This microlot comes from a small Brazilian producer Joao Hamilton and his brother Ivan dos Santos. Obata is still very rare Brazilian variety
Until 2006, Joao and Ivan, producers from Caconde region of Sao Paulo, focused their work predominantly on the commodity market. That meant growing and processing as much coffee as they could without considering the impact of heavy use of synthetic chemicals on their farms. Not mentioning the poor quality of the final product. The reality of “C” market (low prices, volatility etc.) together with the unsustainable farming practices, forced Joao and Ivan to either quit coffee farming altogether or change their philosophy drastically.
In cooperation with Marcos Croce and his son Felipe from Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF), they decided to give it a go in the specialty market. First, they focused on improving picking (ripe cherries only), separating the crop into microlots based on cultivars and paying close attention to the drying process (using African beds). Later, they also included many principles of organic farming into their lives.*
Obata is a hybrid developed in IAC laboratories (Instituto Agronomico de Campinas), and is a rarely-seen Arabica varietal (which shares just a tiny bit of Robusta genes), with a sprawling family tree. Obata is the result of cross-breeding Catimor (a mutation of Timor), Mundo Novo (a mutation of Bourbon), Tupi (another hybrid found in Brazil), and finally, Red Catuai. This combination helps to not only create the coffee’s unique floral flavor, but also imparts the tree with its resistance to rust and pests.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping the Brazil Obata, from Reunion Island Coffee in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Feel free to pull up a chair.
origin: Caconde, Sao Paulo, Brazil
farm: Novo Canaa
producer: Joao Hamilton, Ivan dos Santos
association: Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza
elevation: 1200 – 1350 meters above sea level
Opening the bag, and especially while brewing it, the Brazil Obata’s aroma is Peanut Butter City. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a coffee that featured such a massive peanut butter scent—not like this. Like a natural Yirg’s characteristic big berry bomb, this Brazil Obata just unleashed a big peanut butter bomb in my kitchen. I’m also detecting chocolate and tropical fruits, but its peanut butter scent is the really dominant note.
Taking my first few sips, the taste follows the nose but also offers complexity; there are a few elements here in the cup that weren’t present in the aroma. This is a medium-bodied coffee that feels lighter on the tongue, and it has a really complex mouthfeel that seems to be equally creamy, juicy, and silky. Again, really big flavors of dark chocolate and peanut butter, and even some cashew nuances—a flavor combination not unlike Nutella, really. Beneath those notes are where the complexities lay. Sweet candied fruits (cranberry jam, apple, blackberry, honeydew), merlot, tart rhubarb… This is a clean and balanced cup, and it ends with a clean, satisfying finish.
Brazil Obata is nicknamed the “Brazilian Gesha”—probably because of the complexity it brings. If that’s the case, then the nickname fits—Reunion Island Coffee’s Brazil Obata was filled to the brim with complexities and surprises.
When I opened the bag and a peanut butter bomb exploded in my kitchen, and when peanut butter, chocolate, and cashew were the initial flavors, I assumed that I was in for the standard Brazilian flavor profile (though, granted, a very elevated version of the standard Brazilian flavor profile)—nuts, chocolate, and mild fruits. And while the cup certainly started out that way, it quickly became something much more than that.
It’s a real shame that this coffee sold out so quickly after I received it, because this was a really special selection that I would have highly recommended experiencing.
*content courtesy of Doubleshot
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