ABOUT THE COFFEE Chapadao De Ferro
This coffee was processed using the pulped natural method, and brings a slightly more lively jammy fruit character to the cup than our previous release from the Fornaro.
The Fornaro family, descendents of Italian immigrants to Brazil, are a three-generation team of coffee producers, who farm in several small towns in the Cerrado Mineiro region. Ernesto Fornaro, his son Edenilson, and granddaughter Patricia farm coffee together, using the best of generations of experience alongside youth and entrepreneurship to create a dynamic and quality-focussed business. It hasn’t always been this way however, the first Fornaros to move to Brazil struggled for many years growing sugar cane and grapes in Sao Paolo state, before moving to Cerrado to grow coffee in the 1970’s, along with many others displaced from their lands by frosts and nematode outbreaks. The Santa Rita farm has around 37 hectares planted with coffee, and Catuai is the primary varietal grown here, alongside some Mundo Novo and Topazio. Santa Rita is located right next to the crater of the Chapadao de Ferro volcano, meaning higher altitude and fertile volcanic soils. This leads to slower maturing cherries, normally harvested 1-2 months later than the surrounding regions.
The region of Cerrado Mineiro is part of the state of Minas Gerais in southeastern Brazil. In 2013 the region became the first in Brazil to be granted a protected designation of origin certificate, similar to Champagne or Scotch whisky. To qualify for the title ‘Cerrado’, the coffees must be speciality grade (80+) and grown above 800 masl in the Cerrado Mineiro region. The 4500 producers of the Cerrado region produces 6 million bags of coffee a year, from 210,000 hectares of coffee growing lands. Most of the lands here are of quite low altitude compared to most of the coffee we buy here at La Cabra, and are more flat, rather than on more mountainous terrain. The region has characteristic and distinct seasons, with a wet warm summer, and a dry winter, leading to more consistency in growing conditions between years. The dry climate during harvest means less issues with drying coffees, part of the reason so many high quality naturals are produced here.
Process Pulped Natural
The natural, or dry process, is the traditional process, going back generations. When accomplished in a controlled and careful manner, dry processed coffees can produce flavour experiences not found in wet processed coffees, deep fruits and florals, normally with heavier mouthfeel and lower acidity. The cherries are first sorted, and then laid out on in thin layers (2-6 cm) on raised drying beds. These are almost always used for high quality naturals, as they aid airflow around the coffee as it dries, enabling more even drying. It is very important that coffees are sorted very carefully early on in the drying process, as all of the cherries quickly turn dark brown, making it impossible to separate under and overripe cherries. The cherries are turned frequently to avoid mold formation or over-fermentation, until they reach a moisture content of below 20%, and the outer cherry layer shrinks and blackens. This process takes between 2 and 4 weeks, depending on weather conditions.