The search for great coffee took me to the small town of Carmo de Minas, about five hours outside of Sao Paulo. The timing was during the offseason, after harvest, and coffee beans were still being processed through the mills and being prepared for shipment to markets in the United States, Japan, and Australia. The goal is to understand all phases of coffee production to be more educated on how to find and select the best coffees from around the world, and there is still a lot of learning left to do. We were able to shadow Pedro, who owns and operates Fazendo do Condado with his father Sergio, and Victor, Pedro's brother-in-law that I had met in San Diego. Pedro has been processing and sending green coffee beans to the United States since 2006 and offered an enormous amount of knowledge and wisdom for every step of the operation. As we toured the farm, we gained a huge appreciation for all the work and effort that goes into preparing the coffee for export, the attention to detail required to ensure the coffee passes multiple levels of quality control and then sampled and tested by their quality assurance team. The lush hillsides had already flowered and the coffee fruits were starting to grow. The little green buds would grow for another five months until the harvest is set to start in May.
After we toured the farm, we had a chance to visit the processing mill, which was an integral part of the green coffee's production and quality control. There are many steps to ensure the coffee is processed in a manner to ensure its specialty grade, with some hi-tech machinery involved. The end result was 60kg bags of green coffee ready to export.
Lastly, we stopped by the Cocarive Co-Op to meet one of the final steps of quality control, cupping and sampling the coffees. We were able to cup around 20 different coffees that the co-op had produced and several micro-lots that were truly amazing coffees. We were even fortunate enough to make some cold brew coffee, which was a great experience to share with the Cocarive Co-Op.
The shear volume of work required to grow and produce green coffee beans is astounding, and hospitality displayed by Pedro, Victor and the family during our stay was heart-warming. We are very excited to have had the opportunity to travel to Brazil and see where the magic happens and looking forward to returning during harvest this year.