While air travel in general is experiencing some pandemic-related turbulence, a new Georgia company with ties to Brazil called Boarding Pass Coffee is offering tastes of faraway coffees through its travel-themed roastery, tasting room and retail shop.
Entering the 1,200-square-foot facility that opened late last year north of Atlanta in Milton is much like boarding a plane, thanks to a passenger plane fuselage built into the space that includes first-class seating and oval windows with slide-up shades.
“[It’s] likely a 757 or 767-200, based on the volume controls in the armrests,” Boarding Pass Coffee Co-Owner and world traveler Christine Santos told Daily Coffee News “Even our trash can is a rolling trash cart from an airplane.”
The tasting room interior includes an airline-style check-in counter and a departure screen displaying imaginary flights to the places where the company’s coffees are grown.
The six-month renovation that occurred in the space last year included buildout of the roasting production space, which includes 2.5- and 6-kilo-capacity Chinese-made Dongyi roasters that will soon be joined by a 7-kilo Dongyi, as well.
Coffees roasted there include beans grown on Fazenda Santana, a farm owned by the family of Boarding Pass Co-Owner Murilo Santos and located in Serra Negra, outside of São Paulo.
Situated at 1,050 meters above sea level, the 467-acre farm includes more than 450,000 Yellow Catucai and Yellow Bourbon coffee plants and is Rainforest Alliance-certified. Onsite facilities there also include a drying yard, granary, water treatment facility and a 7,500-square-meter post-harvest storage shed.
“What makes the farm unique is that Murilo’s father, Reginaldo, uses irrigation pivots to supply 75% of the crop; that uses water from the natural mineral water sources that the Circuito das Aguas region is known for,” Christine Santos told DCN. “We have already seen benefits of this as we are no longer dependent on rainwater.”
These coffees and others are roasted and packaged with “visa stamp” stickers that customers can collect for their own Boarding Pass Coffee “passport.”
The real-life passports of Murilo and Christine Santos include stamps from more than 100 countries, as the married couple share a passion for globetrotting both for work and pleasure.
Murilo Santos, who has lived in Brazil, the U.S., Canada and France, previously ran a Brazil-based import/export trade company that had him exploring places such as Mozambique, Ghana and Iran. Christine Santos attended schools in Germany and Austria and has worked as a management consultant in Mexico and Brazil. The couple met in Brazil in 2013, and were eventually married at Fazenda Santana.
With the shop now open and travel restrictions generally easing, Christine Santos said the company aims to maintain a focus on quality in the cafe and in the roastery while visiting more of the places where current and potential future Boarding Pass coffees are produced.
“Murilo has been back to Brazil and the farm three times in the past year,” said Santos. “We are hoping that travel restrictions lighten up so we can continue traveling both to Brazil, as well as to other traditional coffee-rich countries like Costa Rica, Uganda and Ethiopia.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.