by Manuela Violoni
Head of R&D and trainer of the Taster Study Center, she is specialised in semiotics and in synaesthesia of marketing. She is the panel leader of the sensory analysis laboratory of the Center and trainer at the International Institute of Coffee Tasters.
Right on the Atlantic Ocean, with more than 180 million inhabitants, Brazil is the world leader in coffee production.
The history of coffee in Brazil dates back to the Eighteenth century when the Botanic Garden of Amsterdam, after having received a plant of Java coffee, only a few years later, sent its seeds to Suriname. The French themselves sent those seeds to the French Guinea in 1718 and from here the coffee reached Brazil.
The Brazilian origins, just like many other origins, are classified according to a set of criteria among which: the botanical species (Arabica and Robusta – or Conillon), the number of defects, the size of the bean (screening), the processing method (dry or wet), the taste, the year of harvest, the geographic origin. With regard to the geographic origin, Santos comprises the origins produced in the States of São Paulo, Minas Gerais and, sometimes, Paranà, i.e. those origins that historically have been exported through the Santos harbour.
The harvesting in Santos begins in June and export starts in July. Based on the classification defined by the NY, the Santos is of the type 2/3 (9 flaws), screen 17/18. It belongs to the group ICO natural Arabica. This coffee is a good match to the Robusta quality.
The strongest aromatic note of this coffee is undoubtedly the cocoa, with its chocolate nuances: the intensity of this smell is almost identical to that of the famous Jamaica Blue Mountain. The difference with the Jamaica Blue Mountain is that it has a stronger – medium intensity – burnt note (ash and coal). The marked merit of this coffee compared to others is in its floral aroma, decidedly clear, with sensations of honey and beeswax. Also the fruity aroma is rather good: fresh and dried fruits, with a peak on the nuts (walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts), finish off the picture of a nice Arabica – difficult to believe that it is not wet process. Other positive notes can be sensed: the fine herbs, for example, accompanied by sensations of tee, liquorice, tobacco and similar spicy notes, but also all those toasted notes such as caramel, cereals, toasted bread and biscuit. A touch of green (comprising the grassy, the artichoke, the tomato, the cooked vegetables, and the bitter grass) comes in, but with lower levels compared to other origins. The same goes for an almost unperceivable sensation of mouldy. While, more than in others, but very much in the background, there is a bit of a plastic note. This is a coffee characterised by a good range and amplitude of aromas and by an overall low presence of negative odours.