Last year was a tough year for everyone, borders got shut down, business was extremely hard, and travel was banned. With all that happening, there was no way we could make our normal annual farm visit to help work on the farm and conduct experiments. We were expecting this year to be one where not a lot of progress is made on experimental coffees but instead, we let the farm staff focus all their resources on making our main lots as high quality as possible. While they executed on the latter, which created some our favorite iterations of the Peixoto Honey and Familia Peixoto, Nilton who is our head farmer, took it into his own hands to carry on the experiments.
Nilton has a long history with the Peixoto Family, starting with his father Tião, who worked for Julia’s (the owner of Peixoto) grandfather for over 25 years, then for Julia’s father for another 15 years until he retired. He then passed the torch to his son Nilton, who was born on the farm and has worked on it his whole life and has been managing the farm for the last 15 years. He and his wife Raquel live in Ibirací, the neighboring town, with their two kids Pedro and Jorge. Jorge wants one day to drive trucks and manage the farm like his dad. Nilton is our right hand at the farm, a force to be reckoned with, no decision gets made without him knowing about it, he moves fast and is always attending to the most urgent need at the farm. One of our favorite things about Nilton is his positive outlook (despite not showing it in his pictures), a difficult trait to keep in an unpredictable farming environment. Whenever we ask Nilton, the most strange and monumental asks, “can this be done?”, his answer is always “com certeza!”, which means, for sure!
Once all the coffees were dry this year, we were eagerly awaiting the samples to see how the coffees were tasting, so we could decide what lots to bring in this year. Most the samples looked normal, but one had a different coloration to the green coffee that we were not used to seeing in our coffees. We opened the bag, smelled the green and were blown away but what we smelled. It was heavily fruited with smells of apple cider and blueberries. With our curiosity piqued, we immediately roasted, and then cupped the coffee and found an incredibly complex, sweet and fruit forward cup. We started messaging Nilton and he informed us what he had done.
He selected our best cherries from a lot on our farm called Campo 5 (the same as the Peixoto Honey and Familia), these were fully ripe yellow catucai, bursting with fruit juice at peak ripeness. He then placed them in a tank, carefully watching and smelling as they fermented each day. On the fourth day, the cherries smelled highly fruity and winey, he loved the way it smelled and felt it was time to slow down the fermentation and start to dry. He then laid the cherries on the patio, and slow dried the cherries until they were at a stable moisture content.
His initiative to carry on our tradition of experimentation warmed our heart and completely humbled us at the same time. He followed his gut and created a gem. After all of that we could think of no better name than Café Do Nilton or Nilton’s coffee.
Farmer: José Augusto Peixoto
Farm: Fazenda São José da Boa Vista
Region: Sul de Minas
Altitude: 1250 MSL
Process: Experimental Natural
Varietal: Yellow Catucai
Taste: Cherry wine, banana, raisin
Recommended Brewing Methods:
22g in – 350g out
50 grams, swirl brewer 3 times, wait 30 seconds
After 30 second, pour to 250 grams by 55 seconds
Let drain till 1:25
At 1:25, pour the remaining 100 grams, ending at 350 grams at 1:40
Let drain completely
Total time should be between 2:45 – 3:00 mins
- A dessert wine
- Chocolate cake
- An adventurous friend