Bob-O-Link Current News

Celebrating Bob-o-Link coffee in France

Friday, July 31, 2020

The Bob-o-Link coffee is a speciality coffee available only at the finest stores around the world. One of these unique places is the Terres de Café shop located at Musée du quai Branly in France.

Find more information on their online store: terresdecafe.com

News Coffees at the Roastery

Monday, June 22, 2020

Two new coffees have landed at the roastery this week. Both delicious lots are from our longstanding partner and customer favourite, Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF), Brazil.

NEW BRAZIL ARRIVALS

João Hamilton | (FAF 2028) | Brazil

This is a juicy and delicate cup with notes of cherry, tangerine and macadamia, with a citrus-like acidity, making a sweet and refreshing filter.

SHOP

Celso & Gertrudes | (FAF 2064) | Brazil

Best enjoyed as an espresso this coffee has a creamy body with notes of caramelised pecan, green grape and dark chocolate.

SHOP

Green & Delicious | The Story of Bob-O-Link

We do love coffee from Brazil. Our natural, single origin, Bobolink, is much loved by the Union team and coffee-lovers all over. The beauty of Bobolink is directly attributed to Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) and we want to share their story and how they play into the Union journey too.

CLICK HERE for more information.

How Brazilian Producers Are Roasting & Selling Their Coffee

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

By Angel Barrera

Brazil is the world’s biggest coffee producer and consumer. With 98% of local households drinking it, Brazilian farmers don’t have to look far to find a receptive market for their coffee something that few producing countries can boast.

By having a country with a major coffee consuming audience, Brazilian producers could profit from roasting their coffee directly for the local market. However, this will require understanding what roasting coffee (and selling the finished product) involves.

To find out more about this, I spoke to four producers roasting and selling their coffee. Here’s what they had to say about adding roasting to their coffee production.

Why should producers roast their own coffee?

According to the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association and Euromonitor International, Brazilian specialty coffee consumption grew around 21% per year from 2012 to 2018 culminating in retail sales of US $2.63 billion in 2018. It’s evidently a lucrative market to enter, but how would producers benefit from getting involved in it by roasting their coffee?

Firstly, it would expand their income by enhancing the green beans they were already producing. Felipe Croce is Founder of coffee roastery Isso é Café and says roasting can also increase a producer’s knowledge of their coffee’s qualities, so they can speak with authority about their own coffee and advise clients on it. Roasting can help producers improve their coffee quality, as controlling the roast process helps them monitor and control its quality throughout its production.

While roasting is beneficial, it can be complex, expensive, and long. Helcio Junior is Director of Unique Cafés Especiais, a coffee supplier in Minas Gerais. He says it can take up to five years for roasting to become profitable, as the first few years will be an investment that won’t necessarily add value.

Before you set up your roasting business

Adding coffee roasting to your coffee production will involve setting up a brand new business. Here’s how producers can prepare for this.

Research Your Target Market

Before you roast your coffee, you should know who you’re going to sell your coffee to. Visiting local coffee sellers and coffee shops could help you research your target market’s consumption habits. You should also research the roasting equipment and tools you want to invest in.

Felipe Croce of coffee roastery Isso é Café.

Felipe advises using your existing coffee industry networks and undertaking field research to find out which setup would suit you best. Studying roasting is another option to consider. When choosing a course, consider factors like the school’s location, facilities and reputation, and make sure you’ll be able to practice roasting to increase your confidence in it.

READ MORE

SPLA Coffee — Bobolink Project

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

NEW COFFEE!

It's organic, natural-processed, eco-friendly and tastes like Oreos and guava. Brazilian coffee roasted in LA. Our love is in what we do.

Our great friend Felipe Croce from FAF Coffees/Isso é Café and micro-producers Ivan and Rose Dos Santos and Reginaldo Jacon bring us this coffee from the "Bobolink" project, where smaller producers use sustainable, eco-friendly practices to increase coffee quality.

Felipe, Ivan and Reginaldo installed this system on the farm to convert waste water to fresh water.

Giving us this BEAUTIFUL coffee that consists of two varieties (Catuai and Catucai).

SHOP NOW

News Coffees at the Roastery

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Two new coffees have landed at the roastery this week. Both delicious lots are from our longstanding partner and customer favourite, Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF), Brazil.

NEW BRAZIL ARRIVALS

João Hamilton | (FAF 2028) | Brazil

This is a juicy and delicate cup with notes of cherry, tangerine and macadamia, with a citrus-like acidity, making a sweet and refreshing filter.

SHOP

Celso & Gertrudes | (FAF 2064) | Brazil

Best enjoyed as an espresso this coffee has a creamy body with notes of caramelised pecan, green grape and dark chocolate.

SHOP

Green & Delicious | The Story of Bob-O-Link

We do love coffee from Brazil. Our natural, single origin, Bobolink, is much loved by the Union team and coffee-lovers all over. The beauty of Bobolink is directly attributed to Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) and we want to share their story and how they play into the Union journey too.

CLICK HERE for more information.

