Today’s coffee comes from the world-renowned Daterra Estate in Brazil. No, unfortunately Daterra Estate is no small family operation, a narrative we like to hear as the source of our coffee. But many importers will tell you that if they have to buy from a bigger farm, Daterra will always be the exception.
Here you have a fairly well-off owner who is clearly passionate and involved in every aspect of the coffee production, despite the fact that this is not his main business. This man is Luis Norberto Pascoal, and he sets the stage for the mission at Daterra: a no-holds-barred approach to achieving maximum cup quality. Luis Pascoal’s continuing scientific research has established Daterra as one of Brazil most innovative and respected farms. Every bag of coffee can be tracked back to the specific lot.
The Sweet Collection is a pulped-natural coffee. The cherry-pulp is removed in a machine, pulpier, and the parchment beans covered by the mucilage are then dried. This develops more body and sweetness than washed coffee with the advantage of having an extra sorting method in the pulpier.
The Sweet Collection is also more or less a cultivar cocktail, with several different cultivars being blended together: Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Mundo Novo, Red Icatu, and Yellow Icatu.
Daterra has developed the state-of-the-art “Penta System”, in order to produce high quality green coffee beans. The Penta® System is a comprehensive approach to control each detail of the coffee quality process. The system, which was developed by Maxxipel, was based on the 6Sigma and Total Quality Program. The software also allows for total traceability. The rigid inspections of the beans yield superb coffees. Penta-sorted ripe and raisin cherries produce a smooth cup of coffee with pleasant acidity and other very special attributes.
The quality delivered is the most important output of the system. Every stage of this unique processing system has been designed to only select the coffee beans that match the high quality window of Daterra. From picking to shipping, only the perfect beans remain in the process.
The Harvesting Methodology uses selective picking. The Penta Log allows the ripe cherries to arrive at the Coffee Quality Preparation Unit in less than two hours. At the Preparation Mill, the cherries are sorted by size, maturity stage, and density. Each cherry batch is identified and tracked throughout the whole process.
Sun Drying is fundamental for the initial reduction in humidity. Thin layers of cherries, spread over heat-insulated concrete patios, are revolved three times an hour by means of special equipment. Drum Drying is essential to finally achieve the perfect moisture level for high quality roasting. The drying curve is monitored through a software that guarantees a stable and smooth drying process.
The Wood Silos, much like big wine barrels, age and soften the green beans for six weeks. This resting stage is mandatory for moisture homogeneity.
The Penta Warehouse preserves coffee beans from heat, infrared waves, ultra-violet rays and air flow, so the roaster will always receive fresh coffee as a result. Certified Organic Jute Bags are used for packing green coffee. In addition Daterra developed, a special Penta Packing, which grants the produce a much longer shelf life than other greens. Roasters can count on freshness, flavor, and aroma.
The green coffee from Daterra is not packed in traditional jute sacks, but in vacuumed and nitrogen-flushed aluminium foil bags which prolongs the life of the green coffee significantly. This has proved to keep—and in some cases improve—quality for over three years of storage.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping a cup of Brazil Daterra Monte Cristo, from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters in New York, New York, courtesy of Craft Coffee. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Cerrado, Minas Gerais, Brazil
farm: Daterra Estate
producer: Luis Norberto Pascoal
elevation: 1150 meters above sea level
cultivar(s): Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Mundo Novo, Red Icatu, Yellow Icatu
certifications: UTZ, Rainforest Alliance
(EDITOR’S NOTE: I don’t feel that it’s fair for me to write a full review of this particular coffee, so I’m going to refrain. Please see the section below for an explanation.)
THE BOTTOM LINE:
I just don’t think that natural-processed coffees are designed for coffee subscription services. You know, by the time the roaster roasts the beans, packages them, ships them to the subscription service, and the subscription service divides them, packages them, and ships them to their subscribers, the beans are already about a week off roast date. Which is bad enough, but, more often than not, perfectly acceptable. Naturals have an even shorter shelf life than standard washed coffees; so, when a natural arrives in the mail a week off roast, you’re already playing with fire.
That was certainly the case for Irving Farm Coffee’s Brazil Daterra Monte Cristo. And that’s a real shame, because I know from previous experiences with it that Daterra produces some really incredible coffee. I would have liked to have tasted this natural when it was fresh and exploding with flavor.
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Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.