You may remember the coffee from Brazilian farmer Rafael Vinhal from last year when we first offered his coffee. Rafael is a great experimenter, combining different fermentations to achieve exclusive coffee microlots from otherwise commonly grown varieties. The flavours that these coffees offer are truly exceptional and diverse. They can be chocolate covered cherries, coconut milk or even cinnamon cookies. What’s more, Rafael is such a pro that he can replicate these processes year after year.
Owner of Fazenda Estrela and Fazenda Recanto called Rafael Vinhal is the oldest son of Alfonso and Marcélia who started the third generation of farmers. Rafael is responsible for the commercial development of the farm and the Vinhal brand. He has never exported directly before and now this is one of his main projects. Brazil operates mainly on the basis of a coffee monopoly and buying cooperatives; direct trade is still a novelty here. Rafael belongs to a generation of farmers who are interested in where their coffee goes, which roasters work with their coffee and what is the end product of their months of hard work.
The Vinhal family’s history with coffee began with Rafael’s grandfather “Seu Zico” in the 1970s. Mr. Zicoe was a very charismatic and kind gentleman. It was he who, with his own hands, planted the first coffee seeds from which today’s Vinhal Cafés Artesanais could grow.”
In 2007, the Vinhals started to grow a selection of coffees and since this year they have focused more on quality and certification. They currently grow coffee on the Fazenda Estrela and Fazenda Recanto farms. Two properties in Serra do Salitre in the Cerrado Mineiro region. Over the years they have been certified by Rainforest Alliance, 4C and Certifica Minas and have adopted the best practices in line with the principles of sustainability, respect for people and the environment. And what do the Vinhals say about themselves? “We are a family business and everyone who works for us is totally passionate about coffee. We are also members of the Brazilian Select Coffee Association, BSCA.”
The second lot we bought from Rafael this year has become his signature lot thanks to its unusual flavours. Cocada takes its name from a popular Brazilian sweet. As the name suggests, there is a hint of coconut in the taste and aroma. The entire micro lot is of the Catuai 144 variety, which Rafael processed as a 2x fermented fully washed coffee. After mechanical picking and sorting by floating, the coffee cherries were fermented aerobically for 30 hours “dry”, that is, in whole cherries free in the air. Then, so that the temperature did not rise too much, the coffee was cooled rapidly with cold water, a so-called thermal shock. The coffee was then stripped of its skins and a second stage of fermentation, anaerobic, i.e. without air, took place in water, lasting a total of 190 hours. Finally, the coffee was centrifuged and dried for 16 days.
You can look forward to a sweet and dense cup with notes of coconut, wild strawberries and a cinnamon finish.