We purchased our 5th place auction lot at Carmo Best Cup, with all of the increased price going directly to the Hervaz family. The following is a translation of a conversation between Randy Evans and Alessandro Alves Hervaz......
Hello Alessandro! We are very excited to finally have your coffee arrive at our roastery in Sandpoint, Idaho! It is some of the best coffee I’ve ever had in my life. I had no idea that Brazilian coffee could taste like this. I can’t wait to share it with our customers!
I am very happy you enjoy and speak so well about our coffee, this shows we are doing a good job in the quality and managing to show our work to the world, at the same time changing the way people think about Brazilian coffee.
During the cupping competition in Brazil, I kept coming back to your coffee on the table. Of course, all of the coffees in the competition were delicious, but there was something about yours…it had such complexity, layered fruits, and sweetness. We tasted notes of sugarcane, caramel, apple, lemonade, and sherbet. I knew that your coffee would score very high in the competition and I was worried that I would get outbid in the auction. But I was determined. It’s the highest price we’ve ever paid in a competition before. It is worth every penny and I’m happy to know that you receive all of the money paid.
Our coffee is very good, we have a very large country so we can produce different types of coffee, what the Brazilian producer lacked was the financial incentive to produce a better coffee, in the past this did not happen, thank God this has been changing. Today we have buyers and contests that pay for quality, this motivates us to want to improve more every day.
Can you tell me a little about your family business? How long have you been growing coffee?
I have been in the coffee industry since 1993, when my father bought a property in São Gonçalo do Sapucaí, since then I have been learning to produce coffee, now I own two small properties, the Sítio Esperança Sítio Diogo, and I rent three more: Sítio Grotão, Sitio Boa Vista e Fazenda Fortaleza, where I live, amounting to a total of 19 ha of coffee, we work in a family farming regime, I am part of the APAS (Alto da Serra Producers' Association), where we work together with other producers and are focused on producing high quality coffee, especially the natural ones, from 2013 we began to peel the coffee, dry the coffee in a paved terrace, suspended and greenhouse, we are in a region where is been the spotlight in the production of specialty coffee.
Last year we started selective harvesting in partnership with a Texas client Joel Shuler of Casa Brasil, at first seemed impossible, everyone was said. Thanks again to God the quality of the coffee that was selectively harvested surprised us reaching notes and flavors that we did not even imagine, like this lot of BEST CUP, the selective harvesting elevated the quality of our coffee very much, we are always trying to improve our quality. We are in testing with some organic coffee farms, still in transition, we are learning, hopefully right. We also work with beekeeping, so we created the brand Honey & Coffee that represents all our work in beekeeping and coffee properties, always seeking to improve the quality and variety of our products.
How does this balance out? Do the honey bees also pollinate the coffee flowers?
Bees do not compete with the coffee but help the pollination, increasing production.
What kinds of changes have you seen in Specialty Coffee over the past ten years? And how has your relationship with Carmo Coffees impacted your business?
From 2010 we started to have access to the specialty market through a contest and also by Carmo Coffees who bought the coffee in the region and paid for the quality, it was a new thing, the first time we took a sample at Carmo Coffees they asked us how much we wanted for our coffee, we could not answer because usually we were the ones to ask how much they would pay for our coffee.
In the last years this market has been growing and we have been growing with it, learning each year how to increase our quality. We can do this today because we can invest in the quality knowing someone will pay for it.
What does winning a competition like the Carmo Best Cup mean for you and other farmers?
My dream has always been to win prizes in competitions, thank God in recent years we’ve achieved good results, the biggest prizes were this year, being awarded in the Best Cup and Cup Of Excellence. It is great to be awarded, not for the financial value, but the recognition, this is the best part.
One thing that keeps me motivated as a roaster, is seeing first-hand the hard work and passion that farmers like yourself put into this product. I want to honor that through careful roasting and preparation. And I feel strongly that it’s important to celebrate and acknowledge the producer on our labels. You do the hardest part.
Receiving this feed-back is very good, knowing my coffee is running the world and taking my name and my work with it, and pleasing people, it is wonderful.
I really hope we can continue purchasing your coffee in the years to come. I would love to come back to Brazil and visit your farms next time!
We are sure to work together for many years and it will be a pleasure to receive you in Brazil.
Thank you for your hard work and outstanding coffee!
Thank you, Alessandro.