Sunday, May 17, 2009
Santos coffees, considered as a whole, have the distinction of being the best grown in Brazil. Rios rank next, Victorias coming third in favor, and Bahias fourth. Of the Santos growths the best is that known in the trade as Bourbon, produced by trees grown from Mocha seed (Coffea arabica) brought originally from the French island colony of Bourbon (now Réunion) in the Indian Ocean. The true Bourbon is obtained from the first few crops of Mocha seed. After the third or fourth year of bearing, the fruit gradually changes in form, yielding in the sixth year the flat-shaped beans which are sold under the trade name of Flat Bean Santos. By that time, the coffee has lost most of its Bourbon characteristics. The true Bourbon of the first and second crops is a small bean, and resembles the Mocha, but makes a much handsomer roast with fewer "quakers". The Bourbons grown in the Campinas district often have a red center. As regards flavor, a good Bourbon Santos is considered the best coffee for its price, and is the most satisfactory low-cost blending coffee to be obtained. It is used with practically any of the high-priced coffees to reduce the cost of the blend. When properly made, this coffee produces a drink that is smooth and palatable, without tang or special character, and is suitable to the average taste. When aged, Bourbon Santos decreases in acidity, and increases somewhat in size of bean. The Santos coffee described as Flat Bean usually has a smooth surface, varying in size from small to large bean, and in color from a pale yellow to a pale green. The cup has a good and smooth body of neutral character, and the bean can be used straight or in a blend with practically any Mild coffee. Another Santos growth, known in the trade as Harsh Santos, grows near the boundary between São Paulo and Minãs Geraes. It often has some of the Rio characteristics, and commands a lower price than other Santos coffees. Some trade authorities are of the opinion that Santos coffees are an exception to the rule that most green coffees improve with age. They argue that careful cup-testing will reveal that a new crop Santos is to be preferred to an old crop.