From the Field, New Arrivals

Monday, January 17, 2022

Sourcing Impressive Coffees from Mantiqueira Mountains

In the Mantiqueira Mountains in Mantiqueira de Minas, there’s a small group of mountain producers who do everything by hand and produce excellent coffees. “We’re shortening the supply chain and buying directly from these producers,” explains Rafael Amaral, Specialty Supply Chain Coordinator. “We’re the only ones buying these lots directly.”

In previous years, these coffees have been aggregated into larger lots, but their cup profiles are so unique and delicious that we’re excited to be able to bring them directly to roasters.

The Region

Mantiqueira de Minas is located in southern Minas Gerais, on the Serra da Mantiqueira mountain range in southeastern Brazil. With a longstanding tradition of producing specialty coffees, Mantiqueira de Minas is today one of the most awarded regions in Brazil. In 2011, it was recognized as a Geographical Indication (GI) for its tradition and worldwide reputation for producing specialty coffees with a highly unique profile. These are rare and surprising coffees, reflecting the combination of a unique microclimate and local expertise.

Due to elongated supply chains in the Mantiqueira Mountains, many producers in the region have mainly sold to middlemen who then bring the coffee to market, usually as bulk, blended lots. Costs of production are also high here, making it difficult for many farmers to make ends meet, especially when market prices are low. Higher costs are due in part to the fact that, even though Brazil is famous for mechanized production, the mountainous region means that producers must do everything manually. Instead of widespread mechanization, producers in this region use hand-powered rakes and manual labor to harvest and process their coffees.

The Coffee

These farmers are producing excellent specialty coffees that, until now, have been sold on the commercial market. To ensure the quality of these lots, we are paying significant premiums that primarily go to the farmer.

These coffees are produced with care and attention to detail.  Farmers in this region process their cherry on their farms. Most coffee is Natural process and dried on patios. Rafael visits farms throughout the season to see who has high quality potential. Following the harvest, Rafael samples coffees from the region and selects the microlots that Sucafina will purchase.

This year’s offerings are cupping extremely well, about 85 to 86. “They’re fruity and nuanced with red fruit, honey and a balanced and sweet acidity,” Rafael says. They’re also grading well with a higher percentage of larger screen-size beans.

The Producers

We have coffees from these mountain producers in Mantiqueira de Minas going to all our destinations. Two producers that have especially stood out are Ademir Francisco Pereira of Sitio Belavista and Edson Silva of Sitio Sertaozinha. We worked with them last year as well.

Ademir began focusing on specialty coffee in 2010, and the added value from high-quality processing has greatly improved his family’s lives. Edson is the lead farmer in his region and helps the other producers organize their coffee for collection. Once all the individual lots of coffee are loaded on the truck we send, Edson accompanies the coffee on his motorbike to ensure it arrives safely and traceability to each farmer is maintained throughout the journey.

We are thrilled to offer these unique and high-scoring coffees this year and plan to continue working with our partners for years to come. These coffees are arriving soon. Contact your trader to sample and preorder now.