Project AAA - Natural Acaiá - Manual picking

Honey Coffee Farms
Brown sugar
Bubble gum

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  • 37 sales on Algrano
  • 4 Avg. orders per roaster
  • 12 Roaster relationships
Process type
Natural/Sun Dried
Altitude range
0m - 1450m
Harvest period
August, 2021 - September, 2021
Algrano's cupping score (SCA)
86.0 points
Updated October, 2021
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The coffee story

This coffee comes from a farm I rent with two friends, Augusto and Ademilson. The farm is called Sítio Quilombo and e the project is AAA because all our names start with the letter A but it has nothing to do with the Nespresso AAA. Maybe we need a better name... We rent a 9 hectares farm together and each of us has 3 hectares. The altitude is pretty high, ranging from 1400 to 1450m. My part has 2 varieties: Acaiá, like in this lot, and a little bit of Bourbon. My best coffees come from this plot!

I like the Acaiá because it tastes good in the cup and the screen size is big too. Acaiá is a lineage from the Mundo Novo variety that needs a lot of care but yields well. ‘Round here we call it the “dutch belted cow of coffee”. I struggled with the variety in the beginning because the wind is strong at the AAA plot. BUt now the Acaiá and I understand each other.

With Augusto, another member of Project AAA

There is no precise recipe to produce the best coffee, but there is a way. As we say it in Brazil, “tem um jeitinho”. This is not to say we don’t follow protocol but rather that the raw material we work with always changes. Same with the weather, the air humidity… That is why producers need to learn to “talk” to the coffee and to be flexible, adapting to the external conditions we can’t control. You also have to learn the protocol to be able to break it. My processing methods are not by the book…

I started working with specialty in 2008. It was the first time I got a coffee graded. It scored 80 points. I have learned a lot since then. Augusto and I banter that specialty is like a videogame. You move from level to level. When you are a beginner you follow the rules: pick, sort, wash and start drying on the same day. Spread the coffee in thin layers on the patio, bean by bean. This helps with consistency and reduces defects. But coffee can be much better than this. When you understand what you can do to improve you move levels. I like this.

Selective picking at Project AAA

I also like helping other producers. I was the president of APAS Coffee for 7 years. I left because I didn’t want to get comfortable. I wanted to expand my farm and invest in quality. Then I joined another cooperative, Coopervass. They needed support in the management but no one wanted to do it. People like to complain and don’t do enough to change things. I joined as a vice president of Coopervass this year and am looking for ways to improve what we do. Some say I look for trouble. I just can’t see things that need improving and do nothing.

When I won 3rd place at the International Coffee Week in Brazil. Imagine my happiness now...

The competition

The competition jury in Brazil: Jack (right), William (centre) and Francisco (left)

*This coffee was scrutinized by 4  certified Q-Graders in 2 countries for the competition process with rigorous sensorial and physical analysis. Differences in cupping scores and notes are due to the use of different roast machines and lab setups. As the selection of the lots and the rankings happened in Brazil, the jury's score was kept as the main quality evaluation on the lot information page. Read the information below for more detail.

Algrano's QC
Q-Grader: Veronika Kečkéšová
Location: Zurich, Switzerland
Roaster: IKAWA 
Total roasting time: 6'50" to 7'
First crack: Around 5¨45", 194 to 196 degrees Celsius
DTR: 65" to 70"
Quality comments: Score: 87. Primary notes: Floral, Strawberry, Tropical fruits. Secondary notes: Citrus fruit. Lingering and sweet finish with citric acidity and a round, smooth body.

"Powerful in flavours, but still elegant and down to earth. Sweet, with lingering aftertaste, supportive malic acidity and round body." - Veronika

Jury’s QC
Q-Grader: Jack Robson, Francisco Lentini Neto and William Batista Mariano
Location: Varginha, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Roaster: Speciatto, Carmomaq
Total roasting time: 8-9 minutes
Drying phase: 4-5 minutes
Maillard phase: 3 minutes
DTR: 50 to 70 seconds
Other comments: Agtron 63-65
Screen size: 16/18 (3.6% below)

The process

The post-harvest started with the fermentation of the cherries for 1 week inside a breathable bag. We call the process "cold fermentation" because we don't let the cherries' temperature go up. This way the process is slower and easier to keep under control. The cherries are then washed in clean water and taken to a polytunnel to dry for 25 days. We dry the coffee on patios and raised beds spread in layers thicker than usual. We move them twice a day in the beginning and, as the days pass, we start moving the coffee more often until it has reached the optimum humidity.