Congratulations to Boram Um, the 2023 World Barista ChampionKnowing where your coffee comes from is essential in specialty coffee, but getting to know your producers is the cherry on top! We had a unique opportunity to sit down with Boram Um, of Fazenda Um and ask him a few questions. It's a family-owned farm, which extends beyond producing coffee to running Fazenda Um cafes and competing in coffee events. Boram is the Brazilian Barista Champion of 2019, 2022, and 2023. His brother, Garam, won the 2023 Brazilian Brewer's Cup. They are both currently practicing for worlds at Rosso HQ.
Boram: We have two farms, one in Minas Gerais, and another in Espirito Santo. Two very distinct regions. Minas is more of a classical Brazil profile, well known for coffees with nice fruits, caramel, sweet notes. Espirito Santo (pictured below) is a different region, higher altitude, high humidity emulating what we think about Central America. Everything is done manually in there, bringing more acidic, lemon type coffees. These two farms are great representation of what we can offer from Brazil, and we try to bring out the best of terroir and varietal.
Q: What do you do at the farm?
Boram: I am involved in quality control and processing. Everything I am able to learn from competitions and the world of coffee, I think about what I can apply in the farm level. Developing new fermentation techniques, understanding how that influences our flavour profiles. Also, bringing new varietals, testing many different things to elevate more our Brazilian DNA with a little bit of innovation.
Boram: We are fully committed to quality, so we have been looking for years the best varietals from different countries that can adapt very well to our farms. Today we are testing over 40 different varietals, understanding production and how we can bring new tastes to our farms. Everything focused on higher cup scores and quality.
Boram: The two farms are in 2 different states. About 10-12hrs apart in driving. Starting with terroir we have very different regions, Minas is lower altitude and dry in harvest season. So coffee picking and production is very traditional, in terms of period of the year. Espirito Santo is higher altitude, more slopes, and higher humidity. We get rain all over the year, so we produce coffee differently. Due to the slopes, we have also to pick coffee manually. Bringing two different representations of Brazil's vast flavour profiles.
Boram: The major challenges every year are climate. Climate change has such a huge impact on us today, every year it has been harder to predict. One year can be low rain season, lack of water. Another has been too high variation in temperatures bringing frost. All major challenges to production and quality. Which makes us understand how important it is to protect our ecosystem in our farms. Today, most of our production is shifting to shade grown. it lowers productivity, but we have been able to control so much more quality, water availability for plants, and temperature. Creating a much safer ecosystem for our farm.
Q: How many cafes does Fazenda Um have and what's the most popular drink served?
Boram: Right now we have 7 cafes in São Paulo and the most popular drink is espresso! Brazil really has deep Italian roots, so everyone drinks espresso.
Q: How is practice going for Worlds in Greece? How is training here different from training in Brazil?
Boram: Practice is going great! We have a ton of resources here that normally we don't have in Brazil like equipment and coffees! So its nice access the best coffees from the world with Forward Coffee.
Q: After being to Canada, what do you love most about it!? :)
Boram: Funny enough, I love Calgary's weather. Independent of temperature, it is always sunny and blue skies here, very uplifting.
Thanks Boram! We agree about the weather...for the most part.
You can try Boram's family's coffee for yourself. See Fazenda Um here. Available for a limited time.