The city of Campinas, despite being large and relatively close to São Paulo, has until recently been home to only one specialty cafe. That’s now changed with the opening of Virginia Coffee Roasters, in Barão Geraldo, a college district located a quick 15-minute drive from the city center. The State University of Campinas is nearby, and while its over 30 thousand enrolled students’ drink of choice when this author attended some years ago was, well, beer, all-nighters have always been fueled by coffee. And with the opening of Virginia, they’re now fueled by good coffee.
Couple Cristina Cinesi and Francisco Massucci founded Virginia on the second floor of one of Campinas’ most traditional bakeries, Padaria Alemã.
Massucci’s family had been producing commodity coffee for over 20 years when, in 2014, he decided to make the switch to specialty by working to improve his farm’s post-harvest processing methods. “The change was really straightforward,” he says. “We shifted from producing merely beans to producing a drink.” Fazenda Santa Virginia, the Massucci farm, is in the Alta Sorocabana region, in the interior of São Paulo state. There, latitude is greater than altitude, which results in well-defined seasons and lower yearly average temperatures. Those factors, combined with better post-harvest techniques, are ending in higher quality in the cup, according to Massucci.
Cinesi and Massucci are architects by trade but started taking coffee courses years ago. After a trip to British Columbia, where they visited several cafes and roasteries, the couple began designing Virginia from the ground up, from packaging to the cafe’s interior.
As for the coffee, Virginia offers a dizzying selection of beans and brewing methods, including AeroPress and V60, as well as espresso and cold brew, which with Campinas being mercilessly hot most of the year is a hit. All cold brews are made with Yellow Bourbon coffee and include unique options like the Café Tônica, a sweet and refreshing mix of cold brew, lime, and tonic water, and the Hop’n’Roll, which is hopped and bottled. Pastries are provided by Padaria Alemã downstairs, which has had to double the number of cookies it makes per day to keep up with Virginia’s demand.
Cinesi explains that Virginia will offer coffee-related courses, given that many students attending the nearby university are themselves from coffee-producing families, and that for now, wholesale is a major focus.
“Although we are located in a producing country, it is not so common to get the entire coffee experience in one single place–roasting, extracting, teaching,” Massucci says. “That is what we wanted to bring to Campinas.” At Virginia, the roaster is right behind the counter, in plain view of customers who can have their questions regarding the roasting process answered by Massucci or Cinesi. They’re always at Virginia—you can, and should, catch one or the other any day of the week.
Juliana Ganan is a Brazilian coffee professional and journalist. Read more Juliana Ganan on Sprudge.