Roaster’s Notes: a great offering from Brazil. Sweet hazelnut and smooth chocolate.
Fazenda Trapiá was purchased by Andréa de Souza Rangel and Renato Pita Maciel de Moura in 2005, immediately upon their retirement from their respective jobs in IT and insurance. The farm once belonged to the mayor of Baependi, where the farm is located in Southern Minas Gerais, and has long been well-known within the region. Although neither Renato nor Andréa had backgrounds in agricultural business, they had always dreamed of owning a farm. Trapiá presented them not only with the perfect opportunity to manifest their life-long penchant for farming but also presented them with optimal growing conditions for coffee, of which they have made the most. When the couple purchased the farm, there were there were only 20,000 coffee plants planted and no coffee infrastructure whatsoever. The farm now has 61 hectares (170,000 plants) under coffee and the couple have built state-of-the-art processing infrastructure.
When they aquired the farm, Renato and Andréa changed its name to Trapiá, in honour of the farm where Andrea’s mother was born, in northeastern Brazil. Trapiá takes its name from a tree common in northeastern Brazil.
Today the couple live on the farm full time and have succeeded in achieving BSCA and UTZ certification.
Other agricultural activities at Trapiá include primarily forestry. Some 40,000 Candeia trees (a native species) have been planted on the farm and are selectively and sustainably harvested annually. 30% of the farm is under conservation, and there are several springs and falls inside the farm, all of them preserved. Environmental programs currently in effect include the planting of native tree species and the establishing of a wildlife corridor in partnership with neighbouring farms. Andréa and Renato have also started a beekeeping program in order to promote pollination.
All coffee at Trapiá is hand harvested using the stripping method or is machine harvested where the terrain allows. This particular lot comes from the ‘Talhao 3 Pinheiros’ (3 Pine Trees lot). The lot lies at a higher elevation and is planted with Yellow Bourbon, which composes this very special lot.
Coffee cherries are separated by density on the same day as they are harvested before proceeding to their respective processing methods. This particular lot has been composed of coffees processed using both natural and pulped natural methods. Trapiá’s natural coffees are delivered to the patio directly after sorting, where they then spend 12 days, reaching their target humidity of 12%. Alternatively, some lots spend 3-5 days on patios until they reach 18% and then spend 3 days more in mechanical dryers. Pulped natural coffees are pulped using the most widespread method in Brazil – that is, pulping without fermentation. The mucilage is partially removed, enough to enable the coffee to be delivered to the patios where it is regularly turned (“rolling” the fruits).
All lots begin their drying on the patio, though some are finished at low, constant heat in the farm’s mechanical dryers. Throughout all stages, the drying process is controlled through periodic humidity measurements using a precise capacitance device.
The farm also has its own dry mill, located very close to the cultivated areas.
The biggest challenge of the farm is finding manpower during harvest season. To resolve this issue, in 2015 the couple purchased a harvesting machine, which has brought, as a side benefit, a more selective harvest, where two or more harvesting ‘passes’ are made in each area. They also have plans to build new patios, install additional selective sieves and are looking at installing centrifugal equipment and an automatic control of mechanical dryers temperature.
Currently, La Trapiá employees 13 workers during low season and around 24 during the harvest season. In addition to providing livable wages, the farm promotes lectures on health and hygiene, nutrition, and environmental care for all employees and their families. All the workers’ housed on the farm (currently 4 families) have septic tanks, wood burning stoves and hot water. All the children are driven to the local school by the municipality. Employee Turnover is very low – surely an extension of the farm’s ethical approach to their workers.