This farm and its coffee sparked a massive change in what I thought I knew about coffee. I remember the first time I ever cupped this coffee: time stood still as the cup opened my mind to what great coffee is and can be. Gabriel de Carvalho Dias, the farmer, continues to produce great coffee year on year, and this coffee still holds a very special place in my heart.
Gabriel is one of Brazil’s leading agronomists. His family owns several farms, all of which border one another. Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama is 417 hectares in size – that’s 4 square kilometres! That sounds huge, but it’s not uncommon for farms to be more than 1,000 hectares! Because of the mountainous terrain, however, only 64 hectares are planted with coffee, and it's all picked and maintained by hand. The mill is located close to the spa town of Poços de Caldas, which is 45 minutes away from the farm.
Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama has been in the Carvalho Dias family since 1890 and is located in São Paolo state, just three miles from the border with Minas Gerais state. It enjoys the typical characteristics of the mountainous Mogiana and Sul de Minas regions, and it's located at an altitude of 1,100–1,250 metres above sea level.
Their farm also has a school, a club and a full-sized soccer field for the employees and workers, and 47 houses – all with modern facilities. As well as providing support to the workers, the family have also invested in the farm's processing facilities. This has allowed them to produce one of the most consistent and delicious coffees. They grow mostly Yellow Bourbon, but also Canario and Mundo Novo. It's well-established plant stock, with some of the Bourbon plants going back over 100 years.
They’ve also invested in trying new things, including planting some new varietals and trialing new fermentation experiments with the involvement of experts from the University of Lavras (UFLA) in Minas Gerais.
This coffee is processed as a Natural: with the ripe fruit dried in the sun before the green bean is removed.
This comes from the rare Canario varietal, which is a Bourbon mutation that originated in Brazil. You can find out more about it here, but what you will notice in the cup is that it adds complexity and acidity compared to Bourbon.
In the cup expect dark chocolate drops and walnut. There's a subtle yellow plum sweetness mixed in as well, which changes into a raisin flavour on the finish.
- Country: Brazil
- State: São Paulo
- Municipality: São Sebastião da Grama
- Farm: Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama
- Processing: Natural
- Varietal: Canario
- Altitude: 1,100–1,250 m.a.s.l.
- Owner: Lidolpho de Carvalho Dias and family
Dark chocolate, walnut, yellow plum, raisin.
Clean cup: (1–8): 6
Sweetness: (1–8): 6.5
Acidity: (1–8): 6
Mouthfeel: (1–8): 6.5
Flavour: (1–8): 7.5
Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
Balance: (1–8): 7
Overall: (1–8): 6.5
Correction (+36): +36
Total (max. 100): 88
Medium dark – through first and develop it through the gap, but drop just as you approach second to emphasise the body but keep the subtle fruit tones.