Sitio Alto Santa Joana
Located on the east coast of Brazil, the mountainous region of Espirito Santo captures vast amounts of humidity from the south Atlantic ocean, with higher rainfall and chillier days and nights than would be experienced further inland. The weather patterns combined with steep, hilly topography (some of Brazil’s highest mountains are located in this region) delay the maturation of coffee cherries, allowing the development of sugars and complex acids that are the foundation of top-quality complex coffee.
But this also presents challenges – the weather and geography mean that using the traditional Brazillian methods for drying coffee (as a natural process with the cherry intact) can take up to 60 days, with frequent rain and humidity leaving problems of mould and Rio defect. As a result, the majority of coffee production in Espirito Santo is of low-grade Robusta. A revolution in technique (pulping the coffee prior to drying, using shaded patios or raised beds to ensure even airflow and protection against moisture) allowed producers in the region to take control of the drying process – unlocking some of the best coffee that Brazil has to offer.
Valdir Mansk is a third-generation coffee farmer who converted his production towards speciality grade coffee in 2010 with the purchase of a de-pulper. His 12HA farm Alto Santa Joana grows Red Bourbon and Yellow Caturra under the cooling protection of cedar shade trees, and dries his coffee on a covered patio making sure to control the drying process precisely. Bourbon and Caturra varietals are rare to find in Brazil – although possessing a high cup quality, their susceptibility to diseases such as coffee leaf rust has meant a widespread adoption of more resistant varietals such as Catuai.
We’re loving Valdir’s coffee brewed on Aeropress to accentuate the juicy acidity and creamy body. Brewing inverted, we’re using 16g of coffee to 240g of 96c fresh soft water, brewing for 2 minutes before stirring, flipping and plunging slowly for a total brew time of 3 minutes.
For the more advanced home or pro espresso user, this coffee can also be brewed as Espresso. We profile our filter coffees for bright, clean and juicy sweetness, and as such we recommend a starting recipe of 18g, 36g out with a shot time of around 30-33s. Espresso brewed in this style is fantastic for black coffee with great clarity of flavour, and starting with this recipe and adjusting to your water, equipment and taste preference should result in an exceptional espresso, long black or Americano.