Espírito Santo state is one of the smallest states in Brazil, but its territory comprises a beautiful mosaic of landscapes from steep mountains to coastal regions. The Atlantic Ocean showers its beaches on the east and it borders the states of Bahia (north), Minas Gerais (west), and Rio de Janeiro (south).
Due to its peculiar microclimate and proximity to ocean, this region has been a highlight in recent crops after changing its processing methods from natural to pulped natural and washed. The average altitude is between 900 – 1200 meters with rugged topography and some isolated peaks. A beautiful mountain chain, called Serra do Caparaó or Serra Chibata, with higher altitudes (above 1,000 meters) starts close to the border with Minas Gerais. This is the spot where the third highest mountain in Brazil stands: Pico da Bandeira, at 2,892 meters.
Most of the producers own small properties from 5 to 20 hectares crusted on steep hills. Considering this reality, 100% of the harvest is hand-picked with a high percentage of selective. Only the ripest cherries are carefully picked from the trees at different times. The producers can go to the same tree to pick the best coffee four times in one year, due to different maturation levels. In this region, the harvest starts in June and it can finish in December.
The microclimate is unique and special that a rare phenomenon occurs in Espíritu Santo. Coffee flowering in Brazil ranges from October to November. But in Espírito Santo, the blossoming can happen in January, February, and even March, moving the harvesting time to November and December. These coffees often belong to the best micro-lots you can find in Brazil.
Paying good prices as a reward for great coffee gives the producers peace of mind to take their time and harvest when the cherries mature. The unusual harvest timing prevents some coffee growers from participating in regular quality contests such as the Cup of Excellence. But our Export partners invest in competition and share the risk with the growers.
For these producers, being small is not an excuse for being unprepared. Most of them have great infrastructure such as good drying patios (some of them covered in plastic) and small equipment for post-harvest processing. Washed coffees are common in the region and fermentation techniques have started being popular too (great results have been seen when keeping the cherries in plastic tanks with and without water – for 12 to 24 hours.
Citric, floral, bright, acidity, medium body, sweet, exotic, cane juice, garapa, brown sugar, and tropical fruits: papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, carambola, and mango.
The most common varieties in the region are: Red and Yellow Catuaí, Catucaí, Catimor, Caturra, Mundo Novo, and Paraíso. And it is worth mentioning the producer’s investments in new varieties, which is contributing to diversifying the sensorial profile of Espírito Santo’s coffees.