Ally Coffee Origin Trip

Ally Coffee Origin Trip Brazil

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Pedra Azul (the Blue Rock) greeted the Ally Coffee Origin Trip team when they woke up on the first day in Espirito Santo in Brazil.

This year marked the first origin trip for the winners of the US Coffee Championships and World Coffee Events by new sponsor Ally Coffee. The trip kicked off this week with the participants arriving from around the world to the bustling airport in Sao Paulo before catching another short flight to the coastal city of Vitoria, capital of the state of Espirito Santo.

Ally Coffee Origin Trip
The crew took a traditional method of transport to tour the first coffee farm. The trees in the background have been cut down to create more space for coffee.

Taking the trip this year are the World Brewers Cup Champion Tetsu Kasuya from Coffee Factory  outside of Tokyo; U.S. Brewers Cup Champ Todd Goldsworthy from Klatch Coffee; runner up James Tooill from La Colombe Coffee; U.S. Barista Champion Lem Butler from Counter Culture Coffee; U.S. barista championship runner up Andrea Allen from Onyx Coffee; U.S. Roasters Competition champion Tony Quiero from Spyhouse Coffee; and second-place finisher Kyle Belinger  from NEAT Coffee. They’re joined on the adventure by specialty coffee icons Gianni Cassatini from Nuova Simonelli and tamper man Reg Barber from his eponymous company.

Ally Coffee Origin Trip
Checking out drying coffee in Minas Gerais with the grower, Clayton, who has won two best of Brazil awards for his coffee.

For a week the team along with their Ally Coffee hosts will travel across Brazil exploring some of the diverse coffee terrain with farms ranging from the tiny 1 hectare plots producing a couple dozen bags of coffee a year to the famous sprawling estates that span hundreds of hectares and produce containers full of coffee every year. Brazil is the largest coffee-producing country in the world, and within its borders are a wide variety of regions, geography, and microclimates all of which affect production.

Ally Coffee Origin Trip
Many farmers in the region also distill Brazil’s national drink, cachaça, and taste testing batches make coffee tours even more enjoyable.

Additionally, many of the characteristics of specialty coffee, using raised beds or doing selective picking for example, are fairly new for a lot of farmers, so they’re quickly improving quality and creating some really great new coffees.

Ally Coffee Origin Trip
Sunset over the Caparao National Park. As the sun went down, the team brewed coffee with an amazing view in the background.

The trip started in the east of Brazil in Espirito Santo and then started moving west. After visiting a couple of farms in Espirito Santo, the bus crossed the border in the Minas Gerais (which is the largest coffee-growing state in Brazil.) Some of the most famous coffee farms in the country are in Minas Gerais, and often they’re fairly flat with wide rows of coffee mechanically harvested. But those farms are not in the east side of the state. Instead the east side is mountainous, and the farms here tend to be small and very rugged. They hug the steep slopes and much of the work is done solely by the families that own the land.

 

On the first day in eastern Minas Gerais, the baristas went to the top of the mountains of Caparao National Park, and as the sun set, they brewed coffee overlooking an almost endless vista of jumbled mountains, deep valleys, and verdant forests.

Ally Coffee Origin Trip
A panorama of a coffee field with yellow catuai in the foreground and Caparao National Park in the background. Brazil is a land of tremendous diversity and this region could be a new specialty coffee mecca in the future.

After visiting the eastern part of Minas Gerais, the team will head west. First they’ll visit Ally’s Primavera farm before moving onto the capital city Belo Horizonte where they’ll drop by the Coffee Academy have a brunch with local baristas, and bring this inaugural edition of Ally’s Origin Trip to a close.

About Ken 253 Articles
Kenneth R. Olson (he/him) is co-founder and publisher of Barista Magazine the worldwide trade magazine for the professional coffee community. He has written extensively about specialty coffee, traveled near and far for stories, activities, and fun, and been invited to present on topics important to coffee culture. He is also an avid fan of the Portland Trail Blazers and the Washington Huskies. Go Blazers! Go Dawgs!