Single Estate Coffee - BRAZIL, Santuario Sul, Sul de Minas, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Producer: Luiz Paulo Vieira Pereira.
Growing altitude: 1250m above sea level.
Botanical variety: Sudan Rume.
Tasting notes: Molasses, almond, plum, peach, cherry, cedar, hibiscus flavours.
Roast date: 21 April, 2021
The Santuario Sul project, began almost five years ago, with collaboration with Camilo Merizalde, the pioneering Colombian behind the Santuario project, plus the Santuario fermentation expert, Ivan Solis, from Costa Rica.
The farm currently has 30 hectares of land in coffee production, and they aim to expand to 70 hectares very soon.
Their goal from the offset was for the farm to be different,“ Luiz Paolo said. “If we do the usual things, it’s just another farm in Brazil. The farm is bringing together Brazilian terroir with Central and South American styles.”
They began by planting different varietals, 25 in total, making it the biggest coffee garden in Brazil. Last year they harvested their first crop of Sudan Rume and this year saw the first harvest of SL28 come to market.
The next step from planting exotic varieties was to experiment with processing, specifically anaerobic fermentation. Rather than import expensive equipment from overseas, the team looked in their own backyard.
Carmo de Minas is dairy country — Luiz Paulo's grandmother is as famous for her cows as she is for coffee — so they bought a fermentation tank used for cheese making and got to work in experimenting. The closed steel tanks are easy to clean and feature double walls and temperature controls, which Ivan Solís adapted to the exact temperature range required for coffee processing.
The tank used on Santuario Sul can process 2000 liters of cherries - around ten bags of green coffee.
Coffee production in Brazil played a role in the country's history and is important for the Brazilian economy. Minimum wage has increased to about $500 per month and although this is a low salary on any scale, these wages mean that the work of selective hand-picking coffee cherries represents up to 2/3 of the total cost of coffee production, even when coffee is sold at a 100% premium over commodity coffee.
The Santuario Sul project highlights the potential and future of coffee in Brazil, often overlooked as a destination that lacked fruit driven complex tasting coffees.