Brazil Prima Qualita

Our Brazil Prima Qualita is a premier 17/18 screen blend of cooperatively grown natural process coffee from Minas Gerais, sweet, full-bodied natural process coffee from Cerrado, and a touch of pulp natural coffees to round it out. Grown predominantly by small farm holders in some of Brazil’s best growing regions and developed through careful research by expert regional cuppers, Brazil Prima Qualita is curated to be the ideal Brazilian specialty coffee. The best scoring cups from coop members in southern Minas and Cerrado’s tropical savannas are presented together in this singular ensemble that features a great body, light acid, pronounced sweetness and a fantastic citrusy aroma.

The Brazil Prima Qualita is a marquis Vournas Coffee offering featured in our lineup since 2002—it’s currently in its 18th year for good reason! Of the 15,000+ producers associated with the growing cooperative, approximately 95% of Prima Qualita producers are small farmers. Brazil, being the world’s top producer of arabica coffee, is sometimes unfairly portrayed as a non-descript, blender-type origin for espresso cremas or a chocolatey base note. Our Brazil Prima Qualita shatters this notion, standing alone as either a pour-over or single origin espresso. In the cup it’s sweet with notes of tangerine-orange, apricot and cashew, heavy body, very low acid and very good balance.

Brazil Prima Qualita is sourced from Mundo Novo, Yellow Catuai, Red Catuai, and Icatu, 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, and is in fact 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!

To create the Brazil Prima Qualita, the processing mill acquires three distinct portions of different varieties from three different regions. The ‘Cerrado’ portion comes from southern Minas Gerais, and is dry processed with low acidity, to impart 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 orangey-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, the Brazil 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: Dried Apricot, Orange-Citrus Aroma. Notes of Tangerine-Orange, Apricot and Cashew. Heavy Body, Light Acidity.
Producer: Guaxape Coop
Region: Minas Gerais, Cerrado
Variety: Mundo Novo, Yellow Catuai, Red Catuai, Icatu
Processing: Dry Process & Pulp Natural
Altitude: 3,000 - 6,000 ft (914 - 1828m)
Coffee Grading: 17/18 Screen
Harvest: May - October