Names mean a lot. Champagne and Cornish Clotted Cream, Parmigiano-Reggiano and Yorkshire Wensleydale. When you go to these product’s origins (and namesakes), that quality of flavour and the places themselves become intrinsically linked in your mind.
There’s a reason there are laws against mislabelling sparkling wine from outside the area as “Champagne”, because reputation holds weight. But it doesn’t mean that sparkling wine is necessarily of a lesser quality.
Imagine producing an amazingly tasty product in a little-known area, and being scammed out of it by buyers who resell it as if it came from a more well-regarded region. All for their own financial gain. Pretty unfair, right?
Well, that’s exactly what was happening for farmers in the same region as Corrego Dantas.
Speciality, against all odds
The Ilicinea area of Brazil is bombarded with high winds throughout most of the year. This, together with incredibly rocky soil, has historically made it very difficult to grow coffee trees in the region – especially ones of any quality.
Standard Brazilian farming practices don’t tend to work so well, as they were developed for lower-altitude farms, which does tend to count for the majority of other coffee farms. So for farmers like João Paulo França, adaptation was key. He began planting trees around the farm to act as windbreaks, protecting the coffee trees and letting them thrive.
This and a new processing mill has meant speciality grade coffee has started to emerge in the reason. But that’s only solved one problem.
Taking the credit
Because Ilicinea isn’t known for its high quality coffee, farmers are at risk of being exploited by mills buying their cherries to flog as if they’re from somewhere well-known. Which means the area has not yet gained the deserved reputation as an area that can produce great speciality crops.
Pact Coffee working with Corrego Dantas is an attempt to raise the profile of Ilicinea, so farmers can more easily sell their coffees straight away as speciality – at higher prices.
Making the connection
Head of Coffee Will might never have come across this region, or Corrego Dantas in particular, were it not for his relationship with Gabriel. Exporter and mill owner, he’s responsible for Will buying a whole container of coffee from Brazil (and some of those coffees, including Corrego Dantas, will feature on our menu in the next couple of months!).
As you enjoy those coffees, just take a moment to appreciate the extra level of effort it took to find them… Ilicinea is over six hours from where Will and Gabriel normally source from, which meant a very very long car ride between two people who see each other once a year tops. Thank goodness for radio, right?!
Taste the coffee that’s changing the scene
Want to try the coffee that proves you can grow speciality coffee in the most difficult of conditions? Of course you do!
It’s got myriad fruity flavours, owing to the unique growing conditions and the natural processing method. These come in the form of rich cherry and plum notes, followed by a complementary apricot aftertaste. The acidity is a light orange citrus, the mouthfeel is silky, and the sweetness is reminiscent of brown sugar. Buy it here!