Like most coffee roasters, we lean heavily on Brazilian coffee for our blends. Perhaps the quintessential low-altitude coffee, it typically contributes sweetness, body and crowd-pleasing flavours of nuts and chocolate. It’s very much a team player and is often used as a base to which more “interesting” coffees can be added. Indeed this is the thinking behind our own Under Milk Wood which features Brazilian and low-altitude Indian coffee, into which a splash of high-grown bright and fruity Ethiopian is added for seasoning - much as squeeze of citrus or dash of vinegar enlivens your favourite dish.
Given that acidity and fruitiness typically go hand in hand with higher growing conditions, lower altitude origins such as Brazil can often be overlooked by speciality consumers who tend to seek more lively, assertive flavours. However, with careful processing, it is possible to enhance fruit character and even enjoy some brightening acidity alongside the nutty sweetness. Brazilian coffees, especially more commercial examples tend to be pulped natural processed, a method that involves most of the ripe fruit around the bean being milled away before the remaining beans are dried with some sticky residue (honey) still attached. Known as honey processing in other countries, this method delivers sweetness but not necessarily much fruity complexity.
However, when naturally processed by allowing the ripe fruit to dry around the bean whilst still intact, it is possible to impart additional acidity and fruit character to even low-altitude coffee. On our Jan-Feb list we showcased an exceptional and experimental natural Brazil that took this idea and ran with it further than we thought possible! This time round we have a more classic example - it’s sticky, sweet and balanced with loads of toasted nut character which remind me strongly of my favourite breakfast of jam and peanut butter on sourdough toast! I’ve enjoyed this coffee most in a cafetière where the creamy body is accentuated by the brewing method but this super versatile coffee tastes great as a filter or even a sweet and rounded single estate espresso.
Farm: Sitio Serra E Leite, Brazil
Variety: 100% Yellow Catuai arabica
Process: Natural Process
Filter – Peanut butter, toast, Black grape jam, creamy
Espresso – Nuts, milk chocolate, caramel, popcorn