Thursday 25 July 2024
  • La Cimbali

Barista & Farmer: day three, four and five

The ten baristas in the plantation for the first time. Discovering the baristas of the third edition: Papaya Power team lead by coffee lover Nino Conti; The Free Mandela team lead by Fabio Sidione, Lavazza regional trainer.

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SAO PAULO, Brazil – The third day of Barista & Farmer was highlighted by the first encounter of the ten international baristas with the endless rows of the O’Coffee plantation. The participants woke up at five o’clock in the morning and test themeselves for two hours, just like a brazilian picker.

“The best part – says proudly Francesco Sanapo, creator of the talent show dedicated to the specialty coffee culture – is that when the picking time was over they asked to have an extra hour to work. This, is the spirit of the project.”

The contestants had to pick only the ripe cherries and, following the show’s tradition, the practical activity of the morning were found in the theoretical classes of the academy of Barista & Farmer in the afternoon, where the baristas attended a lesson about the different defects of the coffee cherries.

Even though coffee productions in Brazil are basically industrial, in the O’Coffee farm a great attention is paid to the people, the workers and the community of the entire area.

“We are in the state of San Paolo, many kids that grow up here, in small towns, after getting their degree, prefer to move away to the big cities- says Edgard Bressani, CEO of O’Coffee Brazilian Estates – we try to keep them here trough several social projects: for example, one of them, is an essay competition where they have to write about coffee.

The six finalists will be invited to visit the farm: we want to open our doors for them, whether they are commercial agents, or agronomists or chemists, they can work with us. In this way we don’t waste our talents.

After all, we are a relatively small competitor when compared to other producers in Brazil: in order to roduce big quantities of coffee, huge infrastructures become necessary while we, instead, are looking for excellence that, on the contrary, requires skills.

I created a project which is now respected and that is considered to be in the top five of the country – says Bressani – and I did it by choosing the right people: the ones with a good heart who wants to get along and share my philosophy.

People who scare me are the mean ones, the rotten apples. When I arrived here I had to replace many of them, I wanted to surround myself with like minded coworkers who had my same attitude. It’s true that I’m in a managing position, but that’s it.

They are the ones who produce what I will sell and for that they deserve great respect. We have many projects for our workers, we have a talent show at the end of the year, people here are awarded for being with us for 3, 5, 10 or 15 years, the more you stay with us, the more we reward you.

At the end of the year we have a party with all the families that sometimes is attended by up to 400 people.

I work hard to keep everyone with me, to make their lives better, because they help the company’s growth and therefore we try to pay them more then the other producers of the area.

We are growing a lot and we will keep on doing it because we always have a bigger demand for our product, but we will try to do it step by step trying to make a difference. Because if we end up being like any other coffee project, then, what’s the point?”

“I think I’ve been lucky in my career, I was a diplomatic but when I left my political career I was invited by the brazilian minister of agriculture to run an international promotional program for specialty coffee.

I started traveling the world, attending Wbc competitions, I became a judge, the first of my country. The fact that I like people helped my creating connections all over the world.

And this is definetly the most important thing. I’ve been very lucky, I stopped being a diplomat and became a coffee ambassador.”

Barista & Farmer is a project by Francesco Sanapo, in collaboration with Rimini Fiera – SIGEP (Salone Internazionale Gelateria Pasticceria e Panificazione Artigianale), with the patronage of Scae (Speciality Coffe Association of Europe), in collaboration with O’Coffee.

Barista & Farmer, day four

The fourth day of Barista & Farmer saw, as usual, the baristas reach the plantation at the break of dawn to pick up the cherries.

This time though, the participants used the stripping method, described in this way by the talent show creator Francesco Sanapo: “it’s one of the most common picking method in Brazil and so I thought it was important for them to know it because they have to understand all the different undertones of the coffee production, this is one the goals of thi sproject.

If we think about it, it’s the same method applied while picking olives in Italy, just like they do in Apulia, which is where I come from.

You shake the trees in order to make the olives fall and you collect them by placing a cloth under the plant which will be used to carry them all back to the olive mill, or the beneficio, in this case.

In this way, all the cherries from the plant are collected and they will later be selected using water: we put the cherries in a pool and they are divided by their specific weight, because the ripe cherry is heavier and remains at the bottom of the pool while the dry or immature ones stay afloat along with branches and the leaves.”

When this process was over, the ten baristas have been divided in two teams, which will stay the same until the end of the game.

The first one is Free Mandela, lead by Lavazza regional trainer Fabio Sipione, and ranks in Miguel Fernandez (Spagna), Evani Jesslyn (Indonesia), Guido Garavello (Italia), Daniel Rivera (Porto Rico) e Rosey Hill (Australia).

The other team Papaya Power, whose captain is coffee lover Nino Conti (also a protagonist of the show’s last edition) and is composed by Olga Kaplinka (Russia), Agnieszka Roweska (Polonia) , Amy-nare Manukian (Armenia), Nikolaos Kanakaris (Grecia) e Raphael De Souza (Brasile).

