Cupping in Brazil

Today was the first official day of our origin adventure with Cafe Imports in Salvador, Brazil. We met early to make coffee by the pool, then piled onto what we have dubbed the party bus to head to BBC Cafe Gourmet, Silvio’s roasting company.

Heading into BBC's roasting plant.

It was a cool operation! A brand new 25 kilo Probat roasts coffee for BBC’s 160+ wholesale accounts. We would visit one of these accounts — a gorgeous cafe in the mall — this evening.

Gianni with the Probat.
Milling around the production room.
Michael checks out the roasting log.
Noah, Gianni and Tim
Champs check out the green inventory.

Then we headed to the Agricafe offices, which are in the old part of Salvador, a breathtakingly beautiful area of the city by the seaside.

On the way to the Agricafe offices. The old part of Salvador is built into the hillside.
Some of the old buildings are literally hollowed out, but inhabited on the top floors.
Group photo by the ocean.
Before we started cupping, Alejandro hopped onto the espresso machine and made us all shots.
And the acid tasting begins.

We launched into a tasting of acids covering texture as well as taste, which was super interesting. Then we cupped defects — so cool!

Silvio checks out the defects.
Alejandro tries on Gianni's signature hat. It's a great look for him! Gianni promises to get Alejandro one for his very own when Alejandro goes to Italy to visit the Nuova Simonelli factory later this year.
Group shot in the cupping lab with the awesome Agricafe guys who organized the cupping.

After that, we headed out for a walking tour of Salvador, which was amazing! The culture here is so alive — a fantastic mix of African and Brazilian cultures. We took a ride up the super high elevator in the middle of the city (South America’s oldest elevator), to walk at the top of the steep mountains that the city was built into.

Walking through the old districts of Salvador.
View through the windows atop the concourse on the highest level of the elevator.
Through the pedestrian squares.
View from one of the squares toward the harbor.
Salvadoran culture is rich with African influences.

We meandered around to an old convent that is ornately decorated, and dates back to the 1700s.

Inside the convent with the barista boyz.

After that, we headed back to the Agricafe offices for 2 more tables of cupping, and the coffees got better and better as we went along. All were familiar with the CoE cupping forms, and lively discussions followed our assessments of each table.

Inside the convent with the barista boyz.

Next, we went back to the Agricafe offices to do two rounds of cupping. It was awesome because everyne was familiar with the CoE cupping forms, so we had some lively discussions after each table.


After that, we headed to the mall (cause the mall has it all, ya know). Through the mall (incrdibly busy and fancy) we walked until we got to a beautiful bookstore, whose second floor hosed a fantastic cafe, Feito A Grao, where they serve BBC coffee, and the baristas ar totally skilled and awesome (doesn’t hurt that they have a superfly FB80 to work on).

Alejandro and Pete were invited behind the bar to pull shots, and soon they were fast friends with the Feito A Grao baristas. At the cafe, they serve amazing food and cocktails in addition to espresso drinks, and we had a killer dinner there. Seriously, I have never eaten so well on an origin trip…

We stayed until the mall closed, then hopped back on the bus and returned to our resort. The boys went off to take a swim, but I came back to my room to write this blog and then get some shut eye. We have an early morning tomorrow: at 7 a.m. we head out on our bus bound for Chapada Diamantina — it’ll be a 7 hour drive! When we arrive, we will visit Progresso Farm at Mucunge, which is a national park area and sure to be amazingly beautiful.

I’m not sure what the internet will be like out there, but if its good, I’ll be back tomorrow to post more. Be sure to check Barista Magazine’s Facebook Fan Page often for updates and photos, too!

About Sarah 934 Articles
Sarah Allen (she/her) is co-founder and editor of Barista Magazine, the international trade magazine for coffee professionals. A passionate advocate for baristas, quality, and the coffee community, Sarah has traveled widely to research stories, interact with readers, and present on a variety of topics affecting specialty coffee. She also loves animals, swimming, ice cream, and living in Portland, Oregon.