Every coffee has a story. And the Brazil Bob-o-link coffee I’m enjoying this afternoon is no exception. Knowing something about the coffee, and the people involved bringing it to us adds an additional dimension beyond flavor. Enjoy this brief story about the Brazil Bob-o-link Mogiana coffee I’m currently offering…
THE Bob-O-Link Story
In 1991 the Croce family moved from São Paulo, Brazil, to Chicago, USA and bought a home on Bob-o-Link Rd, Highland Park, IL. Eight years later they were invited by their dear friends Harry Drucker and Bruce Boyd to join the International Board of The Nature Conservancy of Illinois (TNC). What a surprise when, at the first meeting, they were welcomed with a coffee mug displaying the “Bob-o-Link.” What a coincidence they thought!
"Why the Bob-o-Link?" they asked.
"We want the people to think beyond our borders. The Bob-o-Links flies every year from the Midwest of North America to the Southeast of South America. If we continue the vast mono-cultures of soybean and corn here in the US and all the sugar cane in Brazil, there will be no more Bob-o-Links!"
Since these farms are located on mountaintops, most enjoy more than one spring on their property. Historically, only the first user enjoys the clean spring water, beyond the mountaintops, spring water is no longer pure due to improper disposal of waste and the use of agro-toxics on the land. In addition, rainforest trees which naturally cover the mountaintops naturally are largely removed to maximize the use of the land for more production area.
Soon after learning the Bob-o-Links plight, Silvia acquired Fazenda Fortaleza farm from her parents. It was their opportunity to make a difference. They decided to transform their farm into a place friendly to “all” the Bob-o-Links of the world…
They changed the farm name to Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF), translated Environmental Fortress Farm and immediately banished all toxic materials, protected the springs, created green corridors for the wild life and began the process of cultivating an environmental awareness among their people at the farm.
They added fruit trees to their coffee plantations such as bananas, mango, avocado and coffee seedlings to their secondary forests. They also motivated and provided the resources to their people to continue education and promoted social integration, personal development, healthy and natural eating habits and personal skills. Although their efforts resulted in very positive progress, they learned their accomplishments were not enough since the birds that nest at FAF roam beyond the beyond their borders. While, the water from their springs run clean to neighboring lands, the same environmental efforts did not exist beyond their property—exposing their birds to the dangers from which they are trying to protect them. They decided to expand their efforts and invite their neighbors to join their cause to protect the environment and create a much wider free and clean zone for the “Bob-o-Links”. Their campaign resulted in a strong network of farmers producing Bob-o-Link Coffee, located in one of the best regions for producing high quality coffee in Brazil. They share a common vision to producing the best coffees using sustainable agriculture methods that reduce the “heavy footprints” of humans on earth—promoting harmony between men and nature.
Bob-o-Link Coffees are produced mostly in the Mountain Mogiana Region (States of São Paulo and Minas Gerais), at altitudes that vary from 900m to 1,400m high, with Arabica coffee varieties such as Bourbon, Mundo Novo and Catuai. Most of the FAF coffee farmers are formed by small properties, run by single or extended families, located at the top of the mountains—the perfect environment for the best coffees. The beans are picked selectively and dried in terraces next to their homes, under their close supervision.
The Bob-o-Link farmers are part of the FAF network that will promote awareness for the increase of Quality Coffee that keeps the springs protected, create green corridors on the water ways, reduce the use of toxic material and keep the trees to shade the coffee and create a healthy place for people and for the Bob-O-Links.
Bob-o-Link Coffee has the mission to deliver the Finest Quality Coffees with the message of Awareness of Preservation and promote Culture Integration.
Their goal is to allow the Bob-o-Link flocks to once again thrive in their natural habitat and to spread their mission of Sustainability for a better, healthier, happier and peaceful world.
In 2008 Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza won the Sustainability prize from the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA).