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Jose Eduardo Menezes, Fazenda Lenheiros

Minas Gerais, Cerrado Mineiro, Rio Paranaiba, Brazil
Partner since: 2022 Traceable to: Single Estate Varietals: Red Catuaí
Processing:

Late harvest cherries were selected, floated then laid out in long lines to ferment for 72 hours before the lines were opened and spread into thin layers for one day to interrupt the fermentation process. Following, the coffee was dried over a 21 day period before resting and milling.

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Community Context

This year, Jose Eduardo Menezes intensified the fermentation process in 3 different ways: Fermentation under canvas for 72 hours; fermentation in thick layers for 72 hours or until reaching 36° Celsius; and fermentation in big bags with addition of yeasts.

Country Context

Brazil is to other coffee-growing countries as Jupiter is to other planets – huge, and deserving a category of its own. But despite its size, we don’t look to Brazil as a source of specialty; we were once told that asking for a sample of SSFC 17/18 is like asking for a sample of a ‘big mac’.

This, however, is an old view from an older generation. We now have a younger crop of farmers entering the specialty scene – this generation was raised with the Internet, knows 21st-century coffee, and are excited to find out what’s possible for their family’s farm.

But it’s a struggle to convince parents that this new approach is not just youthful fantasy – with one approach working so well for so long, it’s hard to take specialty seriously. This battle seems to be happening inside households across Brazil, as city-dwelling, college-educated sons and daughters return to the family farm to help their baby-boomer parents prepare for retirement.

Despite this tension, wherever we look we see small successes building a case for specialty, one win at a time. It could be glowing feedback, a good yield, a high price or even just the smallest recognition by someone outside the family. And the case is growing especially strong in the area around Sao Gortado where we find Yuki Minami and Aequitas coffee educating farmers on what they have and what it’s worth. Here we find farmers in their 20s and 30s standing on the shoulders of giants; they are looking near into the future, and see specialty where we in the US have not yet.