The Best of Brazil: Ralph de Castro Junqueira's Fazenda Kaquend

[flickr-photo:id=3523582718] For eight generations, Ralph de Castro Junqueira's family has been working the Brazilian highlands to produce some of the world's most desired coffees. His Fazenda Kaquend (Kaquend Farm) is part of the larger Serra da Três Barras, which has in turn been producing coffee for almost two hundred years. The families that work the farm also live on the farm, and they make every effort to promote shade tree growth and spring preservation on the property. Because of the rugged terrain of the farm, the coffee at Fazenda Kaquend is hand-harvested over cloth. Once it is pulped, the coffee berries are taken to the hanging patios to complete the process of drying. After that, they are kept in wood storehouses to rest from 60 to 90 days.

The results of this effort are telling: four coffees placed in the top ten of Brazil's Cup of Excellence competition in the last five years. Three coffees were finalists in Illy's Espresso Brazil competition. Two more were top-three finalists in the Certifica Minas quality competition.

For 2008, Fazenda Kaquend hit the jackpot: their coffee was selected as the winner of Brazil's Cup of Excellence competition. Only 22 bags of this pulp-natural Bourbon/Catuai blend were available to be judged (and then bid-upon). With a winning score of 93.65, the coffee had an amazing spread of descriptors that came off of the cupping table during the judging: Aroma-Flavor- extremely sweet (20), floral (18), chocolate (15), honey (15), fresh sugar cane (11), muscat wine (9), stone fruits (7), dark plum (7), passion fruit (7), jasmine (7), raspberry (6), strawberries (6), dried apricot (5), cherry (5), bergamot (5), lemon lime soda (3). Mouthfeel- creamy (15), rich (15), velvety (11), structured (10), concentrated (7), chewy (6), overwhelming (4) . Acidity- elegant (15), bright (15), sweet (11), lime (8), racy (8), firm (6), with spine (6) long and pleasant aftertaste perfectly balanced. (The numbers indicate how many judges arrived at the same description independent of each other.) When the coffee was sold at auction, it brought $9.05 per pound green and undelivered.

Intelligentsia split the lot of the coffee with a roaster from Japan, a roaster from Taiwan, and with San Francisco's Ritual. With only 100 pounds available among all of Intelligentsia's accounts (including their own stores), the coffee retails for $50 a pound. Volta was able to secure 7% of the total available lot for our customers to be able to experience this amazing coffee here in Gainesville. Intelligentsia's description of the coffee is spot on: "To begin, the aromatics entice you with citrus, almond and fresh berries. The first sip blossoms into lemon candy and white grape as black raspberry notes come to the forefront. The mouthfeel strikes a synergy of effervescence and silkiness as the body crescendos in the finish with caramel, walnut and fudge."

With a coffee this special, we've decided to offer it three different ways: on the Clover, brewed with a Chemex, or a special preparation using a Hario Syphon brewer. The syphon takes about five minutes extra to prepare, but it does bring out an amazing depth of body and intensity that can easily be split among two friends. Our Fazenda Kaquend costs $4.50 a cup brewed on the Clover or Chemex, $5.50 on the Syphon.