I had known about Brazil’s Fazenda Camocim region for years before I met Henrique, but primarily for its “famous” Jacu Bird coffee. Like the Civets in Indonesia, the Jacu Birds of Brazil love their coffee cherries, and they know how to zero in on the ripest of them. Unlike their unfortunate caffeinados in Indonesia, the Jacu aren’t caged and force-fed the cherries. I have actually tried both of these “natural process” coffees and can honestly say that where the Civet digestive tract kills anything sweet about a coffee, the Jacu Bird actually adds some “nuance” to it.
I didn’t know about the huge variety of cultivars grown at Fazenda Camocim until I met its owner, Henrique Sloper, on a trip to Brazil in 2010 . . . and then again in 2012 . . . and yet again in 2013. Brazil is a BIG country, but its specialty-coffee community is more like a village. So, I suppose I shouldn’t have been too surprised that I kept bumping into Henrique, especially since I was a judge at the Cup of Excellence on two of those trips — a competition that attracts local members of the specialty-coffee community. (Why do people show up to watch, you ask? I can’t say, because coffee competitions, as opposed to barista competitions, pack all the action and excitement you might find at a chess tournament . . . only with loud slurps.)
It was on my last trip to Brazil when, over drinks following a dinner hosted by the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA) for Cup of Excellence judges, we finally shook hands on a deal, committed to working with each other, and staggered back to the hotel.
After sampling his coffees, we decided we wanted to do something a bit different: create a blended green coffee using our favorites from among all the varietals that we had cupped. So we did, cupping various combinations of four of our five favorite varieties until we found the right proportions. Henrique and his team were kind enough to accommodate us by blending the green coffee we chose (a lot of green coffee) to our specs and creating our proprietary blend:
Catuacai, Yellow Bourbon, Yellow Caturra, and Camocim Peaberry. Because peaberries are the exception rather than the rule with coffee cherries, the Camocim PB is a blend of peaberries from all of the farm’s varieties. The resulting coffee “cocktail” should make for a complex, fascinating brew or single-origin espresso.
Our Organic Brazil Fz. Camocim is a Direct Trade coffee and, like all Groundwork coffees, is certified organic according to the standards set out by the USDA. However, Camocim has the distinction of being our first Demeter-certified biodynamic coffee. More on that in my next post, along with our cupping notes for our arrival sample (we’re waiting) . . .