This farm and its coffee sparked a massive change in what I thought I knew about coffee. I remember the first time I ever cupped this coffee: time stood still as the cup opened my mind to what great coffee is and can be. Gabriel de Carvalho Dias, the farmer, continues to produce great coffee year on year, and this coffee still holds a very special place in my heart.
Gabriel is one of Brazil’s leading agronomists. His family owns several farms, all of which border one another. Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama is 417 hectares in size – that’s 4 square kilometres! That sounds huge, but it’s not uncommon for farms to be more than 1,000 hectares.
Because of the mountainous terrain, however, only 64 hectares are planted with coffee, and it's all picked and maintained by hand. The mill is located close to the spa town of Poços de Caldas, which is 45 minutes away from the farm.
Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama has been in the Carvalho Dias family since 1890. It's located in São Paolo state, just three miles from the border with Minas Gerais state. It enjoys the typical characteristics of the mountainous Mogiana and Sul de Minas regions, and it's located at an altitude of 1,100–1,250 metres above sea level.
Their farm has a school, a club and a full-sized soccer field for the employees and workers, and 47 houses – all with modern facilities. The wastewater is treated in order to avoid polluting the stream that runs across the farm. The farm has a small hydroelectric plant, and the farmers only buy energy during the peak harvest.
As well as providing support to the workers, the family have also invested in the farm's coffee processing facilities. This has allowed them to produce one of the most consistent and delicious coffees. They grow mostly Yellow Bourbon, but also Canario and Mundo Novo. It's well-established plant stock, and some of the original Bourbon varietal trees are as much as 108 years old.
They’ve also invested in trying new things, including planting some new varietals and trialling new fermentation experiments with the involvement of experts from the University of Lavras (UFLA) in Minas Gerais.
The Carvalho Dias family consider social and environmental sustainability to be very important. The farm has a programme of planting native species of trees to maintain a better ecological balance.
This is a true classic for us. Once again this year it brings the milk chocolate and hazelnut that will be familiar to many of you! There's a little drizzle of caramel in there too, and a tiny shoulder of dried apricot on the finish. It's got a lovely texture that combines with the nuttiness to make me think of almond butter.
- Country: Brazil
- State: São Paulo
- Municipality: São Sebastião da Grama
- Farm: Fazenda Cachoeira da Grama
- Owner: Lidolpho de Carvalho Dias and family
- Altitude: 1,100–1,250 m.a.s.l.
- Processing: Pulped Natural
- Varietal: Yellow Bourbon
Cupping notes: Milk chocolate, hazelnut, caramel, dried apricot, almond butter
- Clean cup: (1–8): 6
- Sweetness: (1–8): 7
- Acidity: (1–8): 6
- Mouthfeel: (1–8): 7
- Flavour: (1–8): 6.5
- Aftertaste: (1–8): 6
- Balance: (1–8): 6.5
- Overall: (1–8): 7
Correction: (+36): +36
Total (max. 100): 88
Roasting Information: Medium-dark – plenty of development and take it through the gap, but don't take this coffee into second.