In what feels like the dawn of time (AKA the beginning of James Gourmet Coffee) we used to buy great coffees like Jacaranda, through Bourbon Mill(BR) and Mercanta(UK). Jacaranda became a coffee hard to get hold of as it was saved for those serving the likes of Fortnum and Masons. Not relevant to the story but of the three parties mentioned in the story, (not F&M to my knowledge) so far have all become parts of bigger corporations.
Years later I am in the main square in Antigua, Guatemala, and someone is trying a little too hard to persuade me that my shoes “NEED” polishing under the canopy of these incredibly beautiful blue flowering trees. It turns out that the trees are Jacarandas. Light bulb moment. Life before Google!
In the Summer of 2016, I am in the QC office in Pinhal, Brazil and who should I bump into but Cássio Franco Moreira. Head of the WWF in South America, Biodynamics and a champion of the Brazilian organic coffee farmer. Cassio’s family farm of 3 generations (and counting) is Jacaranda and I am so proud to have been able to bring it back into our offering, whilst keeping its organic integrity, working with Cassio.
These days Cassio is more than a farmer that sends us coffee. Cassio has spent time with us (as a friend) here in the UK and also taken me to some of the best organic coffee farms in Brazil, including his own. In the coming years there will be some extraordinary coffees coming out of Jacaranda. New raised drying beds, made some incredible coffee this season and we will see more of this in years to come.
Farm: Fazenda Jacaranda
Owners:Cassio Franco Moreira, agronomist, PhD, and his mother Telma Teixeira Franco
Region; Minas Gerais
Size 150 Hectares
Altitude: 1.100 – 1.250mts
Varieties: Bourbon, Catuai, Mundo Novo, Icatu, Catucai
This coffee is grown organically and can also be bought as Organic from us at retail now too.
Scale: Anual production of around 400 bags of 60kg
Deep dark chocolate, lychee and roasted nut.
Roast: Developed Filter
Brew methods: This is delicious in cafetiere, filter and a little juicier in espresso
Recipe: 60g per liter for filter. 17g/35g in 30-40 seconds around 93-94C add an extra 10ml for straight espresso/ americanos.
The Franco family has produced coffee in these lands since 1860, originally at the Serra Negra Farm. Carlos Fernandes Franco inherited part of Serra Negra farm in 1969 and started the Jacarandá coffee farm. He died in 2003 and was always passionate about nature and a true ecologist (also engineer who made huge bridges in the Amazon). He was the pioneer in organic coffee production in Brazil and the farm is organic since 1992. His grandson Cassio Franco Moreira has started agronomy college in 1995 already having a strong organic coffee influence.
Today the farm is divided within Carlos Franco´s widow, Francisca Franco, and her sons/daughters. All of the areas are still organically managed but some coffee plots have been abandoned due to family and farm restructuring. Today 2 daughters, 1 son, and grandson of Carlos run several parts of Jacarandá with around 30ha of organic coffee being managed and a plan to renew more 15ha in the next 5 years. When we visited Jacaranda, the level of re-planting and reinvestment was staggering. Cassio is an optimist and a long term thinker. I really hope that we will be able to share with you a micro-lot from Jacaranda next season, as we have done with the award-winning Sitio Grota Sao Pedro this season. Quietly, I also hope that Jacaranda does so well it wins Cup of Excellence one day, as a reward and recognition for the long term dedication.