Barista Magazine

DEC 2018 - JAN 2019

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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P U L L : E V E N T S MINAS GERAIS, BRAZIL OCTOBER 22–26, 2018 PHOTOS + TEXT BY SARAH ALLEN IN 2013, THE FORÇA CAFÉ COFFEE CHAMPIONSHIP was established in an effort to showcase the coffees of smallholder farmers in several under- recognized regions in Brazil by a partnership between NKG Stockler Ltda., Fazenda da Lagoa, and Hanns R. Neumann Stiftung do Brasil (Neumann Foundation). Having begun as a grassroots competition involving a few international judges and a handful of producers located close to Fazenda da Lagoa outside of Santo Antônio do Amparo, the Força Café event has become an annual showcase that producers from across the state of Minas Gerais look forward to. Further, as the competition has grown in stature and renown, roasters in consuming countries look forward to the auction each year, and the opportunity to purchase coffee from up-and-coming smallholders, some of whom they buy from year after year. While Brazil is known for enormous estates that produce inconceivable amounts of coffee, the majority of the country's production still comes from the producers working tiny plots of land to support their families. More than 80 percent of the farmers use 45 percent of the land to produce 37 percent of the coffee. Compare that to the fact that only 18 percent of producers (giant farms) produce 53 percent of the coffee. According to Alexandre Ferraz of Stockler Comercial e Exportadora Ltda., one of the founders and organizers of the championship, the event was developed "to award a different kind of specialty coffee, the one that is a product of hard work by smallholder farmers and not generated by separating the one lot on the medium- to big-size farm which happened to be at the perfect stage of ripening when harvesting." A jury of 10 assembled at the spectacular Fazenda da Lagoa farm for a week of cupping and visiting smallholders, as well as soaking up some of the area's rich history. The international jury included Michele Mastrantuono of Lavazza in Italy; Boris Mokhrakov of KLD Importers in Russia; Paulina Gwarek and Maciej Filipski of Bero Polska in Poland; Piotr Dominiczak of Cukiernia Sowa in Poland; Gerra Harrigan of InterAmerican Coffee in Providence, R.I.; and Ulrich, Aaron, and Laurenz Marsau of Die Rösterei in Germany. We were also joined by Mateus Castelani of NKG Stockler, Brazil; Euler Borges of Fazenda da Lagoa, and Max Ochoa of HRNS do Brazil. Clockwise from top right: After a few days of sunrise-to-sunset cuppings, the jury was treated to an overnight in nearby Tiradentes, a colonial village in the mountains notable for its cobblestone streets and numerous churches. Our group stayed at a pousada with extensive gardens that included this wheel- shaped vegetable garden. The producers from the regions of Mar de Minas, Matas de Minas, Circuito das Aguas, and Campos das Vertentes submitted 350 samples of naturals and pupled natural coffees for the 5th Força Café Coffee Championship. Between the jury cuppings and the awards ceremony, the jurors had a chance to visit a farm in nearby Perdões where most of the participating producers had assembled to give presentations on the agronomic and administrative efforts they practice on their family farms. Historic Tiradentes, as seen from Igreja de Santo António, the most famous church in the village. From left: Gerra Harrigan, Michele Mastrantuono, Maciej Filipski, and Paulina Gwarek cup the top 10 coffees on the fi nal day of jury selection. 48 barista magazine

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