July 2018, Jon Whyte
I was lucky enough be invited over to the Ipanema Farm in Minas Gerias, Brazil to learn more about the farm, practices, people and history. We travelled as a group of UK roasters with our importer, learned a lot and made some great new friends (both Brazilian and British!)
Seedlings sprouting in the nursery. 500,000 plants are tended to daily.
The first leaf of a new coffee plant.
A few months old.
The Rio Verde farm. At 1300M, high quality Arabica Coffee is grown (Yellow Bourbon, Yellow Catuai, Acaia). This is separated in to “Glebes” which are traced right through the process from picking, pulping, drying, resting and packing. Each Glebe has it’s own unique characteristics in terms of flavour profile. All the coffees we buy from Ipanema come from Rio Verde.
Some 40 year old Bourbon coffee plants. Even after so many years, these hardy plants are producing a great yield, year on year.
“The crying mountain”. With so much natural water on-site, no irrigation is needed for the crops. A large area of the farm is preserved as a nature reserve.
The reforestation and environmental projects currently underway.
New plants, growing for reforestation.
The drying patio (although not much drying happening on this day!). Usually, coffees are laid out on the patio to dry in the sun. Either in their cherries (Natural), partially removed (Pulped Natural) or fully removed and washed (Washed). These tractors move the coffee around during the day to prevent fermentation and mould.
“Colombian Dryers” reduce the moisture content in a controllable consistent way.
Some washed coffee drying.
This incredible machine sorts the ripe cherries from thew unripe and is over 99% accurate. Beams of light detect the unripe, green cherries and the machine rejects them with a jet of air.
Some cherries drying on “African beds”
Naturals drying inside, out of the rain!
At the lower attitude Conquista Farm the commercial coffees are produced. Whilst we don’t use these coffees, it was great to see the scientific approach Ipanema takes to every part of the process. This drying patio has a huge capacity and the trap-doors in the patio drop the coffee on to conveyors, taking it straight to the dryers.
The typography of Conquista means it is suitable for mechanical picking.
The washing plant and meticulously planted fields behind.
Irrigation is provided by the natural lake close by.
Naturals drying on the patio.
We got the opportunity to taste some fantastic coffees from this years crop.
One of my favourites from the table.
A quick stop over in Sao Paulo on the way home. What a city.
Beco do Batman (Batman Alley). A collection of amazing street art in the heart of Sao Paulo.
At the end of Beco Do Batman, “Isso e Cafe”.
Sao Paulo really is huge!
It was a great privilege to travel to Brazil and spend time with our friends at Ipanema and I’m really excited to bring some of their experimental coffees from this year’s crop to our customers.