Atkinsons - Brazil
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Octaviano Ribeiro Ceglia's Fazenda São Francisco farm in the Mantiqueiras de Minas region of Brazil
Notes of Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut and Fudge
Located in the beautiful Mantiqueira de Minas mountain range in Minas Gerais, Granja São Francisco sits at fairly high altitude for a Brazilian coffee at around 1,300 meters above sea level. The area has ample and frequent rainfall with consistent mild temperatures and is recognised as one of the best coffee growing areas in Brazil.
A family run farm, Granja São Francisco was originally acquired by Otaviano’s grandfather who was a renowned coffee exporter and recognised the Carmo de Minas as a micro region that is perfect for quality coffee. The farm is now run by Otaviano, his wife Maria and their son Luis with a team of 12 full time staff that live on the farm and have access to health care and education. When Otaviano took over the farm in the 90’s he began to diversify the range of varieties grown there. They now cultivate Acaia, Mondo Novo, Yellow Catucai and thanks to their high elevation they also cultivate Red Bourbon and Yellow Bourbon which thrive in slightly higher altitudes than most typical Brazilian varieties.
The Bourbon variety is known to have exceptional sweetness and mild acidity, which explains why it's such a house favourite here at Atkinsons. Yellow Bourbon is a spontaneous mutation that ripens to a yellow colour so requires extra skill from the pickers to differentiate it from under-ripe red bourbon. It has similar flavours to the red but often displays increased acidity and brightness in the cup.
The coffee is hand-picked, mostly by women and the farm is a good source of employment during harvest time in the local town, Carmo de Minas. After picking, the coffee is pulped to remove the skins but leave the sticky mucilage layer in which it is dried. Drying is done first on concrete patios in thin layers (4cm to be exact!) and then in rotating mechanical dryers. Thanks to the ideal terroir of this region and the hard work of the Ceglia family, this coffee has won multiple awards, including coming 5th place in the Cup of Excellence.
Many Brazilian coffees have a low acidity which can make them very popular and approachable coffees. The Sao Francisco Yellow Bourbon too has a low acidity but what stands out to us is the intense sweetness and incredibly clean finish with notes of milk chocolate, hazelnut praline and some fruit notes of melon and apricot.