No, we didn't make it to the Melbourne International Coffee Expo. Yes, we are absolutely gutted. Unfortunately other commitments got in the way of us attending Australia's biggest industry trade show, however Sydney still served up some coffee goods. Handcraft Specialty Coffee in Newtown recently managed to get hold of the Best of Brazil Naturals Cup of Excellence 2015. A big title for a big coffee, these beans managed to take out the COE comp with a whopping cupping score of 94.47 (to put this into perspective, 'specialty' coffee defines scores above 80, with above 90 being somewhat rare). Of course Brazil is the world's largest producer of coffee, meaning that one might expect the best coffee there to be pretty damn good. This one blew my expectations out of the water.
Ironically as we weren't down south for MICE, this coffee was bought and roasted by none other than Melbourne giants Proud Mary. The farmer, Sebastiao Alfonso da Silva, has an interesting back story of starting to farm coffee on a single hectare of land around twenty years ago in order to provide some income for his family. His continual passion for cultivating beans of the highest grade has evidently shone through with this particular harvest. As we sat down to enjoy it at Handcraft, I was mesmerised yet again at just how many hands are involved on coffee's journey to the consumer. Farmers, traders, roasters, and then barista. The brew was extracted by Hario V60, and waiting for it to cool was an intense test of patience. Taking a sip, huge waves of tropical fruit crashed the insides of my mouth, with notes of papaya, mango and melon to name a few. What was best was that despite the clarity of these immense flavours, the coffee remained clean and balanced. To back up this coffee we'd also ordered a Panama Auromar Gesha, which on any other day would've stolen the show but felt almost lifeless side by side with the Brazilian. Big shoutout to Jeong and the team for the legendary brews.