Carmo de Minas. Carmo de Minas has become famous over the past few years for the quality of their coffees. Their dominance in the Brazilian Cup of Excellence and the high demand from their coffees has created and then embellished this fame. Joao and Paulinho, cuppers from Cocarive, along with Jacques Pereira from Carmo Coffees, Professor Flavio Borem from the University of Lavras and I sat down to take a look at the “Carmo Difference” in the cup. [read more]
Carmo de Minas. I attended a lecture today at Cocarive by Luiz Gonzaga de Castro, an economics professor from Lavras. The subject was minimizing risk, though Castro also addressed the issue of the ever-falling dollar. The lecture was quite good, with the charismatic Castro explaining the financial markets associated with coffee, the effects of currency fluctuations, and instruments and techniques for minimizing risk. [read more]
Poco Fundo. It’s odd to introduce a farm with a picture of the soil instead of a nice panoramic view, or even a picture of the farm sign. But this is what, I feel, Adauto is most proud of. He explained to me how this was “live” soil. In farms that use pesticides and herbicides, the soil is not viewed as a living element, but rather a container to pour things to produce coffee. When you take away the chemicals, the soil comes alive. And to prove his point, he started digging. And he was right. Not only was the soil a rich fertile black, but it was replete with worms and other forms of life. Adauto also pointed out the diversity of varieties of undergrowth and explained that this diversity is a sign of healthy soil. I remember that Sergio Sanglard from Serra do Bone had said something similar. [read more]
Vicosa. If you are going to spend time in Brazil, you will quickly realize that buffets (called Self-Service in proper Portuguese) are the way to go. The food in Brazil seems to have more flavor than we are accustomed to in the US and its easy to get carried away. Perhaps because we tend to concentrate on the sauce and marinade, whereas in Brazil there seems to be more of a focus on the actual flavor of the meat, tomato, etc. So I again took the liberty of codifying Akio’s wisdom, this time for the sake of waistlines. [read more]
Vicosa. Maximum production of the coffee plant occurs in its second and third years of growth. This is a relatively new technique (4 yrs) that capitalizes on this. Coffee is planted and then harvested every two years by stumping the plant (cutting it off at the base). [read more]
Machado. The government of Minas Gerais, along with partners at each location, has developed Centers for Excellence in Coffee (Centro de Excelencia do Cafe) around Minas Gerais. The purpose of these centers is to host training seminars and eventually conduct research relating to coffee quality. This particular center was opened on March 23, 2006, however it is still very much a work-in-progress. The shipments for lab equipment had just arrived and most of the material was still in boxes. Expenses were not spared in buying top-notch equipment. [read more]
Tres Pontas. This town is the heart of coffee country. Real estate can be purchased here with payment in bags of coffee. It is also the home to one of Brazil’s greatest musicians, Milton Nascimento. [read more]
Varginha. In 1996 three teenager girls purportedly saw an ET in Varginha and somehow this turned into an “incident” and this “incident” turned into a major marketing campaign for the city (and, as you can tell by the photo, for the amiable aliens as well). So here you have it, yours truly with the ET of Varginha.