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From the Publisher

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Bigger isn’t always better, and in the specialty coffee world, too often people assume bigger is never better.

As with all generalizations, this is blatantly untrue. Bigger, whether it’s farms or roasters, can access more resources, invest in new technologies and afford to take risks.

In the coffee-growing world, there is no bigger presence than the country of Brazil. I was fortunate enough to visit the epicenter of coffee production in early January for the Cup of Excellence Late Harvest Naturals cupping finals, and I was amazed at how that visit shattered my previous impressions of Brazilian coffee.

A handful of large-scale farm operations in Brazil have worked over the past decade to focus on quality improvement, from growing to harvesting to processing. This dedication has led to improvements in Brazilian specialty coffee across the board, for large, medium and small producers. The results are impressive, with the top four Cup of Excellence coffees easily clearing the 90-point mark, and the top coffee, from Sitio Baixadao, garnering a score over 95 points. Last fall, the winner of the Early Harvest Naturals competition sold for more than $50 per pound.

For a country whose coffees traditionally were identified not by farm, or even region, but by the port from which they were shipped, Brazil has used its large-scale resources and coffee knowledge to make huge strides in quality. A reminder that perceived weaknesses often are overlooked strengths.

Warmest Wishes,



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