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Brazil Facenda Cachoeira Yellow Bourbon

January 3, 2006
Jim Schulman

Facenda Cachoeira is a medium sized organic estate in Minas Gerais situated at 1000 meters. While not as famous as Daterra, they have been growing coffee for over 100 years. I used their regular grade greens as espresso bases for several years, since they were reliably sweet and milk chocolaty. This Yellow Bourbon is a premium selection intended for both regular brewing and single origin espresso.

Paradise Roasters primarily sells roasted coffee, but like other premier roasters, also sells green coffees over the internet. It is a fairly new arrival, but has achieved star status with a string of 90+ reviews by Ken Davids at R. Miguel Meza, their cupper, buyer and roastmaster sent me this coffee to review as a green, after it garnered 92 points as a brewed cup on Coffeereview, coming in first in their April review of Brazilian coffees.

I roasted this coffee twice; once to 430F, my normal City Roast for cupping, and once to 445F, the Full City Roast I usually use for espresso.

The darker roast was not good, and had a taste dominated by dry distillates verging on ashy. Overall, this coffee strikes me as delicate for roasting. Drum roasters should go easy on the heat; air roasters should cut the load, so the air flows faster and cooler. A longer, gentler roast is best for this bean. Oddly, it gains flavor with age, and should rested at least 2 days before drinking.

The lighter roast turned out to be very hard to score. This is a very understated coffee, bordering on wan, but with wonderfully complex flavors -- a small masterpiece done in pastels, and crying out for more vivid oil paints. If you like subtlety, you will love this coffee. If you want the taste vivid; this one is not for you. I compromised on the scoring, adding points for the quality, and deducting for the lack of power.

In the cup, this is a medium bodied coffee with the lively, almost effervescent, mouthfeel associated with highly acidic coffees. However, the basic taste is not at all acidy, but distinctly sweet. The dominant aroma is milk chocolate, with a hint of ripe fruit. On tasting, the milk chocolate adds a slight note of almond, while the origin flavor resolves into overripe cherry and strawberry, with a distinct and oddly attractive meaty note (Ken Davids called it tomatoey, to me it's more like the beefy flavor of Cotes de Nuits Pinots). The finish is sweet, and the effervescent mouthfeel lingers.

While on the wan side as a cup; as espresso, this is easily the best single origin Brazil I've had all year, definitely a 90+. The extra power of espresso is made to order for this coffee; and all the flavors only hinted at in the cup come out loud and clear. Amazingly, there is little distortion of the flavors and no sourness; even at a City Roast with 2 days rest. For espresso, this should be roasted North Italian light, stopping at the first whispers of the second crack. Then pull it short, on the fast side, and hot. In milk drinks, it's Ok, but that is not where it's best.


Dry fragrance: 3.75
Wet Aroma: 3.25
Flavor: 8.0
Finish: 7.0
Acidity: 7.5
Body: 7.5
TOTAL (subtotal + 50): 87.0

  • Lighter Roasts: Complex but low key fruit and chocolate
  • Darker Roasts: Distillates and ashy by a rolling 2nd crack
  • As Espresso: Superb SO at a North Italian roast, so-so for milk


UPDATED: June 27, 2005