Coffee production began at the Rancho Grande Farm in 1933, when Mr. Aneite Reis inherited 5 hectares of crops to start production from. Today, the farm is run by José Carlos Reis and his son Flávio (Fafa) Reis, both son and grandson of Mr. Aneite. The mission of the farm is to responsibly produce coffee of the highest possible quality without neglecting the importance of protecting the environment and the caring for the well-being of its employees. Several employees live on the farm in houses provided with subsidised electricity and food. On the farm they are open to change and trying new techniques and they have invested in several static drying boxes to help improve the quality & profile of the coffee they could produce. They have been working hard on improving the quality of their coffees for the specialty market and working on all aspects of the production of these lots from the growing, picking and post harvest treatment.
Manga Larga Series
In the 2019 harvest in collaboration with Fafa and the his team at Rancho Grande, Cocatrel Direct and ourselves at Falcon we began some experimental processing methods to start to test the boundaries of what was possible for the coffees from this farm. Initially Cocatrel Direct had had some very good results from using the new static boxes to help slow fermentation and drying down to create profiles not commonly associated with these style of coffees. Building on their initial work and adding another layer of pre-anaerobic fermentation before drying in the static boxes we have managed to produce some coffees that we feel live up to the process in cup quality. This range of coffees is named after a breed of horse ‘Manga Larga’ known form this region for its high quality and special attributes that are part of the history and story at Rancho Grande.
This Yellow Boubon Lot was mechanically picked and the the Boia (slightly overipe) cherries were separated by mechanical sorters that separate the quality and density of coffees. The coffee was then placed in sealed barrels for 48 hours to ferment.
After this the coffee was then put into the static drying boxes. These are 1 m deep boxes with capacity for 15000 litre volume of cherry which equates to 25-30 bags of green coffee. The boxes have a vented grill at the bottom to allow for air to be circulated from below up through the drying coffee. Initially cold air will be blown for 12 hours to help slow the fermentation process and then gradually the air temperature will be increased to allow drying for between 7 – 10 days. There are two thermometers at different depths to ensure a safe temperature always below 40c. They are referred to as static due to the coffee remaining still in the boxes and not being turned or rotated during drying. This lot took a total of 15 days to dry in the static box. After it is dried the coffee is then left to rest for approximately 1- 2 weeks before being milled.
Like with all coffee I roast, my primary focus will be to achieve full development and maximum solubility at a given colour. In the case of Rancho Grande, I want to also look to retain as much of the fruit character as possible and see if I can accentuate the acidity produced by the anaerobic fermentation method, whilst maintaining a balanced cup. Balance is very important to me and is something that takes a lot of practice to achieve when roasting. The Yellow Bourbon cultivar is a particularly forgiving coffee to roast, which allows me to focus on the overall goal, without having to spend too much time navigating the problem areas of the roast cycle.
During QC of the first in a two part series, we noted that the coffee has a ‘heavy’ note on the nose during wet aroma assessment. It almost smells ‘thick’ or ‘gloopy’. Dry aromatics are very typically Brazil – chocolates, nut and a nudge of fruit. It’s after twelve minutes of cooling that you really begin to perceive the effect of the anaerobic fermentation. Here, the forest and red fruit acidity is noticeable and adds a great addition to the bold dark chocolate finish.
This coffee will act as a very versatile coffee to brew. I’ve had some beautifully balanced filter coffee where the fruity acidity is allowed to shine above the big body and finish. However, the Rancho Grande will lend itself to a great single origin espresso too. I would pull a short short at a ratio of 1:1.55 (throwback to 2009 for those who know) and contact time somewhere around 28 seconds. Here, the thick body will be in perfect balance with it’s bright acidity.
We hope you enjoy the coffee. Happy brewing!