Two weeks ago I arrived back from an 8 day trip to Brazil with a coffee wiz from New York, Matt Fury of Bushwick Seed Company. Matt started Bushwick with some people from a coffee retail company ( Think) he works at as a way to support and bring new, good coffee to the market by supporting the farmers growing the coffee. This is done by meeting face to face with the people that produce the coffee and asking questions about what it takes to produce their coffee and listening to what their needs are and at the same time sharing about what happens to the coffee once it lands in the US. From the standpoint of Greenstreet Coffee and as the coffee roasting and now retailer of fine coffees that support sustainability and transparency, I was all about joining Matt on this trip and getting the chance to see eye to eye with people we will have the chance to buy coffee from. To me, this is Direct Trade. It supports, establishes and helps protect fairness in coffee buying while promoting quality and increasing the likelihood of specialty coffee.
On our trip we visited half a dozen farms and had a chance to see some of the largest capacity coffee operations in the world. This is based on annual production of per farm, since Brazil’s climate, altitude and topography makes for perfect mass growing. Brazil may not be the most popular place to find coffee in the world since the coffee is considered second to other origins, but this trip proved that notion wrong in my mind. Quality has everything to do with the separation and preparation that make a coffee seed into a dried bean a good or bad or excellent cup. Most of Brazilian coffee is produced in such large volumes that the care for specialty grade does not rise up, but this is something I learned to be a myth. There are several farms there that are working to separate and differently process coffees to reach the highest levels of quality in the cup. I cupped coffees that were both processed with the traditional washed method, the dry method and the semi-washed.
Over the course of the trip we visited farms in both Alta Mogiana and Cerrado and met with exporters, farmers, brokers and jokers of coffee. It was a great trip and a lot of fun to visit one of the the worlds major growing regions coffee and I am sure Greenstreet’s future includes more coffee from the farms in Brazil. We’re currently working to consider the coming of the crop that we visited there several months from now and in the meantime continuing to roast our Daterra and likely will add one other Brazilian to our line-up for this year. The photos from the trip are up on facebook and please take a look!