Halfwit Coffee Decaf Brazil
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Fazenda Rainha belongs to the Carvalho Dias’ family since 1890. Gabriel de Carvalho Dias, nephew of the owner is responsible for managing the farm, which is located exactly on the border with the State of Minas Gerais, and has the characteristics of the mountainous regions of Mogiana and South Minas. Plantations are handled manually, because the local topography does not allow any type of mechanization.

Social and environmental aspects are considered fundamental by the farm’s management. The farm has a program to plant native species to maintain the ecological balance. Furthermore, the employees live in houses with complete infrastructure; there is a school for their children and a leisure area for the families with a club and an official soccer field. The water used in the farm is treated to avoid polluting its water sources.

Coffee is picked manually on cloth, to avoid that the beans touch the soil. As soon as possible the beans are transferred to the processing area, always on the same day they are picked, to avoid any fermentation risks. After the coffee is picked and arrives at the processing area it is immediately washed, when the beans are separated according to size and density and the dry beans (bóia beans) are separated from the rest, and then the coffee is transferred to the terrace to dry. The other beans are sent to the cherry pulper where only the ripe beans are pulped, separating them from the green beans during this stage.

The cherry pulped beans are dried on a terrace until the coffee reaches 20% humidity. At this stage the beans are transferred to the driers for their humidity level to be reduced to 11%. Subsequently, the coffee is transported to the warehouse – which maintains low humidity levels and is free of odors that may affect coffee. The quality of the coffees produced at Fazenda Rainha is the result of the great dedication and care exerted from planting the nursery trees to harvesting and then processing the beans.

The work performed by Regina Helena Mello de Carvalho Dias and her family to produce distinct quality cups led the coffees produced at her farm to be one of the finalists of the Cup of Excellence Contests – 2000, 2001 and 2005 editions. Furthermore, the coffees produced in Fazenda Cachoeira, which also belongs to the Carvalho Dias family, were classified in the Cup of Excellence Contests of 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2005.

Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Decaf Brazil Fazenda Rainha, from Halfwit Coffee Roasters in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.

THE BASICS:

region: Mogiana,
farm: Fazenda Rainha
producer: Luis Pernando
association: N/A
elevation: 1150 – 1300 meters above sea level
cultivars: Yellow Bourbon
process: Mountain Water Process
certifications: standard

THE BREW:

method: Clever
grind: 20, Preciso
coffee: 32 g
water: 500 mL
bloom: 1:00
pour: 2:00 pour, :10 stir, 2:00 steep, 2:00 drop

THE COFFEE:

There’s not much happening in the aroma of the Decaf Brazil Fazenda Rainha. Not much at all. It’s really dull, but I am smelling some roastiness, which is really surprising. Beneath that there are some very faint scents of that classic Brazilian coffee profile: chocolate and nuts.

Taking my first few sips of the cup, the coffee is roasty and dull, flat on the palate. I am shocked by this. These are not tastes I’m accustomed to from a roaster like Halfwit. It’s bitter too, which might be just because of its (very) dark chocolate notes.

As it cools off, there is a very small, narrow window in which some juicy fruit flavors seep through the cup’s upper crust and ooze onto the palate—cranberry, raisin, pink lady apple, honey, orange juice acidity—but it doesn’t last long. And that window slams down hard, leaving the finish tasting kind of bland and played out. But there is a lingering aftertaste of toasted nuts and rocky road ice cream which is pretty nice.

Medium body; creamy mouthfeel; citrus acidity; clean finish.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

Halfwit Coffe’s Decaf Brazil Fazenda Rainha… Boy, I don’t know. I don’t want to believe what my taste buds are telling me, because I love Halfwit Coffee; but this coffee was not very good. It wasn’t terrible, but…

It just wasn’t good.

I expect a hell of a lot more from Halfwit. I’m willing to give them the benefit of the doubt and say that this was a bad batch or something like that this time, but… With two roasts in a row being over-roasted and dull, I fear a larger trend is afoot.

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