Coffee-Camp in Brazil

20°15'18 ''S, 47°28'41''W. It is Brazil, the green lung of the world, hosting this time the Umami Coffee Camp in cooperation with Starkmacher e.V., German NGO and 6 other organizations, with a total of seven different participating countries.
This article:
27.09.2016 / 19 Uhr
Starkmacher Fotos: Mathias Kaps

The project aims to improve the chances of education and working opportunities in the coffee industry, maintaining a social engagement, thanks to the involvement of partners such as Fazenda da Esperanza who sustains the education and rehab programs of young drug and alcohol addicts.

Pedregulho, meso-region of Ribeirão Preto, is the frame of the first days of the Campus, which take place in the vast plantations of O'Coffee. This latter is a huge company that, despite the large amount of coffee produced, is able to ensure high product quality, thanks to constant innovation and research. The technology of the company caused great interest: an automatic picker is used for cherry harvesting, replacing so the work of 150 workers, picking cherries 24/7. This machine, due to its size, is used only in Brazil, and only in plantations allowing it.

Flowering of the plant, growth, life, chemical elements necessary for a good cup profile, irrigation system, pruning, fertilizing, digital mapping of the plants, and “sweeping coffee” were some of the topics discussed. “Sweeping” is the collection of the coffee beans fallen during the season. It takes place after two months of the end of the collection and the coffee deriving from it will be sold on the domestic market.

The second part of the project took place in the south part of Sao Paulo region, at the border with Parana, in the city of Piraju, where participants will spend the remaining days of the Campus.

Fazenda da Esperanca and Capricornio Coffee company, both project partners, are waiting here the participants. The members of Fazenda raised the experience to a different quality level: from the final cup quality, to the quality of life that can arise from the coffee. In fact, thanks to the work in the coffee plantations the young drug or alcohol addicts are reintegrated into society, with a new lease of life after having successfully completed a period of rehab. In addition to job creation and the recovery from difficult situations, Fazenda is committed to coffee quality production and promotion.

The coffee production in the Tropic of Capricorn region is characterized by the close relationship between altitude, latitude and quality of the coffee, dispelling so the myth of the impossibility of having the highest quality even at low altitudes. Here Green Coffee and Sensory Skills classes took place.

The fifth day is all devoted to green coffee: understanding the botany of the plant from a more theoretical point of view; differences between Canephora, Arabica, Excelsa and Liberica species; climate, altitude and latitude for the balanced growth of the plant; understand the close link between the growth conditions of the plant and the final cup profile; defects of green coffee; export and decaffeination methods.

The participants selected black, fermented, unripe, worm-eaten and malformed beans and foreign materials.

At the end of the camp one participant affirms: "... Producing specialty coffee forces you to have extreme attention to every little thing. It is a commitment. Engagement with the earth and every human being".

Sensory Skills is a complex module, which needs practice and time. That’s why the whole eight day was spent in the sensory lab, tasting, cupping and improving participants’ skills.

The Umami experience is also built during leisure time: a professional experience, but, most of all, a life experience. The relationships established with the youth of Fazenda have been a driving force for the union and collaboration of the group. There were also moments of sharing, discussion and exchange of experiences, in a familiar context.

Andrej Godina, responsible of the educational part of the Camp said: "In this campus I experienced first hand how coffee not only combines the producing and consuming countries but also makes possible true bonds, friendships and cultural exchanges. We experience the chance of mutual growth between coffee experts, coffee producers and, as in this case in Brazil, marginalized youth."