Golden raisin, marzipan, and brown sugar on the nose introduce a pleasantly juicy cup with flavors of fresh pineapple, raspberry, and lime that are nicely balanced by a rich black tea quality on the finish.
Benefiting from hilly topography and above average rainfall, the state of Espírito Santo is increasingly recognized as a source of dynamic, complexly layered coffees that challenge overly-generalized notions regarding Brazilian coffee quality. This lovely field blend was produced by Marcos Tomazini, a skilled farmer from the community of Bateia whose family has been producing coffee in Espírito Santo for generations.
Brazil is, by some distance, the largest producer of coffee in the world. Despite the loss of an even more commanding market share due to the growth of newer market players such as Vietnam, Brazil’s coffee farms still produce approximately one-third of the world’s annual coffee harvest. But while the Brazilian coffee industry is the most efficient and industrialized in the world, the yield-driven agricultural practices that characterize many of its larger coffee estates have handicapped the quality potential of many Brazilian coffees.
For example, large-scale coffee plantations in Brazil commonly use harvesting machines that shake the coffee trees to quickly remove all the coffee cherries, irrespective of ripeness. Even on farms where the coffee is hand-picked, a “strip-picking” approach, where underripe, ripe, and overripe coffee cherries are all cleared from the branches in a single pass, is commonly employed. But while it is perhaps understandable that Brazil has not always enjoyed a reputation for producing coffees of the highest quality, it is undeniably true that Brazilian coffees can be absolutely delightful. This stellar microlot from Marcos Tomazini, a farmer from the coffee producing region of Espírito Santo, is a case in point.
Located just to the northeast of the Matas de Minas region, the state of Espírito Santo is the second highest producing area, by volume, in the country. The vast majority of this volume is not arabica but robusta, which serves as a key ingredient in Brazil’s booming instant coffee industry. But despite robusta’s dominance, many small farms in Espírito Santo do produce arabica, and Passenger’s green buying team has been incredibly impressed with the quality of the coffees that we have tasted from this region in recent years. Two main factors seem to account for this. First, the topography of the region is quite hilly compared to other coffee producing areas in Brazil. The hilly terrain makes it difficult for coffee to be harvested mechanically (better cherry selection) and complicates the formation of large coffee estates, with the consequence that many coffee farms are relatively small and remain family owned and operated. Secondly, Espírito Santo receives more rainfall than many other coffee regions in Brazil and its humid climate makes wet processed coffees much more common in contrast to the naturals and pulped naturals that are ubiquitous in much of the country. Hence the fact that Espírito Santo is increasingly known as the source of lively, sweet, and impressively clean wet processed microlots, providing a compelling retort to reductive and inaccurate assumptions regarding the quality potential of Brazilian coffee.
Marcos Antônio Tomazini is a member of the community of Bateia, located in the municipality of Castelo, Espírito Santo. As with many of their neighbors, the Tomazini family is descended from Italian immigrants who arrived in the region in the early 1900’s. Marcos and his brother Valdeir grew up in the coffee business, and currently manage the family farm that was established by their parents. Since a switch from commodity to specialty coffee production in 2001, the Tomazini brothers have steadily built an international reputation as two of the most accomplished and innovative producers in the Espírito Santo region. This delightful microlot, harvested in late autumn 2021, is a fitting testament to the achievement of the Tomazini family, and only increases our interest in Espírito Santo: a perennial source of some of the finest Brazilian coffees our team has tasted to date.