This will be a combined review, both of us having received samples. For a description of Bob and Jim's evaluation procedure, see our reference page.
Brazil Poco Fundo is a Fair Trade cooperative of 71 small farms in Minas Gerais producing organic coffees from dry processed Mondo Novo and Catuai cultivars. Most of the well known coffees from this area, e.g. Daterra, Cacheoira, Bleu de Brasil, Vista Allegre, are very large plantation style farms using advanced agribusiness methods. This does not make them "the bad guys." All these facendas use advanced methods to create high quality, environmentally friendly coffees. But they are still "the big guys," while Poco Fundo are the small ones.
This isn't the first time I've reviewed Poco Fundo beans and they're very consistent from harvest to harvest. These beans are truly multi-functional. By that, I mean that this coffee can be taken through a fairly wide range of roast levels and then used in an espresso blend or experienced in a brewed beverage with equally delicious results. I roasted them up to full city with no ashy flavors. The coffee was also quite acceptable as a straight SO shot.
It is sweet, full-bodied, creamy smooth and as a french press, tasted as though I had melted some milk chocolate into the cup and sprinkled some toasted nuts in as well. Brazil nuts? I don't know... but a lovely cup! Since the beans are dry-processed, they roast a bit unevenly, but don't let that put you off: this is a fine coffee with complexity, and fruity zestiness against a backdrop of nutty-chocolate flavor. And as an espresso, blended in at about 50%, the beans produced copious amounts of crema.
Can they keep up with the big guys? They can. The traditional Brazil is a heavy, cocoa laden coffee with winy and ferment overtones. I sometimes miss these. But the current emphasis is on cleaner, more complex coffees that perform well at light roasts in the cup and North Italian roasts for espresso. The drawback of these new style Brazils is a slight loss in body and a tendency towards ashiness at darker roasts. This Poco Fundo is as good as anything from Daterra or Vista Allegre. The taste is a fine combination of orange, apricot and almond milk; and in the new style, the body is a bit lighter and the acidity a little higher.
This coffee makes the case that Brazils aren't just for espresso by producing a satisfying brewed coffee at a light roast. The espresso at North Italian roast is a 90ish SO and will work very well as a blender for East African, Ethiopian, and Yemen coffees. This coffee should not be taken too far into the second crack, since tobacco flavored distillates develop early, at the first pops.
Dry Fragrance: 4.0
Wet Aroma: 4.1
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 87.6
Dry fragrance: 4.0
Wet Aroma: 4.0
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 87.5