Sumo Coffee: Presenting an exciting Brazilian coffee from Vinhal Cafés

Sumo Coffee: Presenting an exciting Brazilian coffee from Vinhal Cafés

Daniel Horbat of SUMO Coffee roasters returns for his second GEMS feature with a really extraordinary Topazio variety from Vinhal Cafés



Many years ago, when specialty coffee was still in its infancy, people would get excited when there was a natural or honey processed coffee to try. I still recall having heated conversations with subscribers and other people who absolutely hated these coffee’s flavour profiles. “They taste so fermented”, they’d scream! Well, fast forward a few years and coffee certainly has taken a crazy leap into a whirlwind of new processes that are being employed left, right and centre. Even for someone like me who has tasted thousands of coffees in his life, I am still surprised by what I’m coming across here and there.

One coffee that really takes things to another level is the winning entry for our forthcoming GEMS release in June, a truly extraordinary Topazio variety produced by our dear friends at Vinhal Cafés in Minas Gerais, Brazil. This third generation producer is a family-run affair that has been in business since 1988 and is currently run by Rafael, grandson of the legendary Zico Vinhal who planted the first seeds.

I know Vinhal Cafés from a previous feature with Man Met Bril a few years ago and got to know Rafael more closely during an Instagram Live chat that he joined. It was really great to understand what Vinhal is all about and how the team is producing award-winning and innovative coffees that are delighting roasters and customers all around the world. Vinhal has participated in many competitions over the years and amongst other things, came in 3rd place at the Brazilian Cup of Excellence competition in 2022.

Credit Kristaps Selga

The coffee they produced is a triple fermentation washed Topazio, which is a cross between Mundo Novo and Yellow Catuaí. This variety is particularly well suited to the growing conditions of Minas Gerais and results in reliable harvests. What I found most interesting about this curious coffee that has notes of Chinese Five Spice and Lemongrass, is the detailed process that it went throught to develop its final cup profile.

As I alluded to earlier, coffee processing has really gone for the juggular in the last few years and producers like Vinhal are constantly developing new recipes for their processes that bring out particular flavour notes or characteristics in a coffee. For this particular coffee, the process was as follows:

1. Mechanical harvest.

2. Washed to remove the underripe cherries.

3. Dry Aerobic fermentation for 61 hours.

4. First washed with hot water, followed by a second wash to create a thermal shock.

5. Dry anaerobic fermentation for 200 hours.

6. Washed again with hot water and a second wash to create a thermal shock.

7. Depulped.

8. Anaerobic fermentation with water for 124 hours.

9. Centrifuged

10. Dried on raised beds for 22 days.

Yeah! Have a cup of that! All I can say is that during the cupping where we selected the coffee for this GEMS release, this coffee really stood out amongst many other experimental lots that we received from Daniel Horbat of Sumo Coffee. And all of them were also from Vinhal.

I think this coffee really offers something new and unique that you will not have tasted before and that is what the GEMS releases are all about. Daniel, who will roast this coffee, is such a legend in the coffee world. He’s a former World Cup Taster Champion and Irish Brewer’s Cup champion who has built a highly successful boutique roastery with Sumo in his adopted home of Ireland.

Our friendship goes back quite a few years and it’s a real honour to have Daniel as part of this edition to mark our 10-year anniversary. If you want to get your hands on this exquisite lot, be sure to order your GEMS box before it’s too late!


To receive this excellent coffee, order our GEMS release or visit our shop to order all of our other releases.

Pre-orders close on 15.06.2024 / Ships globally on 20.06.2024

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