Region: Mucugê, Chapada Diamantina
Altitude: 1150m above sea level
Processing: Pulped Natural
Owner: Borré Family
In the cup: Full body, dark chocolate, honey sweetness and notes of plum roasted hazelnuts and dark forest chocolate cake.
Background: This special micro lot comes from Fazenda Progresso, a beautiful farm nestled in the Chapada Diamatina mountain range in the heart of Bahia. The farm is surrounded by the Chapada Diamantina National Park, known for its mountainous cliff formations (Chapada) and 19th century diamond mining (Diamantina).
This micro lot is selected from a small plot on the land called Paraguaçú named after the stunning chain of mountains surrounding the property.
The history of Fazenda Progresso 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 trialled 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 Brazilian producers of potatoes!
In 2005, the Borré family sought to diversify the activities on their land, and so they began to focus on coffee. As we learnt when we first met the family, when they commit to a new project, they seek to do it to the very highest possible standard. Their work with coffee is no exception. The family’s commitment to producing exceptional coffee has been unwavering over the last decade. They have 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 BSCA, with 30 years’ experience in coffee grading, tasting and quality control.
The producers have invested heavily to ensure that they have the very best infrastructure to process coffee, which allows them to control quality every step of the way, from picking right through to export. They have a dedicated quality control lab with a talented cupping team headed up by Ernaldo (AKA ‘Gandula’ – nicknamed after the boy that replaces the ball during a soccer match)! Gandula and his team assess every lot of coffee produced and ensure that the quality is the very best it can be.
The Borrés are very hands-on in their approach to managing the farm. They are extremely professional in the way they conduct their business, and they take great care to create an excellent work environment for their staff. Throughout the year, there are around 200 permanent staff members on the farm, and this number grows to 650 during the harvest. Many of these harvest workers return every year, and all are provided with daily bus transportation and food.
The farm’s coffee is carefully picked by a specially trained team. It is then processed via the pulped natural method: the cherry’s skin and fruit are removed and the sticky, parchment-covered beans are left to dry on cement patios and carefully raked at least 20 times over a 24-hour period. This ensures that the coffee will dry evenly and consistently. After this, the coffee is very slowly and thoroughly dried in mechanical dryers over a 36-hour period.
The Borré family takes great care to protect and preserve the ecological health of their area. Water is conserved and meteorological stations are positioned throughout the farm, to optimise the 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.
In total, 700 hectares of the 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 50cm between each tree and 3m between each row of trees. This year we have purchased coffee from four different plots on the property; each is extremely unique in its profile, and all are exceptional!