U K and Faf - Conker Cold Brew coffee liqueur chooses the best coffee!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Conker Cold Brew coffee liqueur traces back to the origins and integrity of the organic coffee it sources from Mococa Brazil.

A trip to FAF farms in Brazil

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

By Elliot Reinecke

FOUNDER AND HEAD OF COFFEE ELLIOT REINECKE RECENTLY EXPLORED BRAZIL FOR A SPECIAL MICRO-LOT AUCTION AUCTION AND VISIT TO FAF FARMS. THERE WAS A LOT OF INSPIRATION FROM THE ENTIRE TRIP, AND THIS IS A QUICK OBSERVATION OF THE FAF FARMING PRACTICES.

"You're probably aware that Brazil is the worldwide leader in production of coffee, usually setting the C-market value. But until you have been there to see the farming practices, and other coffee producing countries for comparison, it's quite incomprehensible.

Not quite full traditional, but how most farms in Brazil are planted, full sun high production.

Many farmers there have taken practice from the monoculture of the midwest of the USA (not just the midwest but primarily), completely removing all rainforest and planting their coffee neatly in rows to allow space to get tractors in for mass harvesting. Most farmers only plant three varietals that were bred to be very resistant to disease, produce cherries in full sunlight, and produce massive amounts of coffee per branch.

Fortunately for all of us there are some farmers there that are trying to change the stigma of Brazilian coffee, and are starting to focus more on organic/biodynamic farming practices and high quality coffee.

We were able to spend a few days on the FAF family farm this past weekend, who is literally leading a farming revolution in Brazil, and quite possibly the world. Many years ago Felipe Croce and his dad Marcos decided they had had enough with 'classic' farming techniques. Before working on the coffee, Marcos decided he needed to work on the farm and its environmental health. Believing that only after everything else was happy and healthy, would the specialty coffee follow.

Active biodynamic farming on FAF.

Coffee growing in harmony with nature.

First thing Marcus did was to clean the water. The farm has 42 springs that offer great drinking water, as well as clean water for processing coffees. He installed natural bio-dynamic water filtration systems to clean all water on the farm so that it is not harmful to themselves, the environment, other farmers land, and also that water is clean when it is returned to the land.

The next thing that Marcos focused on was bringing life back to the farm. He did that by planting many different species of trees and getting rid of the mono-crop idea of farming. He immediately lost 90% of his production the first 5 years of farm transformation.

Felipe Croce touring us on the FAF farm.

Not wanting to use herbicides or pesticides like many other farmers, Felipe and Marcos started learning about Organic and biodynamic farming. They researched about passive and active organic farming and setup little test areas all around the farm to learn which trees worked well with different varietals of coffee. They learned which trees would give when other trees were in need and visa vera, and how everything could work together in harmony to be a complete ecosystem.

With all of these changes wildlife started to return to the farm along with clean water and shade, the farm feels like a living breathing organism when you are on it. Completely alive!

Bottom line, they are leading the way in sustainable biodynamic farming in Brazil, and possibly in the world, but they didn't stop there. They took the farming practices they have learned over the last decade and are helping other farmers interested in producing specialty coffee using sustainable farming practices.

Different varietals being grown in the rainforest.

A total living and breathing organism.

This has allowed many local farmers to get into the specialty market which is a huge challenge for coffee farmers worldwide. It has also allowed them to live happier, healthier lives knowing they aren't harming the environment, and aren't stressing about competing with other 'corporate' type farms that are producing massive amounts of coffee. They can focus on quality; quality of coffee, quality of life, and quality of the environment, all because we are willing to support their cause by buying, roasting and serving their coffee and hard work.

FAF coffees helped fund a clean water project with for a local farmer.

How most farming countries look before clearing trees to plant coffee.

We have 4 new coffees coming from Brazil this year. The first is a micro lot that we purchased in an auction during the BSCA region showcase. Two coffees from FAF's neighboring farms and their Bobolink project. As well as another coffee from a FAF project; Reserva Capixaba.

FAF | From Dirt to Soil

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (Environmental Fortress Farm) is a 2,000-hectare estate operated by Silvia Barreto, her husband Marcos Croce, and son Felipe Croce. Their work has ignited a movement in the southern state of São Paulo forging a community of producers committed to restoring soil health and meticulously natural-processing their coffee. It's taken 15 years to turn dirt into soil.

Bobolink in Australia - Square One Coffee Roasters

Thursday, September 26, 2019

This month we had the pleasure of sending the subscribers of @3000thieves some of our favourite coffee this year thanks to @fafcoffees!

This espresso from Pirapitinga Valley is a combination of coffee from two farmers who are part of the Bobolink network. Cledison Bacetti from Sitio Cachoeririnha makes up the Red Catuai portion of the blend, whilst Clovis Borges from Sitio Santa Cecilia makes up the Red Bourbon portion. A beautifully balanced coffee with notes of honey, chocolate and plum. Yum!

Lots of fun working with @todd_beeby to create some fun limited release packaging to celebrate this amazing network of like minded coffee producers and unique Brazilian coffee!

