Brazil Sítio da Torre Yellow Bourbon NaturalContrabean Roasting Company
Álvaro Antônio Pereira Coli
Sítio da Torre
Minas Gerais, Brazil
Awesome Single Origin Espresso, Brew or Pour Over
Grower / Farm: Álvaro Antônio Pereira Coli / Sítio da Torre
Region: Carmo de Minas, Mantiqueira Region, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Varietal: Yellow Bourbon
Elevation: 1100 - 1300 m asl
Process: Natural – Dried in the fruit on a patio
Dried apricot, dried cherry, concord grape, brown butter, honey, dark chocolate.
A Natural Yellow Bourbon at its best. Impeccably clean, impossibly decadent, and indescribably lush with notes of concord grape, ripe blackberry, and red velvet cake, this coffee represents traditional cultivars and practices which exceed quality expectations at every turn.
This coffee is traceable to a single estate located in the protected origin of Mantiqueira de Minas region known for its rolling hills and uneven terrain. The 235 acre estate called Sitio da Torre has been owned and managed by Álvaro Antônio Pereira Coli for the last 24 years. This is the same land that his great-grandfather purchased in the late 1800s after emigrating from Italy. Álvaro has built an impressive reputation for quality consistently recognized in the Brazil Cup of the Excellence competitions over the last decade.
Álvaro explains, “we continue to produce natural coffee (dry method), always focusing on the quality of our coffees, as we are certain that when coffee is well cared for from the fields to post-harvest, it will always be ‘special.’” He goes on to mention that “We produce quality coffee; however never forgetting to preserve the environment, as we are certain that the man-environment integration provides us with sustainable coffee production.”
Pereira’s Sítio da Torre is located in the municipality of Carmo de Minas in the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range. The peaks span from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, and the slopes that fall within the borders of the vast bread-basket state of Minas Gerais are known under an “Indication of Origin” as the “Mantiqueira de Minas.” The region is the epicenter of some of Brazil’s most exceptional coffees and award-winning coffee farms. The word Mantiqueira is derived from a Tupi phrase meaning “crying mountains.” The range is rife with natural springs, including Carmo’s neighboring city of São Lourenço, where the water bursts forth from the earth, mineral-rich and effervescent. The abundance of fresh water in the region is uncommon in many Brazilian production zones, and combined with distinctive elevations, terrain unsuitable for mechanical harvesting, and smaller-than-average estates, the perfect ingredients exist in Mantiqueira de Minas for exceptional coffees.
Torre’s coffees are processed at Cocarive (Cooperativa Regional dos Cafeicultores do Vale do Rio Verde – that’s right, a Brazilian cooperative) conveniently located in town in Carmo. The advantage of nearby milling is a critical contributing factor to quality preservation, and Cocarive’s 6-decade history of sustainable farmer support provides unmatched stability for its contributing associates, which number close to 1,000.
Natural coffees – those which are picked and dried unprocessed in the whole fruit before milling – have long been the preferred method in Brazil, but only recently have they caught the attention of quality-conscious roasters. Yellow Bourbon is among the nations’ most important coffee quality hallmarks. The trees have been featured in academic publications offering evidence that they produce higher sensory quality (particularly at the higher elevations of the Mantiqueira mountain range) compared to corollary red fruit trees. Unlikely to be strictly speaking a direct descendent of Reunion Island’s unique arabica variety, the cultivar we call Yellow Bourbon is most likely a hybrid of a spontaneous yellow mutation of Typica called Botucatu crossed with a standard red fruit Bourbon. Regardless, it is an important and coveted Brazilian contribution, and one that makes this specific lot even more iconic as a benchmark against which we’ll be measuring many coffees for seasons to come.