The morning ended with a “classic” challenge of the talent show, the coffee sack race while the activities continued in the afternoon in the classroom, where Andrej Godina, teacher of the Barista & Farmer academy, held a lesson regarding the sensitory abilities, which mean “the features of a cup of coffee, from the analisys of the aromas to the ability to recognize the flavors. The class proceded with a blind test and ended with the tactile characteristics of the coffe in the palate, the body of coffee.”

Since we are close to the halfway point of the talent show, it’s time to collect some more impressions from the Papaya Power team on their experience in Brazil so far.

Nikolaos: “There are no words to describe this experience, each day is full of activities, we are doing things I’ve never expected, like picking cherries that will end up in someone’s coffee. Now we are bonding even when we are not picking or attending classes. What’s disappointing? My cherries selection! (laughs) Jokes aside, the show is amazing, absolutely matching my highest expectations.”

Raphael: “It’s good to be here, it’s great to learn new things, but the best part of this experience is definetly the connection with people from different countries and cultures. I already had classes on coffee but here there’s a direct contact with the product and the people who work and produce it. I’m always in touch with coffee but here’s a different experience. When I saw the promo of this edition, that takes place in my country, I thought: “hey, why isn’t there someone from Brazil? That brazilian must be me and so here I am.”

Olga: “Today in the plantation was amazing. Like a sport, tiring but fun. It’s a team work interesting and complex. I like the idea of being able to develop my receptors and become a better professionist. I have to say I had no expectation before I left Russia, not because I was not believing in the project, but because I wanted to experience it first had, without prejudices. The real discovery of this trip? Papaya! (laughs). I never had it before and I love it. That said, it’s awesome to discover how much history there’s behind 30mm of coffee.”

Amy-nare: “We keep on learning new things, day after day. I don’t speak english very much but I have to say that everyone’s helping me a lot, we really are a team. There’s no competition among us, we are here for each other. Looking at it from a distance, it looked like a piece of cake.. I have to go to Brazil, pick some cherries.. what will it take? How wrong I was! It’s hard to wake up everyday at five but it’s really worth it.”

Agnieszka: “Each day is better than the one before it. I definetly prefer to spend my time in the rows in the plantation rather than in class: I can have theorical lessons in Poland, but the plantation, well, that’s what I’m here for. I like when we work as a team, we are getting to know each other betternd we are a beautiful group of people. I wish I had more time to rationalize what I’m learning but that’s how it is here, we never stop.”

Barista & Farmer, day five

Day 5 of Barista & Farmer, the talent show dedicated to quality coffee created by Francesco Sanapo, and last one in the plantation of the O’Coffee farm in Pedregulho. Once the picking session was over, the baristas moved to the Barista & Farmer academy for a lesson with australian roaster Ben Toovey.

“I held a class on roasting, equally split between theory and practice, showing the students different prophiles and degrees. I saved the last half an hour for a good session of questions and answers.”

The morning ended with a cerimony: the international baristas planted their own personal coffee plant, a coffee testament to their brazilian experience.

Lessons took place at the academy in the afternoon as well but the highlight of the day was the bye bye party organized by Edgard Bressani, CEO of O’Coffee Brazilian Estates, and his staff, that was animated by a groovy local band.

It’s time to pack thing sup, the next stop is Lambari, to continue the Barista & Farmer adventure and to follow more closely the coffee ecosustainability project created by Lavazza, new partner of this edition.

The ten baristas have been divided in two teams, which will stay the same until the end of the game.

Yesterday we introduced you the baristas of the Papaya Power team, here’s the Free Mandela team, lead by Fabio Sidione, regional trainer of Lavazza, which is composed by Miguel Fernandez (Spain), Evani Jesslyn (Indonesia), Guido Garavello (Italy), Daniel Rivera (Puerto Rico) e Rosey Hill (Australia).

Evani: “It’s a great experience and I’ve met many beautiful baristas that I can now call friends. The thing that I like the most is actully picking cherries, it made me think on the hardness of this work, that we often give for granted. I am a roaster and I have to say that the academy has been very helpful, in particular the lesson on the calibration of the cupping method.”

Miguel: “It’s a particular experience for me, because in the past I lived in Brazil for five years and I have many memories of this place. Brazil is the biggest coffee producer but hasn’t really developed that much on the specialty coffee area and I’m happy to be here and I think that O’Coffee and this show are helping a lot to bring visibility to this subject.”

Rozy: “It’s an experiece I could never have imagined. I didn’t know what to expect before coming here, and I had no idea it could have been so hard and serious. Today, planting my own plant has been a really good moment, unique. Thid adventure is teaching me to respect coffee, starting from the bean, not just the cup.

Daniel: “This experience, so far, has been educational, social, tiring and emotional. I was really amazed by Serafim, the agricultural manager of the farm: a person so simple, that thanked us from the bottom of his heart for our work in his rows. Marvelous. I am from Puerto Rico and so I can relate a lot to what I see here, after all I also come from a coffee producing country and so I know very well the hardness of the work in the fields.

Guido: “Each day is very intensive, between the picking in the plantation and the lessons at the academy. I appreciated a lot, in particular, the historical and botanical aspects of coffee, beside the fact that this farm has a research and develop area that works on  mixing different varieties of coffee at its roots, without post process alterations. I think that the cup tasting that I did here will turn out to be particularly useful in my job and I also understood the hard work behind this product that, from now on, I will respect even more.


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