For our latest episode of Reports From The Field, we sat down (over the screen) with father and son duo, Ismael and Rômulo Andrade, from the esteemed Andrade family. Renowned for their dedication to excellence, the Andrades have been cultivating coffee in Brazil since 1901. We're thrilled to feature Brazil Capim Branco, on our menu — and even more thrilled to secure the entire and exclusive lot of this naturally processed Paraiso. 

Put the kettle on and join us as we delve into the Andrade family's journey, their innovative practices, and the delicious coffee that is Brazil Capim Branco.

Q: Hi Rômulo, can you give us a rundown on the Andrade family's history in producing coffee? 
Our family's coffee journey began in 1901 when Ismael's Mother's family first started cultivating coffee in our region. Initially, coffee was a complementary income alongside cattle, beans, corn, and cotton. The arrival of the railroad from Rio de Janeiro was pivotal for logistics, enabling efficient transport of our coffee. Despite challenges during the Great Depression, where we temporarily lost part of our farm, we persevered and repurchased it in 1977. With Ismael's engineering background, he was able to introduce new approaches to farming, focusing on quality and innovation. 

Q. Rômulo, can you tell us about your personal journey into the coffee industry. Could you share a bit about your background and how your career led you to the family's operations? 
Before fully joining the coffee industry, I occasionally visited the farm with my father. I studied management engineering in the city, supplemented by a year in Germany and experience at Mercedes Benz in management and consulting. Returning to Brazil in 2018, I worked in finance and management roles until the pandemic led me back to our family farm. Now, I manage operations, implementing new systems and leveraging past experience to improve efficiency and sustainability.

Q. Ismael, how did you feel about Rômulo helping on the farm with a new data-driven approach?
We both come from engineering backgrounds, so I was thrilled when Rômulo introduced a data-driven approach to our operations. His fresh perspective and enthusiasm for improving coffee quality and business efficiency have been invaluable. In our industry, every day and every year brings new challenges — from currency fluctuations to logistics. Having someone like Rômulo, who's well-prepared and finely tuned to these challenges, is crucial for our success.

Q. How long have you been working with Supreme?
Rômulo: Ernest and I met at MICE in 2022 and got along really well at a cupping session. From there that led to further discussions resulting in Ernest visiting Capim Branco last year. This is the first time we will be featured on the Coffee Supreme menu and hopefully not the last.

Q. What sets the Andrade family operations and its coffees apart from others?
Rômulo: Our focus is on producing specialty coffee in Brazil, not just commodity coffee. We prioritise building relationships with our buyers and continually innovating. Unlike some competitors who sell high-priced coffee without the same level of effort, we emphasise creativity and thinking outside the box.

Ismael: In this industry, attention to detail is crucial. Coffee grown at higher altitudes tends to be of higher quality. Our approach involves meticulous fertilisation, operations management, and post-harvest processing to ensure superior product quality. We've also begun integrating organic compounds into our practices to reduce chemical dependency. While we're not fully organic, introducing microorganisms into the soil has significantly improved the health of our coffee trees. This holistic approach recognises the interconnectedness of the trees through their root systems, allowing them to share nutrients and maintain overall soil health.

Q. Ismael, what’s your vision for the future of your family farms?
I envision a future filled with optimism and continuous improvement. Each day presents its own challenges, but we are committed to enhancing our soil and refining our processes. Drawing parallels between growing wine grapes and coffee cultivation has been enlightening and is guiding our path forward.

Q. Like growing any produce, there are many variables at hand. Naturally, this means there can be lots of challenges, too. What are the main challenges you’re facing at the moment, and how are you trying to overcome them?
One of our main challenges is soil health, which directly impacts coffee quality. Even with the best varietals, inadequate nutrients in the soil can hinder the production of specialty-grade coffee. We've implemented a mapping system to track where we collect coffee cherries, followed by cupping and ranking to ensure quality control. Infrastructure optimisation is another hurdle, especially concerning drying patio capacity. We're working on solutions to maximise efficiency in this area. Communicating effectively with our farm workers, during harvest poses another significant challenge. We're exploring innovative approaches to improve communication and ensure smooth operations during this critical period.

Q. What do you love most about producing and working with coffee?
Rômulo: I enjoy the variety in my work — whether it's tasting coffee, managing operations, or simply driving to the farm for fresh air. Switching between different tasks keeps me energised and less stressed. It's refreshing to have a role where every day brings something new and different.

Ismael: Finding happiness in what you do is crucial. Rômulo's addition to our team has brought a fresh perspective and youthful energy, complementing our business well. As for myself, there's still much to accomplish, so retirement isn't on the horizon anytime soon. Working in coffee production allows me to stay engaged and passionate about our ongoing journey of improvement and growth.

Q. We’re excited to offer, Capim Branco Paraiso Natural, in Australia. Can you share any insights for our customers who are drinking it at home?
Our Capim Branco Paraiso Natural is a microlot that improves with each passing year from our 3,000 shaded Paraiso trees. Hand-harvesting ensures only the finest cherries are selected, enhancing the quality of each cup. Slowing the maturation of the cherries adds complexity and depth to the coffee's flavour profile. With only 2% of our farm shaded, our natural lot of Paraiso is unique and exclusive. Producing low-yielding, high-quality specialty coffee demands commitment from the farmer, sacrificing yield for superior quality. Despite lower yields per hectare compared to others, our focus remains on delivering exceptional taste and complexity in every cup.

Q. And lastly, what’s your favourite way to drink coffee?
We drink coffee every morning together and after lunch. Every time we brew through a v60.

Grab a bag of Brazil Capim Branco here.


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