I feel privileged to introduce you to you this super sweet easy-drinking coffee, from our friends at Maranhao. This is a good harvest year for the region and also Maranhao, I am happy to report! I don’t know anyone who works harder than the Delgado family.
When Claiton contacted me last spring, when we were in lockdown, he was being his usual optimistic self and I had to break the news that we were roasting about 1 bag of coffee a week, total. Claiton is a young man of unwavering faith and just knew things would work out. One way or another we got through all of our coffee. Whichever way you look at things, optimism is a healthy state of mind and the last year has taught me to look for silver linings however small they may be. If you would like to see more about the farm you could check out their Instagram
I also wrote a little bit on our blog here.
Now my job. To introduce this complex and delicious single farm coffee to you, that I am completely involved and biased about!
Farm: Sítio Maranhão
Farmer/family: Jose & Claiton Delgado,
Region: Caldas, Minas Gerais, South Minas
Process: Pulped Natural
Varietals: Red Catucai and Yellow Catucia
Roast: Light Filter. Not the lightest ever.
Altitude: 1100-1200 Meters above sea level.
|Aromatics: Chocolate and Fruity| Body: Creamy| Acidity: Sweet and curranty|
Depending on how you are brewing Maranhao, it can be a little like a Tanzanian coffee, with brown sugars and juicy red currants, cranberry a touch of stone-fruit. Whatever does happen, it is seductively sweet, with a creamy body and a cocoa finish that just gets better and better. It is coffees like Maranhao that should stop us from thinking of everything coming out of Brazil is like chocolate and peanut butter.
60g of coffee per litre is a great place to start.
Maranhao works so well, with this light roast in espresso. We often find that coffees with some acidity work so much better as a light roast, for sweetness, and also for holding up in milk up to 10oz. There is this point where the espresso goes from sweet to “aggressively strong acidity” to roast and most of us would prefer the sweeter end of the spectrum for espresso and milk-based drinks. In espresso, we get bags more acidity than the filter, due to how espresso works. Sweet red fruits and the potential of stonefruit, turn to cranberry, grapefruit, and cocoa. In milk-based drinks the bigger drinks are malty and caramelised, smaller drinks are cocoa and dry fruity elements of the fruit shining through. 16-17g in 34-36g out 25/28 seconds is a good place to start and more liquid for espresso…if you are me.
Sitio Maranhao is a small farm, not far from the entrance to Pocos de Caldas, in Minas Gerais. The move to specialty coffee has been over recent years and is painstaking work. The coffee harvest is only part of the years’ work. As soon as the harvest is complete there is a whole host of other things to attend to, but at least the workload reduces a little. Between Claiton and Jose, they are ingenious and very resourceful, making systems where they re-use motors for different parts of the coffee processing.
All of the pickings are selective, meaning that every bean that you buy has been picked by a member of the Delgado family when it is ripe. There can be 4 or 5 passes (pickings) across the harvest, none of the automated machine scale here. On top of this, I doubt a harvester could even make it up the steep, steep slopes.