The Story -
“We wake up every day, and some nights, thinking about how we can improve our farm and our coffees. To be honest, we usually dream about it, too.” In a country where large, homogenous lots of commodity-grade coffee are the norm, Paulo Piancastelli’s approach to coffee farming is anything but standard.
But with a farm size of over 200 hectares, and extensive use of high-yielding varieties (mostly IAC-125 and Catuai-62), Paulo fits right in amongst the large commercial coffee estates that litter the large tropical savannas of central Brazil. How is it then that Paulo’s coffees fit snugly on the menus of speciality roasters across North America, rather than being hidden away on grocery store shelves, labelled nothing more than ‘French Roast, ‘House Blend, or, if we’re lucky ‘Brazil’? Well, perhaps it’s the advanced irrigation technology installed throughout the farm. Perhaps it’s the innovative weed and disease management techniques Paulo has adopted. Or perhaps it’s the experimental fermentation and drying processes they have employed on all of their coffees. Perhaps it’s a combination of all of these things, spearheaded by a team of dedicated coffee professionals determined to showcase the best characteristics of coffees from the Cerrado while raising them to a quality level rarely seen in the region.
And this is exactly why we wanted to work with Paulo and his team at Terra Alta. Their commitment to innovation and quality, their respect to their environment, and their aspirations to always be improving inspire our team here at Switchback. And when two groups of coffee professionals, separated only by a few thousand miles, can be inspired together, magic seems to happen. And that’s exactly what we think this coffee is - magic. Structured and round, with elegant red fruit acidity and complex spice notes, there’s no mistaking this for coffee. For this is a coffee lovers coffee, but elevated.
Nerdy Coffee Information -
This coffee is a new process for the folks at Terra Alta - a controlled fermentation honey. Here, they ferment the coffee in cherry in a temperature controlled tank for several hours before depulping, and drying. This process lends itself to elevated acidity, and more red fruit characteristics in the coffee. The unique fermentation profile also shows itself in the presence of super interesting and complex spice notes that to me particularly taste like anise. We hope to see this process develop even further in the coming years!
This coffee is also of the IAC-125 variety, a high yielding cross between Villa Sarchi and a Timor Hybrid (Robusta :O). While this variety may be more well known for its high yields than it's quality, we have found this particular lot to be wonderfully sweet and creamy, and showcases just how wonderful some of these robusta-hybrid varietys can be when grown and processed with care.
We bought this coffee directly from Paulo and Terra Alta. They produce enough coffee on their 210 hectare estate that they are abe to import a few containers themselves. We paid $3.40/lb and bought 10 bags. This is our first year working with Paulo, but we hope to continue this relationship long into the future. We cupped this coffee at an 85.5!
- The commodity price of coffee upon purchase was $0.96
Brewing Information -