January Single Origin / by Amanda Jones

This month’s single origin is named after the pioneering Okuyama family. Descendants of Japanese migrants to Brazil, who sought out a better life and career in the southern hemisphere, the Okuyamas turned to coffee, and have been at the forefront of innovation in this significant sector of the Brazilian economy.

The story of this bean reflects the nature of the wider coffee industry. Always a global trade, even in the earliest days from Ethiopia to the Arabian Peninsula, coffee has been grown, prepared and shared by those who have travelled in search of the precious elixir. Today this is no different, and after the Okuyamas moved to São Paulo, they uprooted themselves again in search of greener pastures which they found in Santa Mariana.

This lasted until 1974, when the Brazilian government selected the Okuyama family to drive the productivity of the vast Cerrado region in the interior of Brazil. Settling in Rio Paranaíba, a municipality within Minas Gerais state, the family grew coffee on a 60-hectare plot.

Today, the Okuyama family have over 1100 hectares across eight estates, and are enabling the continued development of Brazilian coffee. Taking care to understand the land and their crop, the Okuyamas have discovered sustainable practices that utilise natural resources, without straining the fragile environment. Their success has not only been beneficial for coffee, but shown that agriculture in these areas is a viable and worthwhile endeavour, providing economic and social support to the local population.

For our January single origin, we are tasting the fruits of this labour, and in particular the work of Edna Yumi Okuyama. Using a pulped natural process, which has enabled consistently better quality beans, the Catuaí and Topázio beans have developed a delicate yet defined aroma. With a medium body and a mild citric acidity, the coffees we have been brewing from this bean tell a story of their own.

Part of our ongoing connection to Brazilian coffee, this single origin is history, culture and science rolled into one. BUY NOW