“Twenty years ago, I stumbled across a farm name in Portuguese: Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza. In English, my native tongue, it translated to me as “Environmental Fortress Farm.” There was something incredibly memorable about the bold name for me, and after enjoying some of their coffee, I reached out to begin a working relationship with one Felipe Croce. Felipe is one of those friends of every type of person. He is easy to connect with and open with his trade. The vision he works to espouse in both practice and teaching is vital for the survival of our endangered coffee shrubs.
“Simply put, Felipe is a coffee producer par excellence. He is a leader in farming coffee in nature’s image (regenerative, biodynamic, etc.) and developing a borderline spiritual experience in coffee cultivation. Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza, FAF, and Felipe are mighty gemstones proving that Brazil can produce incredible coffees. In a cascading climate collapse, coffee farming must migrate from monocultures to diverse perennial polycultures. My words fall short of capturing the importance of Felipe in this great turn from a culture of extractive measures to a new generative way of growing coffee. He has inspired my work, developing new coffee farms and working with coffee growers. His community-centered approach and commitment to excellence are palpable, sensual, and vibrant. As a result, he has helped his friends and neighbors have their coffee bought by the likes of Blue Bottle, 49th Parallel, Tim Wendleboe, 1000 Faces, Linea, and many other leading specialty roasters. I am attaching a talk he gave to our growers on our you-tube channel.”
Nominated by Benjamin E Myers
What is the quality you like best about coffee?
Coffee helps me center myself, align my energy in an almost spiritual way.
What was your first coffee job?
Intern at Kaldi’s Coffee in St. Louis, MO.
What is your current role in coffee?
Co-founder and CEO of FAFCoffees
Did you experience a “god shot” or life-changing moment of coffee revelation early in your life?
Tasting an Ethiopian Harrar Natural back at Kaldi’s in 2007. Although I grew up in a coffee-producing family, this was the first cup of coffee that blew my mind with its blueberry notes.
What issue in coffee do you care about most? What cause or element in coffee drives you?
Finding a use for all the beans that come off the tree into products in order to dis-associate from the Commodity pricing market. I call it “Full-farm profitability.” Thus being able to create a prosperous pricing structure for the whole supply chain.
Do you often make coffee at home? If so, tell us how you brew!
Everyday! I use my Baratza Forte grinder to grind fresh and dose then I use a Kalita pour-over.
What is your favorite song to brew coffee to?
Happy Together – The Turtles
What is your idea of coffee happiness?
Brewing a tasting flight of different varieties and processes from my farm for friends, family, and loved ones overlooking a landscape of well-tended agroforestry and regenerative coffee fields.
Who inspires you in the world of coffee?
So many people, it’s hard to choose one! I’ll go with Angel Barrera from Belco; a producer turned coffee buyer in France and now exporter in Colombia. He does everything with a deep philosophical mindset and pure intentions. Angel has a warm humanity about him that is unique to him.
If you could drink coffee with anyone, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Phil Jackson (former Chicago Bulls coach) because I admire his philosophy and career as a leader and team builder. I have read his book Eleven Rings twice and am fascinated by his ability to handle different types of personalities in a functional way.