Brazil Prima Qualita

Our Brazil Prima Qualita is a premier 17/18/19 screen blend of dry process and pulp natural coffees from some of Brazil’s best growing regions. Having been developed through careful research, expert regional cuppers source the blend from Minas Gerais and the tropical Cerrado savannas to the south, curating the ideal Brazilian specialty offering from their best scoring cups. The result is an ensemble with great body, light acid, pronounced sweetness and a fantastic aroma. This is a marquis Vournas Coffee offering that’s been a featured selection in our lineup since way back in 2002 and currently in its 17th year for good reason.

As the world’s top producer of arabica coffee, Brazil is sometimes unfairly portrayed as a blender-type or non-descript origin, best used for crema in espresso or a base, chocolate note with drip. The Prima Qualita however shatters that notion, standing alone as a special selection our-over or a high-quality, single origin espresso. In the cup it’s sweet with notes of orange-citrus and has a notably buttery and heavy body, very low acid and very good balance.

The Prima Qualita is sourced from Bourbon, Caturra and Typica, mostly grown on small farms and even partially handpicked—a rarity from Brazil, where harvesting is predominantly mechanized. Brazil produces many different varietals on its vast, 10,000+ acres of rolling hills, Caturra being the most popular, and Typica and Bourbon generally produced in smaller amounts. Caturra has consistently performed well due to its high yield, consistent good flavor and physical characteristics that make it suitable for mechanized harvesting; a critical component of Brazil’s coffee infrastructure. In fact Brazil is the only country in the world where large machinery can even access the farms, and it’s a good thing too – in order to meet worldwide demand millions of tons of coffee need to be produced and exported each year. On top of that you’ve got a majority of Brazilians who are proud and voracious coffee lovers in their own right!

The mill purchases varietals from several different farming groups in order to create the Prima blend. The ‘Cerrado’ portion of the blend comes from southern Minas Gerais, and is dry processed and low in acidity, imparting a nice sweetness and good amount of body to the overall cup. The second Minas Gerais portion has very good acidity, mixes well with the Cerrado and is produced and sourced from one region’s highest quality sustainable producers. The ‘Otimo’ (or excellent) portion is a pulp natural that uses only fully ripened beans carefully selected to impart the distinct orange-citrus note and additional acidity in the cup. Pulp natural Otimo cherries are stripped of their skin and slowly dried in the sun with a portion of the natural fruit mucilage left intact. Once processed and blended, Prima Qualita parchment is milled to strict specifications, removing any defects, broken beans or blacks and passed through a 17/18 screen final stage, creating one of the highest grade and quality Brazilian coffees on the market.

Arabica coffee originally arrived in South America by way of Suriname thanks to Dutch colonials in the early part of the 18th century. From there it was carried across the eastern border into French Guinea, where as legend has it, it was given to the Brazilian naval officer Francisco de Melo Palheta as a gift from the Governor’s wife of French Guinea and planted in 1727 within the Brazilian state of Pará. This single tree eventually spurned an entire industry—in 1770 farms were quickly established in Rio de Janeiro and shortly thereafter in São Paulo and Minas Gerais, where the first plantations continued a rapid expansion throughout the early 1800s. By the 1830s Brazil was already accounting for roughly 30% of the world’s entire production; coffee had surpassed all other agricultural products including sugar to meteorically become the nation’s #1 export. In fact through the 1820s, Brazil was supplying virtually 100% of the world’s coffee! By the end of the 1800s the Brazilian coffee industry accounted for 16% of Brazil’s overall GDP and 75% of its exporting trade.

For over 150 years Brazil has been the world’s single largest producer. Today the Brazilian coffee industry employs roughly 3.5 million workers and accounts for a third of worldwide total production. In 2011 some 200,000 individual farms produced a staggering 2.9 million tons of green coffee! These farms cover a combined 10,000+ acres of land stretching from the states of Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, Sao Paulo, Bahia, Rondônia, and Paraná. The coffee commodities and futures market is largely dependent on Brazil and the world’s other top producers to determine coffee’s daily trade value; only petroleum is traded more frequently and in higher volumes than that of coffee. Year-to-year Brazilian weather patterns are watched with intense scrutiny, as any perceived changes in Brazil’s output/performance has the potential to greatly affect worldwide production, availability and pricing.

Cupping Notes: Sweet, balanced, notes of orange-citrus, a buttery, heavy body, and very low acid.
Producer: Guaxape
Variety: Bourbon, caturra, typica
Processing: Dry
Altitude: 3,000 - 6,000 ft
Coffee Grading: 17/18 Screen
Harvest: May — October