When I first opened a specialty café in Berkeley, California 40 years ago, a Brazil always appeared among the standard whole-bean coffee offerings in the 10 or so glass-fronted bins that held our whole-bean coffees. All of the popular and glamorous coffee origins of the time were there: Guatemala Antigua, Kenya AA, Costa Rica Tarrazu, Sumatra Mandheling, Colombia Supremo, and the new, game-changing Ethiopia Yirgacheffe. Brazil Santos, as we liked to call it (all of these origins had to sport at least one secondary qualifying name), was usually down at the end of the row, largely looked past when customers ordered a pound of Kenya or Guatemala.
But some customers did buy Brazils. I remember one particularly coffee-savvy young employee who skillfully worked our Gaggia two-group piston espresso … Read more