What’s Unique: This Yellow Catuai is the fruitiest (if that’s a word) Brazil that we have cupped this year. Our nickname is ‘sweet yellow’.
Producer: Jose´ Maria de Oliveira Harvest: Fall 2018 Farm: Fazenda Serrinha Region: Cerrado Mineiro, Minas Gerais, Brazil Altitude: 1200m Variety: Yellow Catuai Process: Natural Certifications: RFA, UTZ, 4C Taste Notes: Strawberry Shortcake, Orange, Sweet, Velvety Price: $16.99 / 400g
Fazenda Serrinha was acquired by Jose Maria in 2004. Everything on the farm, José constructed with his bare hands, including the very first light post on the property. The main house on the farm is located on Fazenda Serrinha where José Maria and his family resides. The farm is home to the drying patios, raised beds, wet mill, silos, orchard, garden, and horse stables. Yellow Catuai is a variety of coffee that ripens a deep yellow colour – as you can tell by the beautiful picture above – rather than the more common red types.
What’s Notable: Coffee was first planted in Java by Dutch colonists in the 17th century. No wonder we call it ‘java’!
This coffee comes from small holder farmers near the town of Laspada in West Java. Fresh coffee cherries are carefully chosen and pulped in small batches. Fermented overnight and washed clean, the parchment coffee is dried on raised beds in bamboo greenhouses. This is one truly hand-crafted coffee!
Taste: Soft, ripe fruit tones of plum, cherry and caramel.
Monteblanco Purple Caturra Colombia is a complex coffee with a svelte sweetness and tasting notes of pear and almond, with a syrupy sweet body. Our roast brings body with a silky texture, balanced acidity and a delicately tangy finish.
What’s Unique: A variety named “purple caturra” by family farm manager Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia due to the cherries on these coffee shrubs maturing a dark purple colour rather than the normal red ripe colour for the caturra cultivar.
About Finca Monteblanco: located high along the winding mountain roads of Vereda La Toroca in the San Adolfo municipality above Pitalito, is a family farm managed by Rodrigo Sanchez Valencia in the tradition of coffee cultivation that began with his grandfather. Monteblanco’s 18 hectares sit on the crest of a hill, with the wet and dry mill at the top and slopes of coffee planted below.
In 2002, Rodrigo participated in a local program teaching local children of coffee producers to cup. Before that, he and his family had never considered coffee in terms of cup profile. By learning to differentiate profiles, he and his father and grandfather were able to able to make the connections between the farming techniques they applied and coffee’s attributes in the cup.
At this time, Rodrigo also began to learn about cupping competitions that evaluate the best lots from farms in a region. He noticed that farms would win one year and then never again, so he decided to investigate how to produce quality coffee consistently. This led him to explore the trees planted on Monteblanco, were he discovered various cultivars his grandfather had planted in the 1980’s.
One of these varieties is Purple Caturra, a type of Caturra whose cherries ripen to a deep purple color. All cherries harvested are measured for degrees Brix. Based on sugar content indicated, the team at Aromas del Sur, the umbrella group of Monteblanco, Progreso, and La Loma farms, then designates which processing method is appropriate. Coffees with 24-27 degrees Brix are processed as washed coffees, beginning with depulping cherries they day they are harvested.
Coffee is fermented between 28 and 32 hours, fully washed with clean water, transferred to the solar dryer for several days, and finally moved to shaded raised beds to complete the drying process. Floaters are removed at the first stage prior to pulping to produce clean, consistent coffees that represent the terroir of the farm.
Rodrigo is proud that he, his wife Claudia Samboni, farm manager Don Gerardo, and the team that works in the fields and at the mill have reached the goal of achieving consistent quality. Each harvest, Finca Monteblanco produces micro-lots that serve as competition coffees around the world, but the farm also consistently produces containers of delicious coffees that appear year-round on café menus and retail shelves. By applying an ethic of rigorous monitoring, planning, and management of each stage of production and processing, all coffees from Monteblanco showcase their full potential.
Harvesting and processing on Monteblanco have evolved with the times, adapting to a changing climate that yields harvest dispersed through ten months of the year rather than in a concentrated peak.
The Myth about Mycotoxins in Coffee
Is your morning cup doing you more harm than help? Study after study has been done on the health benefits of coffee, but not everyone agrees that the benefits outweigh the consequences. Some claim that commercial coffee is contaminated with dangerous mycotoxins, which can cause people to perform badly and have a higher risk of disease.
What are Mycotoxins?
Mold, which is a type of fungus, is found almost everywhere in very small quantities. Mold can grow on edible crops and produce by-products called mycotoxins. There are hundreds of different mycotoxins with different functions. For example, mycotoxins are used to create the antibiotic Penicillin. We’re mostly interested in the two mycotoxins that are found most commonly in coffee: Aflatoxin B1 and Ochratoxin A. Aflatoxin B1 is a known carcinogen and is also commonly found in peanuts, corn, tree nuts, and dairy. Ochratoxin A hasn’t been studied as much, but it has been associated with kidney disease, and it is also commonly found in grains. However, it’s important to remember that “the dose makes the poison.”
Mycotoxin Prevention and Regulation
Generally speaking, high moisture content, high humidity, and high temperatures can promote the growth of mold and related toxins. The standards of processing and storing green coffee can reduce the growth of mold by regulating these factors, and studies have found that the roasting process can destroy up to 80% of mycotoxins. Additionally, the FDA has regulated mycotoxins in food and drinks for years, and the amount that they allow is far below the amount you would have to ingest to cause yourself harm. If you’re really worried about mycotoxins, you can buy single origin coffee from regions at a higher elevation that has been wet processed. Higher elevation reduces the chance of a high moisture content, and wet processing discourages the growth of mold in green beans compared to dry processing.
Mycotoxins are by-products of mold that can be found in many things, including coffee, grains, and tree nuts, but they are only harmful if they’re ingested in large amounts. FDA regulations only allow a very small amount of mycotoxins in food and drinks, and most coffee is processed with the intention of reducing mold growth. If you want to reduce your exposure to mycotoxins in coffee, you can buy high mountain grown single origin coffee that has been wet processed. At the end of the day, the health benefits of coffee outweigh the negatives, so feel free to enjoy your pick-me-up without worry.