Reflections on Brazil: Meeting Jhone Lacerda / by Scott Jones

For the entirety of September, our single origin has been from the farm of Jhone Lacerda. This has been the culmination of a relationship that sparked last October when CEO and master roaster Scott Jones travelled to Brazil and met with Jhone. As part of our mission to grow the public’s understanding and appreciation of specialty coffee, this trip further cemented Black Drum Roasters’ connection with Brazil and the coffee grown there.

Part of what made this journey so important is the unique approach that Jhone takes to growing coffee. Rather than focusing on just growing a bean to then be shipped off and exported, Jhone takes an holistic, bean to cup approach, and nowhere is that clearer than the farm itself.

Arriving at the farm, Scott was impressed by the lush, green setting and the two white buildings that stood before him. One of these buildings housed a simple but well-appointed coffee shop, while the other contained a small roaster and tasting equipment. Behind both was the drying beds, sheds and coffee mill processing.

“When Jhone came out to greet us I was struck by how young he looked, yet he immediately came across as humble. Jhone seems to have an air of one that has much experience and knowledge, as well as being a thinker.”

It is unusual to have all of these processes at the one farm, however it has enabled Jhone to experiment and develop new processing techniques to get the most out of his coffee.

Until recently, the vast quantities of coffee that Brazil and other nations produced was collected and sold en masse through trading houses and brokers. Connecting roaster directly to source, as in the case of Scott and Jhone seeks to bridge this divide, providing more flavour for the coffee drinkers and a greater return and acknowledgement of the work of the farmer.

Scott likens this to our understanding and appreciation of the individual terrior of wine producers.

“It is very much like how we see our best wines grown, selected and presented. Jhone approaches his coffee in the same way.”

Understanding the effort that Jhone and other small-lot farmers like him put into producing specialty coffee, allows roasters and buyers such as Scott to value the coffee more highly, and thus provide a better price for Jhone.

“Rather than have their coffee blended with many other farms that may not take the time, love and effort to specifically pick ripe or well cared for coffee, their coffee will be bought by roasters like BDR who will pay three, four or five times above the regular market price.”

Paying above market price has a significant impact for farmers such as these, Scott highlights, “Some of these farms are quite small so to receive the everyday standard market price their families would need a second job or income. By greater effort in soil management, plant caring, together with careful picking and unique processing, they increase their ability present a better, consistent coffee.”

While Jhone is an early adopter of these kinds of approaches of getting his coffee to market, Scott predicts that many similar growers will follow in his steps, as Brazil’s mechanised agricultural sector, as well as its hilly and undulating topography, makes for a prime market for specialty coffee.

“I believe there will be more excitement and talk coming over the next few years about Brazil’s coffees.”

To get a taste of this coffee, head over to our online store to pick up a bag of this exquisite single origin.