I first met Dr. Borem at the Taste of Harvest coffee event in 2007, I believe. Over the past 5 years I have had the great pleasure of calling him my friend and getting to know the depth of his work with coffee. A professor at the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) and respected almost unilaterally in Brazil as an expert in post-harvest coffee and beyond, I have asked him to share some of his knowledge here in this blog. Also, every time that I have the opportunity to go to Lavras, I catch small glimpses of the work he and others are doing there to improve coffee quality. I have asked him to publish summaries of some of these studies so that we can observe some of the work being done with a product we love so much. (The assumption is made, dear reader, that if you are reading this you are most certainly a “coffee nerd.”) The first of these is an experiment in which I was able to participate, a study of Bourbon genotypes in three different environments in Brazil. I hope, dear reader, that you enjoy this and future articles by Dr. Borem, and I would like to express my deep gratitude to him for contributing to the blog.
I had the honor of being invited to participate in an agricultural fair in Parana this past November. Ficafe is a coffee fair mainly for producers and is held annually right outside the town of Jacarezinho, Parana. This year the events of Ficafe coincided with the Cup of Excellence. I wanted to get this blog up sooner, however I also wanted to add a little about the interesting history of coffee in Parana. So here it is, from a brief (and hopefully) objective history to my experience this past November further down. [read more]
The clouds gathered in an ominous mass skirting the surrounding mountains as I sped down the road leading away from Sacramento. My time was up in this tiny town but I will carry the memories with me always. As one of the two or three Americans that visit Sacramento every year, I was somewhat of a specimen to the people of this minute community. They even had me present an award at their ceremony to honor the top ten coffee growers in the district! If I didn’t always feel that I was helping with something, at least I always felt how much they appreciated having me there. I even found a couple people who spoke English after the first week and I was able to call on them in case of language barrier emergencies. [read more]
If I hadn’t come to Sacramento at this time of the year then I might have gone my whole life without knowing that I am allergic to coffee flowers! Who knew? Even if this tiny town doesn’t have a restaurant to its name, they at least had the good sense to install a drugstore. After giving a vivid mime demonstration of what ailed me, I was able to get that little miracle, known to the modern world as allergy medicine, and now I am prepared to brave any flower that happens upon me. [read more]
When you are in another country on another continent, everything that you do is bound to be more exciting just based on the latitude and longitude difference (that is, if you are driven by adventure factors as much as I am). But there are always those moments that stand out above the rest. [read more]
The four years that I have been a barista in Atlanta, I have been saving my money for the day that I would finish my associate’s degree and be free to go travel. Well the day finally came that the last final had been taken, the last paper turned in, and I was a free agent for whatever adventure swept me away first. As an avid coffee addict and a travel bug, I had been looking into the coffee production countries for some time andBrazilhad begun to pop up on my radar more and more. When I made the final decision to travel toBrazil, I began talking with many people to see if it would be possible to volunteer on a coffee farm somewhere or at least go visit one. Through a series of fortunate events and people who know people, I was able to get into contact with the Casa Brasil staff and arrange for my stay with a family who has a coffee farm. [read more]
I would like to welcome Kathleen Tatarsky as a guest blogger. Kathleen is a barista at 45 South Cafe in Norcross, Georgia and has been traveling in Brazil this fall. She is currently living in the small village of Sao Sebastiao do Sacramento in western Minas Gerais. Sao Sebastiao do Sacramento is home to Coorpol, a co-op that some of you may know from some previous blog posts. We asked Kathleen to share a little about her experience in Sao Sebastiao do Sacramento, and thankfully she obliged. We hope you enjoy the wit and perspective she brings to her experiences in coffee country. – Joel
September 1, 2011 – I had the pleasure of being a judge for one of the regional competitions of the Concurso Cafe Qualidade Parana, an annual competition with the intent if selecting the best lot of coffee within the State of Parana. This particular competition was for the region surrounding Santo Antonio da Platina [read more]