REGION: Chapada Diamantina
Arabica VARIETAL: Catuaí 144
OWNER: Borré Family
AWARDS: Cup of Excellence 2015 #15, 2017 #20
In the cup: Butterscotch aroma with marzipan and marmalade. Dark chocolate and dates, with a creamy body. Rich, sweet and balanced.
Fazenda Progresso is a beautiful farm nestled in the Chapada Diamantina mountain range in the heart of Bahia. The farm sits on a plateau at 1,150m above sea level and is surrounded by the Chapada Diamantina National Park, known for its mountainous cliff formations (Chapada) and 19th-century diamond mining (Diamantina).
Fazenda Progresso is owned by the Borré family, who have been in business for three generations. The history of the farm dates back to 1984 when the Borré family migrated from southern Brazil to the northeast and purchased some land in the municipality of Ibicoara, near the town of Mucugê. In the early years, the family tried growing crops such as soybeans, wheat and English potatoes. The potatoes turned out to be an incredibly successful crop, stimulating investments and making the family one of the largest producers of potatoes in Brazil!
In 2005, the Borré family sought to diversify the activities on their land and began to focus on coffee. They recognised they had the ideal conditions to produce specialty coffee with high altitudes, plentiful rainfall, and rich soil. Fabiano Borré spearheaded the coffee program, investing in state-of-the-art infrastructure and agricultural practices to ensure they could produce the very highest quality coffee possible. Fabiano also surrounded himself with an exceptional team and sought advice from some of the most respected professionals in the field, including Silvio Leite, founder of the Cup of Excellence and president of the Brazil Specialty Association, with 30 years of experience in coffee grading, tasting and quality control.
Fazenda Progresso’s infrastructure is meticulously designed and over the last decade, Fabiano has continued to experiment and invest in equipment and processes that will improve the quality of his coffee. He has a robust quality control program and dedicated quality control lab with a talented cupping team headed up by Ednaldo Nascimento, who has worked with Progresso since 2010.
Fazenda Progresso is located on a plateau at an elevation of 1,150m above sea level. This elevation plays a key role in the quality of the beans, as does the average temperature variation of 10°C, with hot days and cool nights, which provides the ideal conditions for slow cherry maturation, giving time for natural sugars to develop, resulting in a sweet and complex cup.
THE BORRÉ FAMILY
The Borré family business has always been managed and directed by family members and is now in its third generation of operation. Fabiano Borré looks after everything to do with the coffee side of the business.
The Borrés motto is ‘Mindful Coffee’. This describes their commitment to acting mindfully and ensuring that their family values and vision (that centre around excellence, innovation, and environmental and social responsibility) are informing every decision they make and defining how they do business.
Fazenda Progresso’s people and their welfare is important to the Borré family, and they take great care to create an excellent work environment for their staff. Buses are provided to and from work, and clean and welcoming lunch facilities and bathrooms are also provided. The staff are also given insurance, protective wear, sunscreen, and biannual health check-ups by a resident doctor.
Caring for the environment is another core value for the Borré family, who take great care to protect and preserve the ecological health of their area. Water is sourced from their farm’s lake and carefully conserved, with meteorological stations positioned throughout the farm to optimise irrigation and ensure the trees get the right amount of water. Cascara pulp from processing is composted (along with potato wastage, which is very high in potassium and great for coffee trees!) and used to fertilise trees throughout the plantation. 75% of the land is also preserved as native land; well above the national minimum of 20%.
The Borré family is also very active in their community. In addition to providing hundreds of jobs in the region, they provide financial support to the local school that is located in the village next to the farm. They are also working hard to build tourism in the region and working closely with the state government to get the region recognised for its agricultural excellence.
In 2015, for the first time, the Borré family entered their coffee into the Cup of Excellence competition. It placed 15th – a fantastic achievement and testament to the hard work, resources, and focus that has been put into producing exceptional coffee. It also placed 20th in the 2017 Cup of Excellence.
HOW THIS COFFEE WAS PROCESSED
In total, 530 hectares of the Borré property are dedicated to coffee; this land is divided up into different plots, which are processed separately. Over time, the family has worked out the optimum way to plant coffee trees in order to maximise productivity, with 50 centimetres between each tree and three metres between each row of trees. Fabiano closely monitors environmental data (rainfall, nutrition, temperature) from each of the plots to identify which parts of the farm have the highest quality potential, and deploys his best pickers to these parts of the farm to select the very ripest cherries by hand.
This coffee was carefully hand-picked by a specially trained team between June and August. It was then natural processed. The cherries were selected at the peak of ripeness, and then carefully dried on meticulously clean patios under the protection of a greenhouse, and turned regularly for 24 hours. The coffee was then dried very slowly and thoroughly in mechanical dryers for 18 hours and then rested for 6 hours. This process was repeated for a total of 40 hours until the coffee reached 12% humidity. Progresso has done a lot of experimentation with drying and has found that this method yields the very best results and ensures that the coffee holds its quality over an extended period of time.
This lot comes from the ‘Progresso I’ parcel of the farm where the coffee is grown under shade and is drip irrigated.
WHAT IS IN A NAME?
When Progresso was first founded, it was given its name ‘Progresso’ which translates quite literally to ‘progress’ in English. This name reflects the family’s concept and philosophy of business, which has been held and passed down across generations and is still very relevant to the family’s ethos, business culture and drive today.
(info courtesy of Melbourne Coffee Merchants)