Our second year of having coffees from Rafael Vinhal and his farm Fazenda Recanto in the heart of Minas Gerais in Brazil. Another coffee that is going to break those preconceptions and goes against the industry norm. A super fruity and aromatic Brazil.
Since 1988 Vinhal have been producing very high quality coffees in the heart of Minas Gerais state, Cerrado Mineiro region. They are a family run business and are certified by Rainforest Alliance, 4C (Common Code for the Coffee Community) and Certifica Minas and are also members of BSCA (Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association). Their focus is on quality to ensure that their coffees stand out both in the domestic and foreign markets. They have already received many awards in some of the main quality contests in Brazil.
Rafael is Afonso and Marcélia's eldest son, and is in charge of the commercial development of the farm and brand. Until last year they had never exported directly and this is Rafael's main project with their best and most exclusive lots, like this triple fermented Topázio, on offer on Algrano's sourcing platform.
At Vinhal they have been trialling multiple processes for years and have found that combining different processes results in greater cup profiles. This lot is what they call 'triple fermented'. They start picking the cherries with a mechanical harvester (mechanical harvesting doesn't mean that the quality will be less because they work the farm to ensure an even flowering season and even maturation and then always separate the greens and the floaters on the first wash). The selected varietal was Topázio, a cross of Mundo Novo and Catuaí, which is a yellow colour when ripe. After picking they wash the coffee to separate the mature cherries and then they're ready for the various fermentation stages whilst constantly measuring the temperature and pH:
- 48 hr dry aerobic fermentation in cherry
- Flush with cold water to halt this fermentation
- 172 hr dry anaerobic fermentation
- Flush with cold water halting the 2nd fermentation
- 136 hr submerged anaerobic fermentation to reduce the pH to below 4
- Centrifuge to remove any remaining mucilage
- 23 day drying on raised beds under partial shade of native palms
Vinhal is also part of a very exciting project in partnership with EMATER and the Cerrado Federation. They have selected 10 farms in Minas to trial growing 5 new exotic varieties which are not yet available anywhere else. The experiment is about to enter the “field phase” and they will plant a thousand trees of each variety, monitoring them and seeing what the coffees taste like. In Rafael's words "I tell you, Gesha will soon be a thing of the past".