Fazenda Pinhal, is nestled in the rolling hills surrounding the town of Santo Antonio do Amparo. A family farm which has been producing coffee since 1864, and is one of the first estates in that area to produce arabica coffee. The family house dates to 1824 and was restored to original specifications when they purchased the land. Using local and found items they have created a wonderful time capsule, which is also a modern home. An example, here are some church doors that date to the original church in the town of Santo Antonio, from the middle 19th century.
Purchased by father Joao Teixeira in the early 90’s, daily operations and coffee production is now managed by Pedro Teixeira. Since Pedro started taking over about 3 years ago, his main focus has been on protecting the farms 6 different natural aquifers. These have long been the main source of water for production of coffee and their protection is the key to making Pinhal a sustainable operation. On my visit last summer Pedro explained that working with the Rainforest alliance certification people has been a great help to preserving the farms natural beauty.
Pictured above are 3 stages of coffee production from Fazenda Pinhal. On the left are the yellow cherries of Yellow Bourbon. Freshly picked they are quite sweet, much like a honey or nectar. in the middle are natural dried cherries. These cherries are picked by machine and then the ripest are separated by sifters and sent out to the patios to dry. These are called ”full” natural. The right picture is of ”pulped natural” parchment in the drying phase. After being picked and partially de-pulped, these coffees are left to dry with a small amount of mucilage still on the outside. The mucilage is the sweet, sugary guts of the cherry, that surrounds the seeds. Coffees are outside drying for 5-8 days. Full natural provides an extra layer of sweetness and fermentation, while pulped naturals are a bit cleaner and have more simple well defined structure.
Both pulped naturals and naturals are spread to dry in the afternoon sun. constantly turned with rakes to ensure even drying and piled in the afternoons to avoid moisture collection and allow the coffee to dry slowly.
This year we bought 3 different lots of coffee from Fazenda Pinhal. Our main lot, is the Pulped natural, Mundo Novo, the same that we used last year and is used in the Kaffa Klassics, Latte, Go’Kvall & Espresso Inferno. Then two microlots, Pulped natural, Topazio and Natural, Yellow Bourbon. The Topazio is a new variety for us and we think it offers a bit more complexity. Both will be featured as espresso in our bar and daily batch brews. The low acidity makes them very easy to drink and also provides the perfect opportunity to brew them as espresso. In the espresso cup the sweet, purple fruit and jammy quality of these coffees is really on display, producing a cup of excellent cleanliness and great drinkability. The flavors of sugar cane and hints of light red and orange fruit, with predictable but pleasant cashew in the finish. The key, is too let the coffee truly cool before drinking. As with many delicate coffees like this, the subtle flavors just don’t pop out when the beverage is too warm. I think it’s not common to think of Brazilian coffees as delicate, but they are and as such the require more patience than many others.
This is Rabico. It is my firm belief that every good farm has at least one farm dog, that lives well and keeps a keen eye on the entire operation. Rabico, which means ”bob-tail” in Portuguese, is that dog at Fazenda Pinhal.
One of the most amazing things about Pinhal are the birds. There are so many tropical birds, that fly throughout the nature preserve and all around the coffee plantation, they are truly amazing. At over 914 total hectares, it is a massive sprawling plot of land, of which only about 390 hectares are planted with coffee, the rest is a nature preserve and some former eucalyptus forests, which are slowly being returned to their natural state.
Official handshake photo. Our visits, communication and continued cooperation with Pedro and Fazenda Pinhal has been really great. We have learned a lot about Brazilian coffee and we have lots more good stuff to come over the next few years. Stay tuned for more great coffees from Fazenda Pinhal.