We are proud to announce the addition of four limited-release microlot coffees from Brazil to Nossa Familia Coffee's offerings. Each of the four farms' relationships with us - whether from a cousin, an old friend or new - is as varied as the coffees themselves. We invite you to learn more about what distinguishes a 'microlot' from other coffees, and what makes these particular Brazilian coffees so special.
by Augusto Carneiro, Owner & Founder of Nossa Familia Coffee
Micro-lots and single-origin. Cultivars and varietals. Honey, natural and washed process. What is all of this coffee jargon about?! Pretty confusing to say the least. In this post we’ll be tackling ‘micro-lots’ and ‘single-origin.’
These two terms have become very prevalent in the specialty coffee arena in recent times. If micro-lot coffees are all single-origin, why aren’t all single-origin coffees micro-lots?! What do these terms really mean? Don’t panic, I’m going to break it down by sharing the story behind our new series of Brazilian micro-lots.
Starting with ‘micro-lot’ - this is a designation that tells us the farmer produced only a small quantity of this coffee, typically ranging from 1 bag (132lbs) up to 20 bags. Some larger roasters consider up to 70 bags to be micro-lots. Nope, there are no industry standards or rules. It’s up to you as the consumer to trust the roaster and taste the coffee for yourself and decide if you like it, and if you like it enough to pay a premium for the coffee, or not!
‘Single-origin’ simply tells us that the coffee is NOT a blend of coffees from multiple countries. The coffee literally is from a single country (thus origin). Origin also gets narrowed down to single farms. Most roasters only use this designation if the coffee is from a specific lot within a farm. Again, there are no industry standards, so larger roasters can blend coffee from multiple farms in multiple regions in the same country and still call it a single-origin coffee. Cheaters!!! Well, not really, again it’s up to you as the consumer to learn about the roaster and their business practices, taste the coffee, and if you love it, great!
Nossa Familia Coffee was started as a single-origin company (we like to say, before this term was hip!). We sourced all our coffee from my family’s farm in Brazil. As we’ve grown we decided we wanted to ABMF in other countries (ABMF = Always Be Making Friends, one of our core values). So we started traveling, meeting other farmers and discovering awesome new sources of delicious coffee. We always remain true to our family roots, maintaining close relationships and communication with farmers, and often working with single family farmers and cooperatives.
This past year I had an opportunity to visit other Brazilian farmers. It was such an inspiring trip that I decided to curate a specific set of Brazilian micro-lots from 4 distinct regions. These coffees truly showcase the beauty, distinction, and variety of Brazilian coffee. We also designed special labels to draw attention to their uniqueness. Here is a little bit of information about each of these farms and their coffee:
Sitio Boa Vista – It was a delight to meet Celso, Gertrudes and their son last year. ‘Boa Vista’ translates into ‘good view’ – and it’s really a misnomer, it should be ‘amazing view.’ Their humble farm is on the higher slopes of the Mogiana region, and they have an inspiring story. People around the world have been migrating from rural areas to the cities. Not Celso and Gertrudes! They got tired of city life and thought that was no place to bring up their son. So they took their savings and took a risk in purchasing this land. Through hard work, dedication and faith, they’ve been able to build a simple but beautiful house, with and amazing view, and have many, many coffee awards to proudly display in their living room.
Fazenda Aterradinho – This coffee was discovered by my cousin in a recent regional competition. The most exotic of our Brazil micro-lots. The farm is in a high altitude area at 1,100MASL (meters above sea level), the varietals are catuai and Mundo Novo (both in the Arabica family), and the coffee went through post-harvest process known as ‘Natural’ (whereas the coffee beans are dried within the coffee cherry, retaining a great amount of sweetness and fruitiness).
Fazenda Vereda – This farm belongs to a distant cousin (Cristiano Ottoni), and this coffee breaks paradigms. This farm is in the Cerrado region of Brazil at ‘only’ 800 meters above sea level, it is a huge farm, and the harvest is done with equipment. So all traditional indications (large, lower elevation, not hand-picked) would be that this coffee would be meh, commercial grade. It is not. It surprises the palate and is a total crowd pleaser.
Fazenda Recreio – I couldn’t leave Recreio out of my curated series! This is the seed, the origin, the birthplace of coffee for my family. This is where it all started in the 1890’s, and now Diogo (my third degree cousin) is doing an excellent job of continuing and perfecting the coffee production that was started by our great-grandfather and his 3 brothers over 120 years ago. Recreio is known internationally by many roasters and (some of you may recall) has done extremely well in the ‘Cup of Excellence’ competition.
I hope you get to taste some – or all – of these wonderful coffees! They are available now at our Espresso Bar and online in 12oz bags. We have also created a special box of all four, perfect for sampling and seeing if you can taste the differences!
Tchau and all the best,