27 August 2019 | coffee stories | Views:

Zaroca: could it be the next Planalto?

There’s a new kid on the block. A new Brazilian coffee that’s threatening to at least share the spotlight with our Great Taste award-winning people-pleaser, Planalto.

It’s called Zaroca… and you might have already got a taste! One of the main components of our newest blend, Bourbon Cream Blend, it acts as the equivalent of Planalto in Fruit & Nut - forming a stable, delicious base for the other blend components.

Also similarly to Planalto, we caught wind of this new star through the Brazilian exporter we work with - Gabriel.

He’s the one who decided the region both farms are in, Ilicinea, deserved recognition for its potential to grow great coffee. So he started an export business, and began working with farmers with the potential to grow specialty crops.

And Gilberto Basilio, owner of Zaroca farm, is one of those farmers.

Zaroca Factfile: what you should know

  • It’s a family affair

Zaroca has been in the Basilio family for generations. And when it comes to Gilberto himself, he’s been responsible for the farm for roughly 13 years. While his brothers and sisters own some of the land too, he rents it back off them - so there’s a considerable amount of space for growing great coffee!

  • We’ll be buying a lot of coffee

That’s a good thing too, because we’re going to need a lot of beans. As Bourbon Cream Blend soars in popularity, and our clients get thirstier and thirstier, we’re expecting volume needs to shoot up. We’ve already gone from buying 40 bags last year, to two whole shipping containers this year!

  • Speciality coffee is new to them

That’s a lot of coffee to buy from one grower, especially considering they’ve only just entered into the world of speciality crops. Encouraged by Gabriel and helped by childhood friend and agronomist partner, Marcelo Gouvea, speciality growing began two years ago. It’s made a big difference - Gilberto ripped up unhealthy/unproductive trees, changed planting patterns, and introduced new higher quality varieties. Now he’s reaping the rewards - literally.

  • They’re earth-friendly as can be

Not to belittle the sheer determination and intense efforts made, but Gilberto knows he has Ilicinea’s natural terroir to thank in part. So he’s given back to the earth. Seven years ago, huge areas on the farm were stripped and used to grow sugar cane. But he’s done something unusual in Brazil - ripped the sugar cane out, and reforested massive regions of the farm.

  • Why they’re a name to remember

Relying so heavily on one farm, like Planalto, isn’t what Pact Coffee is about - for many reasons. It limited sourcing security, adds a level of dependence and risk, and means we are helping less farmers thrive. But thanks to increased demand, we can continue to be Sergio’s top customer and build a similar relationship with Gilberto too. So, in so many words, Zaroca is here to stay.


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