What do you do when you know a country produces good coffee, but the coffee from that country is exported as a high-volume, low value product? That was the question that faced Tercio Borba, when he came to Australia from Brazil.
“From day one and there was a question mark, why wasn't Brazil being promoted in Australia?”
Working in hospitality while he studied in Australia, Borba saw the passion and dedication that baristas, roasters and coffee drinkers had for coffee in Australia, and how the specialty coffee scene was rapidly multiplying but was unsure why Brazilian coffee was not part of that equation.
“I went to Coffee Alchemy in Marrickville and had a piccolo latte and it was a Guatemala and I still remember the flavours up to this day.”
Scratching his head with his brother Tiago, both brothers knew the reputation that Brazil had as the world’s second largest coffee exporting nation, and were energised to discover the possibilities for Brazilian coffee in the specialty coffee market. But, this was not something that was going to be solved overnight, particularly as Borba was only starting out in a new country.
In 2006, after Borba’s middle brother passed away, Borba and his brother Tercio left Brazil and came to Australia. Moving from one continent to another and leaving behind a job in corporate law was part of what Borba describes as an “incredibly fast realisation process.”
“I came and studied English and sustained myself. Hospitality and coffee was a natural thing, and I did that for several years.”
When the time came to take the next step, Borba’s value of the connection that he and his brothers had, informed the creation of the new venture.
“We believe in humans, we strongly think that there is ways that coffee can bring development into communities. There's only one foundation that we set up as a pillar and that's respect. I think if you remove respect out of any equation everything sort of falls out.”
Taking the values of respect that they shared, the Borba brothers sought out growers and producers in Brazil who were sitting on highly value coffee plantations and who were willing to experiment with processing methods. Rather than having their coffee comingled with the rest of the national coffee export, Borba’s approach was to respect the knowledge and dedication of the growers, and showcase that in the product that 3Brothers communicates to roasters.
This value of respect goes down to the very bean itself. Brazil’s mechanized agricultural sector prilieges standardized exports, yet Borba wanted to showcase the variable nature of the coffee bean, and give it the same respect that he saw brew methods being given in cafes across Sydney..
“We feel like we're up here somewhat in brewing coffee, roasting coffee, there's so much held at this stage but then you're expecting a green coffee that is a living organic product to behave as if you were buying a fridge.”
Valuing the coffee bean and the people who produce it is central to the approach of 3Brothers.