The Covid-19 Coronavirus has had an unprecedented impact on millions of lives around the world.  While many countries are affected in different ways and to many different degrees, Brazil is widely regarded as one of the worst affected at present.  As the world’s largest coffee producing nation, Brazil is home to one of our biggest trading partners, San Coffee.  We have been working directly with San Coffee for several years now, bringing their amazing natural processed coffee and microlots directly into Fremantle.  San Coffee’s lots make up a large portion of our Easy St blend as well as a staple of our single origin offering with both Santa Clara and Campo das Vertentes available year-round.  We had planned to catch up with our friends Fabricio, Henrique and Ana at the Melbourne International Coffee Expo (MICE) in May, but unfortunately the present circumstances made this impossible.  Instead we decided to catch up via video conference and discuss some of the challenges and changes they are currently seeing.

Firstly, Fabricio and Henrique were happy to report that no-one from San Coffee or their producing family have been affected by Covid-19.  As a fairly isolated rural community there has been very little community transmission.  Fabricio attributes this to several factors including government mandated checkpoints, good hygiene practices and also the local culture, where people tend not to be as physically open with each other as other areas of Brazil, Rio for example.  While San Coffee has been relatively lucky in terms of how they’ve been affected, they have still taken numerous precautions including updating many of their hygiene practices and procedures.  They have also taken the opportunity to update their online resources in order to help their customers (us) keep up to date with their current projects.

The 2020 harvest has been very successful with a high yield.  We are expecting samples from this crop within the next couple of months with plans to taste them with the San Coffee team via video conference; a new experience for both of us.  This will allow us to taste and assess the individual lots with the experts in real-time, a much more efficient process than exchanging emails!

An exciting project that has recently borne fruit (literally) is San Coffee’s new varietal garden.  This is an initiative run in conjunction with the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC) that will test ancient and exotic coffee varieties for disease resistance and other characteristics (including taste).  Currently the varietal garden in Fazenda Samambaia is home to 57 different varieties including 19 Bourbon strains.  We can’t wait to sample some of these potentially amazing coffees!

A positive change that we are beginning to see as a result of Covid-19 is that younger generations are starting to view coffee production as a viable career again.  In the wake of the Coronavirus, many young people have returned home and are working with their parents on their farms.  Globally, while there is uncertainty, we are seeing that coffee is still being bought and sold and the younger generation also sees this.  Combined with the rise of specialty coffee and globalization, coffee production (at least in Brazil) is starting to look a lot more attractive to young people; this is exciting from both a sustainability and an innovation standpoint.

As always, we are excited to continue our relationship with San Coffee and hope to continue to represent their coffee well in the Australian market.  If you’d like to try their coffee for yourself you can purchase Santa Clara and Campo das Vertentes through our online store here.

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