From our President and Green Coffee Buyer for Brazil James McLaughlin:
Flor de Março, which translates literally to March Flower, is a bit of an environmental freak. The coffee in Espirito Santo region flowers in November. Nine months after the coffee tree flowers, the farmer will have cherries ready to pick.
But in the mountains of Espirito Santo where we sourced this lot of smallholder coffee, there is a second flowering four months later. While it is common for a coffee tree to have multiple flowerings, it is unusual that they are separated by a four-month period. This gap in time means that the coffee from the March flowering matures under very different climatic conditions than the November flowering. For example, the March coffee does not experience the dry conditions from November to April and it is maturing through the rainy season. For reasons we don’t fully understand yet, these environmental differences have a dramatic impact on the coffee’s flavor. We have cupped coffees from the same farm from multiple flowerings—one from the November flowering and another from the March flowering—and the March flowering is almost always better, and not by a small margin. Coffees from the March flowering routinely outscore their November counterparts by five points or more!
The Flor de Março coffees have some of our favorites from Brazil. Over the past two seasons, we have been working patiently to develop relationships with a small group of family farmers in Espirito Santo who share our commitment to quality. As we expand our project in Espirito Santo in the years ahead, we will have steadily more coffees from what is probably the most exciting and under-appreciated coffee region in Brazil. In the meantime, enjoy this release and celebrate the impact that Mother Nature has on flavor!