Campos dos Vertenses area, Sul de Minas region, Minas Gerais state, Brasil
Our days on the estate, winter in Brazil
Two-thirds of the way down the ‘Rodovia (highway) Fernão Dias’, which extends for nearly 600 kilometres from São Paulo to Belo Horizonte, the road runs alongside the Rio Amparo, on whose banks kilometres of coffee estates stretch out.
From his home, a light-blue-and-white wooden colonial house, Henrique Cambraia manages the Samambaia fazenda that for generations has been in his family, and for generations has produced coffee. It is a cold place, where in the evening a fire always has to be lit in the fireplace.
It is winter in Brazil whenever I travel to the state of Minas Gerais to check on the progress of the harvest, and well I remember one morning at the beginning of July in the early 2000s, when no sooner had I left the house that I had to go back immediately and put on all the clothes I had brought from Italy. There had been a ‘geada’ (frost) during the night, though luckily neither the harvest nor the quality of the coffee were impaired; the only consequence was a major jolt in the prices of coffee on the New York Stock Exchange.
Training and innovation for one of the best coffees in Brazil
Where does the coffee we have selected come from?
Sul de Minas, the southern part of the state of Minas Gerais is an area with a very valuable naturalistic content. This region is locally known as Campos dos Vertenses because it forms a border between two very important basins in Brazil: the Grande River Basin (which runs to the south) and the São Francisco River Basin (which runs to the northeast).
The cool, green hills of this area provide ideal conditions for coffee growing and produce some of Brazil’s finest beans. The Fazenda Samambaia, member of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association, is owned by Henrique Cambraia, representing the 4th generation of a family growing coffee since 1886.
How is this coffee produced?
Henrique’s mentality is open to experimentation and he strongly believes in the importance of a constant training and in the involvement of the whole team that works on the farm, as well as in an environmentally sustainable farming.
During our last visit, he explained us how he decided, along with his staff, to reposition some coffee plants in order to improve the interaction between the plants and the soil. Thanks to his dedication and the time he invested in research, his multi-awarder coffees have been judged, in several international competitions, as among the best coffees produced in Brazil.
- Botanical variety:Yellow Catucaì, Yellow Catuaì, Acaiàs
- Processing: natural
- Harvest: June – August
- Drying: sun dried, on patios and suspended beds
- Altitude: 950 – 1.200 m asl
- Quality/screen: NY2 / 17-18