We continue our conversation with Edgard Bressani from the August + September 2020 issue of Barista Magazine.
BY CHRIS RYAN
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
All images courtesy of Edgard Bressani
In the August + September 2020 issue of Barista Magazine, we chatted with Edgard Bressani, director of Brazil’s Capricornio Coffees, for our “One on One” feature. We learned about Edgard’s ambassadorial instincts, his mission to bring exquisite Brazilian coffees to buyers around the world, and his love of travel. Edgard told us more fascinating things than we had room to print in the current issue, so we’re continuing our conversation here.
Chris Ryan: Beyond Capricornio, you have been so active in the industry. What are a few of the additional hats you’ve worn? And why has it been important to you to stay active in the industry?
Edgard Bressani: I was an officer for the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association. I am a board member of the Alta Mogiana Specialty Coffee Association, and was a World Barista Championship (WBC) judge. I have also judged barista competitions in Mexico, Lithuania, Argentina, France, and China. I am a Coffeologist through Coffee Consulate in Mannheim, Germany. I am the orchestrator of the WhatsApp-based Brazil Specialty Coffee Community, in which I share coffee news every day. So I have been breathing coffee. I love the knowledge these different hats have given me in my career. I learn every day from people in coffee. Coffee is so dynamic. Looking back at how the rules of the WBC have changed is just one example of how we have learned and evolved. It is incredible how much knowledge has been brought by baristas, roastmasters, and coffee professionals in the past 20 years.
Beyond Capricornio Coffees, I also have a roastery with my nephew Guilherme Sahade. Bravo Café is the name. Although the company was bought two years ago, last year it was its 20th anniversary. It was one of the pioneers in specialty coffee in the country. Guilherme runs the company and I help more with creating strategies, marketing, and new products, since I have limited time. But we sell all over Brazil—whole beans, roast and ground, capsules. I love coffee from seed to cup. I am not an agronomist, so I had to learn about coffee over the years. And 10 years ago, I wrote Barista Guide – coffee from seed to cup, a book that has sold 15,000 copies in Brazil. It is in Portuguese, and it was a way I could give back and share with coffee lovers and baristas what I have learned over the years. Five editions have been published so far, and with each edition I update data and bring new trends.
What are the latest projects you’re working on at Capricornio Coffees?
We have been continuing to focus on the exporting side of the business during the pandemic. We have several new projects, and we also recently opened Capricornio Coffees Industrial Park in July, our new headquarters, a state-of-the-art warehouse for the preparation, quality control, and exports of our coffees, located in Ourinhos city, Sao Paulo state, where our Brazilian Coffee Academy is located as well.
During the pandemic we also have had time to finalize a project launching a new brand, Latitudes – Grand Cru Coffees. This is an online platform for selling green coffee—in Brazil and all over the world—from 32 different Brazilian producing regions, where people will be able to buy boxes of 5 and 10 kg of coffee, as well as a kit of 3 kg, having 10 samples of 300 g each.
These coffees are hunted by me and by business partners, Jose Antonio Rezende and Luiz Saldanha, from the Amazon to Parana state, as well as by our friends and world-renowned coffee ambassadors, in different lines: Friends – Selected by Anne Cooper from Australia; Bart Deprez from Belgium; Oldrich Holis from Slovakia; Silvia Graham from Romania; Sonja Grant from Iceland; Elisabet Sereno from Spain; Jose Cleofas from Mexico; Lucemy Velazquez from Puerto Rico; and Michael McCauley from France. Legends – Selected by world coffee competitors, such as Agnieszka Rojewska from Poland; Alexandru Niculae from Romania; Charlotte Malaval from France; Silvia Magalhães from Brazil; Simo Christidi from Greece; and Vladimir Nenashev, from Russia.
We also offer the lines Award—coffees from state and regional quality competitions—Barrel Aged, Vintage, Tea Selection (cascara and blossom tea), Special Preparation (with fermentation), Varietal Selection, and Vintage (aged in parchment).
How has COVID-19 changed your operations? And as someone who travels so much, how have you managed it?
Of course, we had to create booklets to share with our farmers on how to prevent contamination with COVID-19 during transportation of employees, harvesting, and post-harvesting activities. So there is a lot of work to be done. Since I spend so much time abroad, I am used to working with the team from wherever I am, using emails. Skype calls, or WhatsApp. The pandemic has just changed my routine when it comes to staying home, where I had never stayed for so long in the past 19 years.
As a person, I have changed a lot during this pandemic. I am enjoying many things that I had no time to enjoy before. And this of course has changed some perceptions, and made me realize things that are not so important and things that demand a better balance. I believe I am a better person after these five months of lockdown at home. But I have to admit that my mind has also been filled with sadness every day. I have the comfort zone of having means to protect myself with isolation, but I pray for those humble people who do not have means to buy masks, who have lost their jobs, who are struggling to bring food to their houses. We reached over 100,000 deaths [in Brazil] so far and more than 1,000 every day.