“They’ve got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil,” sang Frank Sinatra in Bob Holland and Dick Miles popular ‘Coffee Song’. Well, unfortunately, the news from Brazil has not been so good. Brazil has been experiencing unusual weather conditions, but unlike our months of excessive rainfall, Brazil has experienced drought in the coffee producing regions. This is predicted to affect the amount of coffee for the 2014/2015 crop. Does this matter? Well yes, it does, because Brazil is still the world’s major producer, by a long way, and the predicted shortfall has sent all coffee prices soaring, as well as casting doubts on whether roasters will get the amount of quality Brazilian coffees they require

This could affect two of our special Brazilian coffees. Brazil Bourbon and Brazil Santos Supreme, medium and dark roasted.

‘Bourbon’ is a variety of coffee bean, not easy to grow and therefore not so attractive to many Brazilian coffee farmers. It has more of a demonstrative character than the Santos variety, having more body and depth of flavour. Our medium to dark roast Brazil Bourbon has a subtle fruitiness, pleasant mild to medium acidity, and good flavour. When roasted very dark its body becomes more powerful and intense, it has less acidity with a hint of chocolaty after tones. We recommend both the medium to dark roast and the very dark roast for use in all types of coffee maker.

Brazil Santos Supreme. The flavours we enjoy in the coffees we drink depend on many factors, climate, soil, altitude, etc., and the way the coffee is handled. Coffee beans grow within an outer casing called the cherry. Tradition plays a part in production, and for most Brazil coffee the cherry is harvested and then laid out in the sun on specially prepared areas for the atmosphere to dry up the cherry and have it ready to extract the beans. This part of production is called the dry method, or sun dried coffee.

For a smaller proportion of the total Brazil crop the cherry is removed by what is called the wet method. The coffee in the cherry goes into fermentation tanks for a carefully controlled period, then the cherry is removed and the beans go to the next stage. This wet method or washed method is favoured by many producing countries in the production of their fine coffees.

When in the 1970s I came across some Washed Brazilian I was keen to taste it and excited to find that in my opinion, it had interesting differences in quality and character from the fine traditional dry method Brazil Santos that I had grown up with. I decided to feature it, and called it Santos Supreme.

Brazil Santos Supreme has a very mellow body of flavour, an all round harmony that speaks of quality, coupled with a very fine almost sweet acidity at the finish. We offer a medium and a dark roast, and recommend the dark roast for drinking black after food.

Let’s hope that we can continue to feature all our Brazils in the future.