Barista Magazine

OCT-NOV 2017

Serving People Serving Coffee Since 2005

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Page 32 of 115

B R A Z I L HAVING HIKED TO THE SUMMIT of Fazenda São José da Boa Vista, almost 1,300 meters above sea level into the highlands of Minas Gerais, we were hot. In some welcome shade, we could fi nally shed our layers, which for many was the Ally Coffee hoodie gifted to us by the specialty importing company responsible for bringing us here. In the cool air under native trees bordering the expansive coffee fi elds of the Peixoto family estate, we listened as fourth-generation producer Julia Peixoto Peters and her husband, Jeff Peters, discussed their efforts to transition much of the 600-acre farm of Catucai, Catuai, Bourbon, Mundo Novo, and other varieties from commodity to specialty via microlots and experimental processing methods. Suddenly, the ground below our feet started to vibrate, and Julia's voice was drowned out by a deafening motor. The group spun around to see a mechanical harvester roaring to life. Few in our group, which primarily consisted of international and United States coffee compe- tition champions, had ever seen one of these machines. The traction trailer stood about 15 feet tall, though it can be raised and lowered to closely straddle a row of coffee trees. These harvesters are equipped with bilateral rotatory forks that vibrate, which shake the cherry from the branches. Not only is the height adjustable, but so is the speed, the length of the forks and their positioning, the rotation speed, and the intensity of vibration. This fl exibility allows operators the ability to manipulate the machines for the height, width, and density of cherry on each row, in an effort not to damage the cherry or plants. A mechanical harvester in action is super cool to watch, so we all started shooting video on our phones. I uploaded a funny one of the coffee champs running alongside the machine to Barista Magazine's Instagram account. Hours later, after thought-provoking conversations with farmers from throughout the Alta Mogiana region—which is developing quite an impressive reputation for some of the best coffees coming out of Minas—we were relaxing after dinner when I noticed some negative comments on the video post. "This is like saying McDonald's is good practice for sustainable food," read one. Others expressed concern that the harvester displaced pickers needing work, and damaged the trees. When I asked Ricardo Pereira about it, he sighed wearily. The direc- tor of Ally Coffee's Greenville, S.C.–based specialty division, Ricardo fought for the Origin Trip Sponsorship for both the United States and international coffee championships, and it's because of him that these Opposite page, top: A endees on the 2017 Ally Coff ee Champions Trip to Origin— including, from le , Micah Sherer, Anderson Stockdale, and Jacob White—gathered in a picturesque greenhouse at Barinas in Brazil's famous Cerrado region for a cupping. Below: The peaceful vista that greeted trip a endees arriving for their fi rst night at Fazenda São Francisco in the Alta Mogiana region. This page: Dazzled by the brand-new specialty-coff ee lab at Cafebras in Patrocíno, champions including (from le ) 2017 World Brewers Cup Champ Chad Wang; 2017 United States Barista Champion Kyle Ramage; 2016 World Barista Champion Berg Wu, and 2017 United States Brewers Cup Champion Dylan Siemens, had a great time making coff ee for their fellow travelers. Nuova Simonelli's Gianni Cassatini kept an eye on the action from the back. 33

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