A New Seasonal Expression for Stereotype Espresso
Here at Atkinsons Coffee are very excited to bring you a brand new seasonal, Single Origin iteration of our ever popular Stereotype Espress...
A New Seasonal Expression for Stereotype Espresso
Here at Atkinsons Coffee are very excited to bring you a brand new seasonal, Single Origin iteration of our ever popular Stereotype Espresso. It is a particularly well-balanced coffee from a Single Farm called Grota Funda which we discovered on our last trip to Brazil.
Unsurprisingly Stereotype Espresso is roasted for espresso but you can brew it however you like! It provides the medium, creamy body and tamed acidity that we love in this coffee with notes of hazelnut and cocoa nibs and a faint blackcurrant finish.
The Mantiqueira de Minas region is now well known, not just as an attractive local tourist destination but also for its distinctive coffees. They are grown at relatively high altitudes for Brazilian coffee trees. Unlike the bulk of the huge volume estates in the north of the country, the trees here are planted in sheltering folds of the rolling slopes where no picking machine could ever go.
Recognised for Quality
In fact the producers purposely came together under the Cocarive umbrella to make a concerted effort to really push for recognition and quality for the region. They wanted to shake off the misconception in many speciality roasters' minds that Brazil was just an origin for mass consumer Commercial Coffee.
Making a Point
All this work by many farmers, cuppers, technicians, administrators and so many more, eventually paid off. Farms from the area dominated the Cup of Excellence competition for a number of years. Each farm we visited had entire trophy rooms filled ceiling to floor with certificates and awards from all sorts of competitions. One of them had achieved the highest SCA score ever recorded: 95.16
These are some of the best coffees in the world. They don’t enter every competition going anymore but instead these days prefer to focus on growing the long-term sustainability of the farms. Key to this work is forging relationships with roasters. Which is where we come in…
A Dedicated Farmer
Glaucio Carneiro Pinto bought Grota Funda back in 1992 having been in coffee farming since the mid-1960s. He now has just under 500 hectares under coffee production. The grandson and son of coffee farmers, he is well placed in his dual role of farmer and vice president of Cocarive to help other farmers in the region.
He has overseen a period of great change in the last twenty years, raising the bar for the quality of their coffee and the curation of their countryside.
A Perfect Site
We visited Grota Funda as the sun was setting on a beautifully still evening. The temperature was perfect. From the top of the observation tower, as night was falling, we could take in the sunset, which covered the entire sky, so that even to the East there was a band of Alizarin Crimson close to the horizon. Our merry band of roasters and farmers, importers and exporters, heaved a collective sigh of contentment.
A Flight of Toucans
Then as we posed together for the inevitable group selfies, a cry went up from our hosts. There in the background a flock of Toucans were flapping and gliding their way towards the edge of a forest on the opposite side of the valley. Their awkward physique made their appearance all the more remarkable. With that huge beak out front and the wings to the rear they seemed to be continually defying a nose dive.
Home to Roost
Apparently what made this observation all the more interesting was that this flight of Toucans had appeared as a flock. This was not something the locals had witnessed before. Indeed a quick Google revealed that, like crows as opposed to rooks, they normally hang around in pairs. Maybe for this night only, on seeing a group of pale Europeans, they had decided that roosting together gave them safety in numbers?!
The Yellow USP
The yellow varietals are more common here in the picturesque landscape of the Sierra de Mantiqueira. This is in part due to mutations by the plant itself to deal with growing under full sun. It is also due in part to selection of plant varieties from preferences in flavour profile, rather than the more usual factors of disease resistance or yield.
There are some red varieties grown but the producers made a conscious marketing decision to concentrate on the Yellow Bourbon and Catuai as a USP for the region (that really is a Unique Selling Proposition)
As part of this ongoing focus Cocarive are currently researching the rate at which yellow varietals photosynthesise. This is slower than red. The general consensus is that this is an undeniably differentiating factor behind their distinct characteristics of sweetness and body.
Beans here are hand-picked when ripe and we saw many beautiful drying patios laid out before us like giant, shimmering, golden, yellow, horizontal Rothko colour fields. There is a particular knack to picking yellow cherries, which at first sight seem to be all of a much more similar hue to red. Once pointed out that it is the skins that have freckles or brown striations like a banana it seems obvious. We all know when a banana is ripe, right?
Imagine making that call millions of times a day at the height of the season? These all important good decisions made by the pickers ensure that we get perfectly matured cherries going through to the rest of the processing.
The Final Stages
The pickings are spread out thinly on the ground to dry, just one cherry thickness. They are regularly turned until they are taken to the mill for hulling and bagging. Bags are then received by Cocarive in their purpose-built warehouse, cleaned again and laser sorted for any colour defects. Density tables split the beans into screen sizes and the coffee is finally bagged just before export.
Home to Roast
Back in the Atkinsons Coffee Roastery when we open the inner Grain-Pro bag inside the coffee sack, we are immediately transported back to that perfect evening when the Flight of the Toucans over the fields of coffee marked the perfect end to the perfect day.
All we need now is an espresso machine and a café full of people eager to try this latest version of our Stereotype Espresso...