São Judas Tadeu - Bahia, Brazil - Espresso Roast
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Fazenda São Judas Tadeu lies outside the small town of Piatã in Bahia’s Chapada Diamantina region, at an altitude of 1,300 to 1,380 metres above sea level. Chapada Diamantina translates to ”Diamond Plateau” in Portuguese, and for 100 years this area was mined for the gemstones embedded in its cliffs. Today the region is famous for its specialty coffee.
Piatã is a very unique and privileged coffee growing region in Brazil, with high altitudes and temperatures that vary from 2°C to 18°C in the winter. These factors, combined with the area’s rich soil and growing conditions, present favourable conditions for producing high-quality coffee with a cup profile that is very bright, transparent, and distinctive. This region has only recently started to become recognised internationally for its high quality since the 2009 Cup of Excellence, where five of the top 10 spots came from Piatã.
Antônio owns Fazenda São Judas Tadeu along with his wife Terezinha, who have been farming coffee in the region for more than 40 years. Antonio owns a number of farms in Piatã and is very well respected in the community, with many farmers in the area looking to him for advice and mentorship as well as processing their coffee at his wet mill located at São Judas Tadeu.
Sharing his knowledge and expertise gives him great a great sense of purpose and pride. “There are no secrets” he explained to us. “Here, the people in Piata are like my family. I want to help them produce great coffee. It’s my duty, and my joy”. Over the course of the last decade, Antonio has worked closely with his neighbours and surrounding community to institute improved agricultural practices to improve quality. Antonio also regularly brings the coffee community together at the town’s clubhouse and also runs a café in town with Terezinha.
Antonio’s coffees have placed in Bahia’s state-sponsored Coffee Quality Competition countless times, including winning 1st place in the first 3 consecutive years the competition was ever run (2004 – 2007). He also has many Cup of Excellence awards including 2nd place in 2014 (with a score of 93.65 points) and first place 2015, (with a score of 91.22)
Fazenda São Judas extends over 35 hectares, of which 15 are under coffee. The farm is mainly planted out with Catuaí varietal trees.
Antônio tries to farm in the most sustainable way as possible, keeping his use of chemical pesticides to a minimum and recycling coffee pulp to use as fertiliser. Large shade trees protect the coffee from the sun and prevent erosion throughout the coffee plantation, and the rest of the farm is covered by natural forest, which Antônio both protects and extends by regularly planting trees.
Antônio looks after and rewards his workers, providing them with job security and good working conditions and sharing the fruits of his success—after the win in the 2011 Cup of Excellence, he purchased a motorcycle for each of his full-time employees. Most of his staff have been with him for over 20 years. “They are like family, and care as much as I do about quality” he explained. “I am very lucky”. They are also, Antônio claims, the secret to his success. “Many people ask me how I have been so successful in the Cup of Excellence competition. The terrior is imporant, but the real reason is my people.”
HOW THIS COFFEE WAS PROCESSED
This coffee has been processed using the pulped natural process. After pulping the beans are then sun-dried on patios with their mucilage still attached—spread in layers of about four centimeters and raked several times a day. Finally, the beans are separated into numbered lots which are stored and rested in parchment in a purpose-built warehouse and then cupped for quality control prior to export.