Bobolink Project - Serra do Cigano

Monday, September 16, 2019

Bobolink: Coffee Producers Going The Extra Mile For Environmental Sustainability

Friday, April 12, 2019

By Union Hand-Roasted Coffee

We're extremely lucky to work with producers from the FAF (Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza) farms in Brazil, where our Bobolink coffee and two of our latest microlot coffees are sourced from. To celebrate their release, we want to give you the lowdown on what the FAF farms are, how they operate, and a bit about the coffees.

Firstly, let us quickly explain how Bobolink coffee has come to be produced. Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF), owned and managed by Silvia and Marcos Croce, have spent years perfecting the production of high-quality coffee through environmentally sustainable practice. They're pioneers of sustainable coffee production and are well-respected by coffee connoisseurs worldwide. The bountiful knowledge and expertise of Silvia and Marcos which attributed to the success of FAF has not been kept a secret, but openly shared amongst coffee farmers in the region. What formed from this shared knowledge is a network of producers who have ventured into the growing exquisite coffees through sustainable agriculture. And it is from a selection of these farmers that Bobolink coffee is born.

So, what is a Bobolink? Bobolinks, are New World Blackbirds that migrate from North America to over-winter in Brazil. The shade trees on the coffee farms provide a natural habitat for the birds and are a symbol for sustainable coffee farming. The bobolink name is used to represent the coffees produced by a network of farmers who have transitioned away from commodity coffee into the production of sustainable speciality coffee.

Our team at Union have been visiting FAF and some of the Bobolink farms since 2010, and have been impressed not only with the continual improvement the farms make in refining their processing and drying techniques, but also Silvia and Marcos' son, Felipe Croce's, impressive quality control when cupping the lots.

We asked Marcos Croce from FAF to explain to us a little more about Bobolink coffees:

"We are a network of farmers working together and exchanging information in order to innovate, evolve, and produce some of the most special coffees in the world. Our philosophy is to achieve the highest quality out of each bean while taking into account social and environmental responsibility"

Marcos is also a strong advocate of environmental sustainability when growing coffee:

"Clean water for our coffees, clean water for our neighbours, Clean water for our grandchildren."

At Union, Bobolink is a very popular coffee as it's so versatile, rich in chocolate notes with a hint of roasted almond! So - what's the secret to the delicious flavour?

"Bobolink coffee is grown at some of the highest elevations for coffee production in Brazil. With altitudes ranging from 1000-1400 meters. The varieties are among the highest quality producing Arabica beans available: Yellow and Red Bourbon, Yellow and Red Catuai, and Red Mundo Novo. All coffee is family farmed, working to produce in harmony with nature. Our objective is to create a healthy balance of shade and rich soil, and respecting the habitats of animals and keeping springs and waterways clean".

What we love about Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza and Bobolink coffees at Union is that their philosophy of environmental sustainability fulfils the standards we set in our Code of Conduct for environmental management.

In 2018, the Croce family organised at least 20 workshops on sustainability at FAF and at the different Bobolink farms such as at Sitio Pirantininga. These workshops included talks from experts such as Professor Caligari on Cover Crops, Professor Antonio Carlos Silva on Soil Microbiology and Prof Leonardo Maeda who spoke on correct clean water sources and water sewer systems. They address important standards such as saying 'No' to Roundup, a herbicide – and finding more ecological ways of weed control.

We've got some great footage of the workshops Bobolink producer have been attending (the videos are in Portuguese, but it will give you a lovely idea of what the workshops look like). Watch here:

Within the network of Bobolink farmers, there are some talented coffee growers ut who have the ability to produce high-quality lots of very limited amounts – these are called microlots. Excitingly for us, Felipe and Rudy, our Quality Manager at Union, have selected two of these lots from the cupping table for our most recent microlot offering!

Valdir Ferreira – Natural Process – Red Catuaí – Limited Edition Lot

For filter brewing, we selected: Valdir Ferreira, a natural process coffee grown at 1200 MASL. Valdir's love for nature is reflected in the name he gave the farm: Sítio Joaninha (ladybird).

"Ladybirds are predators in the world of insects and feed on aphids, fruit flies, leaf lice and other types of insects, most of them harmful to plants. Since most of their prey wreaks havoc on crops and crops, ladybirds are considered beneficial by farmers."

"Despite their usefulness, these insects are threatened by pesticides used by farmers in their plantations, although most species are not considered endangered."

Celso Minussi – Natural Process – Red Catuaí – Limited edition lot, best served as an espresso

If you want espresso, Rudy and Felipe have selected a coffee grown by Celso Minussi. This natural process coffee was grown at Sítio Nossa Senhora Aparecida, a 21.7-hectare farm located in Divinolândia.

Celso has been a long-standing partner of FAF. Rudy chose this coffee because Celso has always been an early adopter of new practices that promote quality and sustainability on the coffee harvest. He was one of the first of FAF Coffees partners to build his own raised beds, an essential part of producing speciality coffees. He is also eliminating the use of glyphosates such as Round-up, and chemical fertilisers on his farm. You will find him in the front row at all the workshops for new techniques and methods that FAF is introducing to their partner growers, such as moving to green fertilisation and organic treatments for weed and pest control.