The mountains of Espírito Santo are one of the coffee producing regions of Brazil where we find a completely different landscape than in other regions of Brazil known for specialty coffee.
The region is characterized by small properties of mountain land at 1000 meters above sea level or higher. Producers, all very modest, work their farms by using the family’s own manual labor. Given the region’s high humidity, coffee in Espírito Santo must be depulped to yield higher quality. This requires an adequate drying time; some producers with careful drying practices are also achieving Natural processed lots with a good cup.
Coffee trees in Espirito Santo, coffee being dried in several drying areas
Given the climate, humidity, and landscape of hills and valleys, coffee cherry maturation is slow and uneven, prompting producers to harvest only ripe fruit and pass through the fields as many as three or four times to complete the harvest. Most of the time, the ones doing the harvest are the producer, their spouse, their children, and even their parents, who collect cherries until there are none left to collect or until they are exhausted from passing through the fields five or six times. Another option is to harvest everything and separate it on the patio. As incredible as all the work they do, producers separate ripe cherries from green and under-ripe ones, knowing the difference this makes in the cup.
Coffee after the harvest, Natural lots being dried on concrete patios
After the harvest comes the post-harvest processing, for which the small farms use simple equipment and yet the work is done perfectly, showing the passion of each producer. Coffees are depulped using water to facilitate the process and placed on raised beds in most cases, which are located under parabolic dryers to avoid humidity. The dryers always have thermometers to control the temperature.
Top: sorting coffee cherries. Below: parabolic dryers
All lots are separated and tracked. Producers often harvest and sell just a few bags without having finished harvesting. This is one of the reasons why we often buy small lots from Espírito Santo. Sometimes, producers sell just three or five bags so that with the money from that sale they can complete the rest of the harvest.
Delivering milling equipment, coffees being dried, rows of coffee trees planted in the mountains of Espirito Santo
What is most notable about the region are its producers, humble people, but the majority of whom dedicate themselves to producing quality coffees. It is very laborious, but their love for specialty coffee is indescribable; even if the work lasts three months and yields twenty bags of coffee, they will do it! This commitment is the reason that this region holds the promising future of specialty coffee in Brazil. Espírito Santo is worth the bet and the investment to support producers who are always improving. The result is certain to be fruitful.
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