NOUGAT, RIPE APRICOT, TROPICAL FRUITS, CHOCOLATE, MELLOW ACIDITY
Farm : Pinheirinho
Owner : Paulo César Junqueira
Variety : Yellow Catuai
Process : Natural
Region : Carmo de Minas
Altitude (masl) : 1056 – 1140
Paulo César Junqueira, better known as Lilica to his family, friends and associates is a third generation coffee farmer from Carmo de Minas, Brazil. He inherited his farm Pinheirinho from his father after he passed away. Although he comes from a long line of coffee farmers Lilica didn’t learn much of the trade growing up due to his distant relationship with his father. After his father passed away Lilica ceased the opportunity and focused on learning the activities of managing the farm.
Over time he began to understand the process of coffee production but had still little to no knowledge over cup quality and therefore didn’t know the real potential of his product. At 2009 Lilica started working with Carmo Coffees, a regional green coffee exporter, and found out he had specialty coffees growing on his land with great flavours and attributes. In his words, “I discovered that my coffees on average reach 85 points and tastes like plum.” This brought him to focus more on the quality than quantity of his coffees. And five years later Collaborative Coffee Source, our green coffee supplier started working with Lilica.
Carmo de Minas and Carmo Coffees
Carmo de Minas has become a destination in the Brazilian coffee world. The topographic and climatic conditions contribute to its distinction greatly, but as always when people are involved they are the ones who make the biggest difference. The farmers, the pickers, the controllers and the exporters.
Carmo Coffees is a green coffee exporter that specialises to the Carmo de Minas regions coffees and its producers. It’s run by cousins Jacques Pereira Carneiro and Luis Paulo. The latter is also the president of Brazil Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA). They both represent already a 5th generation of coffee farmers and together the oversee 12 farms and 6 processing stations – all owned by the Pereira family.
Carmo Coffees does not just work with its own family’s production of course. It drives to better the already good quality this region has become famous for. Carmo de Minas has had a bit of luck in terms of the coffee quality with the growing conditions and good plant material. And the region has experienced a “clean sweep” in Cup of Excellence competitions. But the quality has the potential to be even better and the amount of best coffee to be even higher.
Historically the picking technique has been picking the coffee bush clean during one harvesting season. This is naturally very time-effective but in order to get the sweetest coffee you need to to pick the sweetest, ripest cherries. This of course means learning new skills and techniques and also associated costs. The incentive to change comes in the form of higher prices in the specialty coffee segment.
Natural processing can sound very simple. Once the coffee fruits are picked they are laid on drying beds out in the sun. With great conditions the cherries turn from bright red to very dark brown. After this the thick, dried outer layer is hulled off and the green bean is revealed. This method traditionally suits for regions where the sun and heat can dry the seed inside the intact fruit skin. Natural processing also suits very well for coffees that may have higher acidity consistency compared to natural sugars. Drying the fruit as a whole lets the bean inside absorb more sugars and nice fruity flavours. Unless done in supervised and suitable conditions there is a risk of over-fermentation and mold. This is why the method is also not at all suitable for humid surroundings.