda Bota Fora in Brazil’s Mantiquieria de Minas region. Everyone from the owner to the permanent workers has decades of history and experience with the land they work. This expertise is evident in the quality of coffee we’ve cupped.
Fazenda Bota Fora has remained in the same family for over 100 years. Since Francisco Teóphilo Reis Neto bought the land and the fazenda in 1900, ownership has passed through four generations of family. The current owner and manager, Maria de Fátima Silva Marques da Fonseca, is the latest in the family to care for the land.
The farm can count on many years of expertise in quality production. Bota Fora has five permanent workers who have been working on the property for the last twenty years. For technical support, they can rely on the COCARIVE cooperative and Emater MG (a governmental organisation that provides assistance to farmers in Minas Gerais). These skilled teams of agronomists advise on the best planting techniques, cultivation systems, drying and conservation methods, the newest coffee processing machines and more.
There are a growing number of farms in Brazil that are focusing more on cup quality than volume. These farms approach growing, harvesting and processing with a great attention to detail. The altitude and volcanic soil in Brazil are prime conditions for growing the balanced, well-bodied coffees of Brazil.
Wide, flat farms make mechanisation easier and allow for reduced production costs, making Brazil one of the few countries with consistently comfortable margins in the face of low world prices. The relatively flat landscape across many of Brazil’s coffee regions combined with high minimum wages has led most farms to opt for mechanical harvesting over selective hand-picking. In the past, this meant strip-picking was the norm; however, today’s mechanical harvesters are increasingly sensitive, meaning that farms can harvest only fully ripe cherries at each pass, which is good news for specialty-oriented producers.
In many cases and on less level sections of farms, a mixed form of ‘manual mechanised’ harvesting may be used, where ripe coffee is picked using a derricadeira – a sort of mechanised rake that uses vibration to harvest ripe cherry. A tarp is spanned between coffee trees to capture the cherry as it falls. After picking, the cherry passes through colour-sorting machines to separate the ripe cherry from the unripes ones. The cherries are loaded into the pulper in lots according to quality. Once removed from their mucilage, the parchment and remaining mucilage is laid to dry on a cement drying patio. They are raked frequently to ensure even drying.
Finally, the dried parchment is moved to wooden bins in the storage room. Here, the beans undergo a necessary resting period to stabilize humidity. One month later, the coffee is sent to COCARIVE’s warehouses in Carmo de Minas.
COCARIVE gives support to its members in all parts of the production chain. Their team of agronomists and technical experts assists with cultivation techniques, machinery, storage and finally commercialization of the beans.
Once parchment is dry, cooperative members send their coffee to the COCARIVE warehouses. The cooperative takes care of grading, commercialization and export. They have their own quality lab and storage and milling facilities in Carmo de Minas.
At the dry mill, where they prepare the coffee for export, COCARIVE has its own laboratory for quality control. Their team of trained cuppers and Q graders makes the first selection based on cup quality. They will verify which lots are suitable and of high enough cup quality for specialty microlots. Their quality control team checks the quality of every lot at a variety of times throughout the dry milling process analyzing both physical green and cup characteristics.
All COCARIVE member farms have the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) certificate. On top of that, they are all certified by the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA). This certificate is a guarantee from BSCA that every aspect of labor at the farm is legal. It also guarantees the implementation of environmentally friendly practices on the farm during all steps of the coffee production process.
Just under 40% of all coffee in the world is produced in Brazil - around 3.7 million metric tons annually. With so much coffee produced, it’s no wonder that the country produces a wide range of qualities. Brazil produces everything from natural Robusta, to the neutral and mild Santos screen 17/18, to the distinctive Rio Minas 17/18. In recent years, Brazilian producers have also begun investing more heavily in specialty coffee production. Through our in-country partners in Brazil, including our sister company, we are able to provide a wide range of Brazilian coffees to our clients: from macrolot to microlot.
Today, the most prolific coffee growing regions of Brazil are Espirito Santo, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia. Most Brazilian coffee is grown on large farms that are built and equipped for maximizing production output through mechanical harvesting and processing. The relatively flat landscape across many of Brazil’s coffee regions combined with high minimum wages has led most farms to opt for this type of mechanical harvesting over selective hand-picking.
In the past, mechanization meant that strip-picking was the norm; however, today’s mechanical harvesters are increasingly sensitive, meaning that farms can harvest only fully ripe cherries at each pass, which is good news for specialty-oriented producers.
In many cases and on less level sections of farms, a mixed form of ‘manual mechanized’ harvesting may be used, where ripe coffee is picked using a derriçadeira – a sort of mechanized rake that uses vibration to harvest ripe cherry. A tarp is spanned between coffee trees to capture the cherry as it falls.
With the aid of these newer, more selective technologies, there’s a growing number of farms who are increasingly concerned with – and able to deliver - cup quality.