San José Special Selection

  • Country
  • State
  • Region
    Chapada Diamantina
  • Town
  • Altitude
    1,150m above sea level
  • Variety
  • Processing
    Pulped Natural
  • Owner
    Borré family
  • Awards
    Cup of Excellence 2015 #15

Complex and elegant, with a refined stone fruit acidity and notes of purple grape, red apple, bergamot and lingering sugarcane sweetness.

San José  is a very special 600kg micro-lot from Fazenda Progresso, a beautiful farm nestled in the Chapada Diamatina mountain range, near the town of Mûcagé, in the heart of Bahia.

We spent a week in Brazil earlier this year, and were lucky enough to spend some time with Fabiano Borré (the youngest generation of the family who owns Fazenda Progresso) and Ednaldo Nascimento who heads the quality control lab, which is located on the farm. Together we cupped through many coffees that came from different pivots (plots) on the farm that had been carefully screened and put aside by Ernaldo for us to taste as they cupped 85 points or above. The lot sizes of the coffees we tasted varied from small micro-lots (like this one) to larger lines. Overall we were very impressed with the quality across the board; the coffees were all incredibly clean and sweet, with refined acidity and balanced cup profile.  We were also impressed with the diversity of cup profiles that this farm is now producing – and its quality potential; some lots, like this one, scored 88+ on the table!


The coffee comes from the first day’s pickings of new plants that were planted on a small plot called San José. The cherries were harvested carefully by a select group of workers, who have been recognised for their superlative work and commitment over the years with the Borré family. This group of special pickers were employed and paid a premium particularly for their skill at selecting only the ripest and most perfect cherries. The method of ‘special’ picking is one that Fabiano has recently adopted as part of special micro lot program. The coffee was collected and brought from the field in perforated plastic boxes that facilitate the passage of air over the coffee to avoid any over heating.


This coffee was then processed via the pulped natural method: the cherry’s skin and fruit were removed and the sticky, parchment-covered beans were dried on raised beds inside the Fazenda Progressos brand new greenhouse over 2 weeks on raised beds where they were turned carefully and frequently to ensure the coffee dried evenly and consistently. This way of drying coffee is very new for Fazenda Progresso. It is much more labour intensive, but the cupping results show that this additional effort is definitely worthwhile. This coffee was a standout on the cupping table, and we had to negotiate to buy it directly (Fabiano was very keen to submit it to the Cup of Excellence competition!).


The history of Fazenda Progresso dates back to 1984, when the Borré family migrated from Southern Brazil to the Northeast and purchased some land in the municipality of Ibicoara, near the town of Mucugê. In the early years, the family tried growing crops such as soybeans, wheat, and English potatoes. The potatoes turned out to be an incredibly successful crop, stimulating investments and making the family one of the largest producers of potatoes in Brazil!

In 2005, the Borré family sought to diversify the activities on their land, and so began to focus on coffee. As we very quickly learnt when we first met the family, when they commit to a new project, they seek to do it to the very highest possible standard, and invest in getting the very best people around them and state of the art equipment and infrastructure to ensure they succeed. Their work with coffee is no exception. The family’s commitment to producing exceptional coffee has been unwavering over the last decade. They have sought advice from some of the most respected professionals in the field, including Silvio Leite, founder of the Cup of Excellence and president of the Brazil Specialty Association, with 30 years’ experience in coffee grading, tasting, and quality control.

The Borré family has also invested heavily in ensuring they have the very best infrastructure to process their coffee and are continuously trialling new things and experimenting with they way they harvest and process the coffee in an effort to improve the cup quality. Every lot that is produced on the farm is evaluated by Ednaldo and his team in order to ensure that the quality is the very best it can be.


The Borrés are very hands-on in their approach to managing the farm. They are extremely professional in the way they conduct their business, and they take great care to create an excellent work environment for their staff. Throughout the year, there are around 200 permanent staff members on the farm, and this number grows to 650 during the harvest. Many of these harvest workers return every year, and all are provided with daily bus transportation and food.

In total, 700 hectares of the property are dedicated to coffee; this land is divided up into different plots, which are processed separately. Over time, the family has worked out the optimum way to plant coffee trees in order to maximise productivity, with 50 centimetres between each tree and three metres between each row of trees.This year we have purchased coffee from six different plots on the property; each is extremely unique in its profile, and all are exceptional!



The Borré family business has always been managed and directed by family members and is now in its third generation of operation. Fabiano Borré looks after everything to do with the coffee side of the business. He is young, focused and very motivated to produce the very best coffee he can. You can read an interview with Fabiano Borré here.


The Borré family takes great care to protect and preserve the ecological health of their area. Water is conserved and meteorological stations are positioned throughout the farm to optimise irrigation and ensure the trees get the right amount of water. Cascara pulp from processing is composted (along with potato wastage, which is very high in potassium and great for coffee trees!) and used to fertilise trees throughout the plantation.

In 2015, for the first time, the Borré family entered their coffee into the Cup of Excellence competition. It placed 15th—a fantastic achievement and testament to the hard work, resources, and focus that have been put into producing exceptional coffee.