Fazenda Mariano stretches 80 hectares across the Sao Domingos Mountain Range just 17 km from the Municipality of Pocos de Caldas (South Minas Gerais). With 18º C average temperature and undulating topography, the land has presented excellent conditions for the Barbosa family to farm here for four generations running. The farm was founded in 1909 by Manoel Ignácio Barbosa, current owner Manoel Barbosa Junqueira’s great-grandfather, and since then has grown to be one of the most well respected farms in the Sul de Minas region.
Coffee production is the primary activity undertaken by the farm (other activities include rearing Nelore and Brangus cattle, pigs and some corn), and only the most modern, ecologically-sound and socially correct practices are used. Special care is taken to ensure harmony between man and nature, and the environment is always given precedence. Waste water from the coffee washing process is recycled and rain water is conserved through a series of catchment tanks.
Equally, the welfare of workers on the farm is taken seriously. All employees are registered according to Brazilian employment and labor laws and receive full employment and labor rights. Their children go to schools located within the surrounding area or in nearby Pocos de Caldas, and students who live on the farm are provided with free transportation to their schools.
When approximately 70% of the coffee cherries are ripe, coffee is manually harvested and then delivered on the same day to be washed, pulped and spread in thin layers on an outdoor patio. After approximately two days, the beans are moved to an indirect heat rotary drier. The drier is used during the day, always taking utmost care that the internal temperature doesn’t reach above 40º C. In the evenings, the drier is turned off for the coffee to rest and cool. This mechanical drying takes approximately three days, and at the end, the coffee beans are transferred to bins, waiting for the moment in which they will be dry milled and exported.
Quality is of the utmost importance at Brazil Fazenda Mariano. Junqueira, together with his two sons, Henrique and Ricardo – an Agronomist and an Agricultural Technician who now manage the farm – are involved in the sustainable development of the property and work always to improve coffee quality. The Farm regularly employees independent consultants to help advise on the most up-to-date farming methods and is in a state of constant evolution. In the beginning of 2006 a coffee bean washing and processing center was built, investment that enabled the farm to present coffee to the speciality market. Indeed, Fazenda Mariano is in a state of constant improvement – always looking for coffee quality in accordance with the environment that nurtures it.*
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Brazil Fazenda Mariano, from Metropolis Coffee Company in Chicago, Illinois. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: Pocos de Caldas, Sul de Minas, Minas Gerais
farm: Brazil Fazenda Mariano
producer: Manoel Barbosa Junqueira
elevation: 980 meters above sea level
cultivars: Bourbon, Catuai, Mundo Novo
process: pulped natural
There’s a sweet aroma coming off this cup of Brazil Fazenda Mariano; sweet, but subdued. Scents of peanut butter and milk chocolate pervade the nose, followed by mellow nuances of citrus.
Taking my first few sips of the cup, the flavor definitely follows the nose. It’s the prototype of a classic South American breakfast coffee; more specifically, it’s the prototype of the classic Brazilian coffee. This is a sweet coffee; but it’s mild, mellow, subdued. It’s a medium-bodied coffee with a smooth, honeyed mouthfeel, and it features a very nut-forward flavor profile. While the aroma featured a prominent peanut butter scent, the flavor is a bit more akin to its hazelnut-infused counterpart, Nutella (which is even further accentuated by flavors of honey and dark chocolate). There is a bit of fruitiness in the cup – a sweet, candied citrus acidity and maybe some faint traces of raisin – but the real star of that show is the coffee’s nuttiness.
Medium body; honeyed mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
Brazilian coffees are renowned for being mellow and sweet; and Metropolis Coffee Company’s Brazil Fazenda Mariano is the quintessential Brazilian coffee; the classic South American breakfast coffee. In that regard, it’s a little one-dimensional. There’s no complexity and there are no surprises; this coffee is about as straightforward as they come.
But that’s not to say that it isn’t provide a delicious cupping experience. The coffee may be mellow and subdued, but it is oh so candied sweet.
*content courtesy of Mercanta
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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.