Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Brazil 2004 Cerrado Coffee Competition, Coffee Tour

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Entering the coffee center of Mogiana, Pinhal (more properly called Espirito Santo do Pinhal. In the town square is the Palacio do Cafe - I guess that lets you know how important coffee is to this economy. Pinhal is also home to the well-known coffee equipment maker, Pinhalense, who I had come to visit.
On the streets of Pinhal, waiting for the bus with a faithful dog sleeping afoot.
The offices of the Pinhalense marketing company (P&A) occupies a beautiful house on the town square. The ceilings are 12' high, all the woodwork, the trim and doors are really amazing.
The house was owned by the ancestors (pictured above) of Carlos Brando, and he runs the marketing company now. I met with his associate Joao Staut to look at Pinhalense cupping room equipment and sample roasters
They use a superauto Saeco machine for their office espresso, and a Technivorm for their brewed coffee. (in fact, you might see us offering Technivorm brewers soon too).
This is their high end 2 barrel electric sample roaster, all in stainless steel and brass. It's really a beautiful machine. I am not a fan of the electric heat system though, and it takes a while to roast even on a 220v circuit. The price, over $5000, is steep too, although it is still a lot less than a new Probat with the same specifications
Another view of their high end roaster. We roasted a sample of Carmo Estate coffee and cupped it at the office. The sample was smaller than the 250g capacity of the machine, plus it was the first sample roasted which always takes longer ... but it was a very slow roast. I like gas roasters. They just have a lot more BTUs plus convective air flow. I have been looking at Pinhalense gas roasters, a much more crude build, but solid, to see if they would work for home roasting folks. The verdict is still out...
The P&A sample room. They also represent quite a few good estate coffees here, so there is always a lot of cupping going on...
Some Pinhalense cupping lab equipment: a marble top cupping table with accessories.
This is a simpler 3 barrel gas sample roaster with grinder. They are closed barrel design which prevents the coffee from getting scorched or smoked by the burners. It also doesn't allow the chaff to escape, so when you dump the roast into the cooling tray, you still need to clean off the chaff. It's not a big deal ... and it is better to have sealed solid drums than perforated drums...
While at Pinhalense, we actually met up with the owner, Lorenzo, who had dropped by in shorts and a t-shirt (it was a holiday in Brasil) and ended up giving me a tour of the metal shops, and showing me some new products in development. They actually have a large roaster in the works, as well as a smaller air machine, but neither are in the price or size range for us.
After Pinhalense, a cafeteria-style lunch at a chicken place in Campinas. I always admire the way that animals are used as mascots for restaurants ... a friendly chicken for a chicken place, and happy cow for a beef place, etc. Maybe we consumers really need a reassurance from a cartoon version of the animal we are about the eat, basically saying "hey, go ahead and eat me ... it's okay, I don't mind." I don't see it in the US much anymore, but you see lots of waving pigs and cows and fowl in Latin America.
We went straight through Sao Paulo this time, because we were trying to get to the Coffee Museum in Santos before it closed. Here is the new Emigrantes freeway headed down into Santos, the port city.
Santos is amazing. It made my eyes pop. I love old stuff and I really like it when it's rustic, a little dirty, unpolished, decayed. Santos is a busy, active port, semi trucks with shipping containers lined up in front of ancient brick warehouse buildings, churches for the sailors, narrow cobble streets, built for the commerce of another century, but still being furiously used in 2004.
Long after the coffee trading districts in New York, San Francisco and New Orleans are gone, there is not only an intact Coffee Trader's street in Santos, it's still being used! This is it, the Rua XV de Novembro which still houses the major coffee export offices. At the end of the street, the "Bolsa Official de Cafe" and the coffee museum inside called the Museo Dos Cafes Do Brasil.
An official plaque recognizing the "antique district" centered on this street, one block from the wharves.
Everywhere here you see signs of coffee ...here a wrought iron fence decorated by a wreath of coffee tree leaves.
Here a plaque commemorating the "economia do cafe". The street is filled with all the money people, the banks, the insurers, the shipping company offices, that had to do with coffee. And if they needed to meet up, to set up an export, to get a loan, or to go check the stock at the warehouse, they could do it in one neighborhood. It made sense to have everything close at hand, in a way that doesn't make sense anymore. Will our cities ever have "districts" again?
A favorite facade, shored up but falling apart too. Actually, I found some buildings in severe state of ruin, but they had erected steel supports to keep the facades upright - clearly they value the history of the district but are short on money for renovation.
The same building in the background, a coffee tree in the foreground. Actually, this tree was the only one I saw in Brasil with coffee flowers on it in bloom!

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