Our Brazil Signature Espresso is our most popular coffee. As well as being available online to purchase and subscribe, it is served by dozens of our independent café partners around the UK. In 2023 we purchased over 19 tonnes of this yellow bourbon varietal from Fazenda Sertão, a farm on the outskirts of the rural town Carmo de Minas in eastern Brazil.
Fazenda Sertão is one of a number of farms in the region owned by producer CarmoCoffees, who provide both the wet mill for processing freshly harvested coffee cherries into the raw product we roast, and also the means to make connections to importers or roasters who are able to contract direct such as ourselves.
At 850 hectares, this relatively large farm and mill has the economies of scale required to be able to partner with companies like us directly, so being part of the Carmo family helps them reduce the number of intermediaries required to sell and ship their product. Each time the coffee is passed through another entity they take a cut, so by removing these more money will end up in the farmer’s pocket, where it belongs.
Producers such as CarmoCoffees also help reduce costs of production while increasing the value of their coffee through direct exports, which is supported by a dedicated team of coffee professionals.
One such coffee professional working for CarmoCoffees is Augusto Carvalho, a native of nearby São Lourenço, a modest city of 46,000 inhabitants nestled in the heart of this famous coffee-producing region. Last month he paid a visit to our roastery on his way to World of Coffee in Athens, during which we were delighted to show him around. As well as cupping some beautiful Brazilian coffees, we introduced him to the wonders of English beer!
We sat down with him to hear his thoughts on why the coffee from his home region is so special, and how CarmoCoffees are working to give a helping hand to local children through their community project CriaCarmo. Watch the video of this fascinating interview below.
CFC: Can you tell us a little about yourself please?
AC: Nice to meet you, my name is Augusto. I work for CarmoCoffees as a coffee trader, so basically I sell coffee to you guys and B2B [business to business]. We are in the sourcing area, so we know the farms and negotiate with businesses, roasters, and importers. So basically it is my function as a coffee trader for me to sell the coffee. I was born in a region that produces coffee, so my family is really into coffee. My grandparents had a coffee farm, but not anymore.
CFC: What does it mean for Carmo Coffees to work directly with roasters such as Chimney Fire Coffee?
AC: I think the most important thing is relationships - relationships are everything in the coffee world. You guys are closer to the final destination of the coffees we source and sell, so you know better what your clients want and need. This is important to us. Working with roasters helps us improve our post-harvest processes and everything, to deliver a good experience to the final clients.
CFC: What’s your favourite part of the coffee growing and production process?
AC: For sure the post-harvest processes. It’s what made the difference in coffee in Brazil - Brazil was known for producing quantity, but quality was out of the picture. After studying post-harvest processes we could deliver more quality, so that’s my favourite area.
CFC: What’s so special about coffee from Fazenda Sertão - what characterises the taste?
AC: I think the most important thing is that it’s a family business. It’s big, but it’s managed by the family. Senhor Chico, the owner and manager of the farm, takes care of each bean of coffee like it was his baby. So basically, he takes care of the post-harvest processes and everything and if you visit Fazenda Sertão you will see that the care they take with all their princesses is what makes the difference. So basically it’s a farm that delivers quantity and quality - the profile from Brazil for a good espresso, chocolate and nuts, are really present in the coffees they deliver, and they are perfect for clients like you!
CFC: Can you tell me about the CriaCarmo project - how does it benefit young people from the region?
AC: For those who don’t know, CriaCarmo is a philanthropic project. The goal is basically to help children in need form Carmo de Minas the city, to have access to sports like football, swimming, and other ones, and most especially English Classes. In Brazil an English class is very expensive, so for these children to have this opportunity is so important because with the project they have the opportunity to grow in life - maybe to become a soccer player, a professional swimmer, and the ones with good grades have the opportunity to take these English classes. Now the project has something around 200 children, and we have 74 on the waiting list, so having this partnership with Chimney Fire Coffee will help those on the waitlist to achieve this dream of an English class and better life conditions.
CFC: What is your favourite type of coffee and how do you like to make it?
AC: Brazilian! The Brazilian coffee of course is my favourite, this profile that can be used on a daily basis - chocolate, hazelnuts, with a good acidity, made in V60 is perfect to me… My favourite.