By Josh Gowty, Veneziano Qld Operations Supervisor
In August of this year I was given the opportunity to take part in my first trip to origin and travelled to Brazil with Jack Allisey, Veneziano’s Green Bean Buyer. Coffee has been a huge part of my life for over a decade and having the chance to travel to the biggest producer and exporter of coffee in the world, well to say I was thrilled, is an understatement.
Before the trip, I had a certain opinion of Brazilian coffee. My view was that the majority of Brazilian coffees produced were natural processed coffees that were nutty, chocolatey and big bodied in the cup, but I was blown away by how much more there is to coffee produced in this region. Brazil is continuously growing and improving their choice of varietals, farming and processing and in turn creating some amazing clean cup, full bodied and complex acidic coffees. During our travels, we were lucky enough to enjoy various complex coffees and I soon realized how wrong I had been about Brazilian coffee.
During our first week in Brazil we travelled to Santos which has the largest seaport in Latin America. Just a few hours’ drive from the vibrant city of Sao Paolo, we visited the ECOM lab. While at the lab we discussed their container preparation, blend exercise and traceability – specifically Veneziano’s ability to track green lots from the grower to our roastery. The sheer volume of coffee samples that are cupped (1500+) daily in this lab is astonishing. The following day we started our four-day farm journey, visiting farms in Mogiana and Southern Minas.
In week two we had the opportunity to discover some amazing farms graciously hosted by Capricornio Coffees. On day two of our tour with Capricornio Coffee one of our stops was Fazenda Santa Maria located in the city of Carlópolis. Arriving at dusk we had just enough time to tour the farm and take in the sunset sitting on the banks of the Itararé river. This is the second year Veneziano has had the chance to visit and work with this particular farm. Fazenda Santa Maria practice outstanding agronomical techniques for specialty coffee including the use of organic fertilization which they produce from their own neighbouring pig farms.
We arrived at Marcio Conrath’s farm during week two of our trip, a relatively small farm sitting at approximately two hectares. Marcio’s farm is a Coanop Four Seasons partner and use an Agroforest organic producing system. We were touched to be greeted by Marcio’s whole family on our arrival and a paddock to plate banquet lunch awaiting us. After an incredible lunch Marcio took us on a tour of his farm proudly explaining his farming practices. The afternoon soon turned into a variety show with Marcio parading his cockfighting roosters for his visitors and cracking beehives to share the honey with his guests from the back of his knife.
The real turning point and aspect that changed my mind about Brazilian coffee was cupping coffees at the Capricornio Coffee Lab where our group was offered an impressive scope of coffee. However, it was learning about Capricornio Coffee’s Women in Coffee Matao Program that really made the visit. This project was established in 2013 but really catapulted after their first win at the Paraná coffee quality contest. The program began with 15 devoted members which has now grown to 24 members. Women in Coffee has a real focus on producing quality coffee not quantity, and are working to be recognized for their unity and dedication. The program aims to encourage more women to be involved in every aspect of the coffee industry, from quality control to commercializing their lots.
We are also excited for Capricornio to be holding their Women in Coffee Matao Event at our headquarters in Melbourne on the 17th November 2017. This event will be open to the public and we will promote the event on Instagram once we have more information on how to RSVP.
Veneziano Coffee Roasters has been lucky enough to secure some of the wonderful coffee produced by the dedicated women from Capricornio Coffee as well as other Brazilian microlots, these coffees are scheduled to arrive in Australia in the coming months and will be available to purchase online.