Ally Coffee Origin Trip 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.