Three generations of Nogueiras can be found at Fazenda Capetinga, yet the farm is anything but old-fashioned. It is a modern coffee farm with 100% mechanical harvesting. Capetinga is different than most farms we feature. Their goal is not to produce exotic-flavored micro-lots, but rather to consistently produce smooth tasting defect-free coffee. In fact, it is a flavor profile that most coffee drinkers covet: sweet, full-bodied and chocolaty with mild acidity.
A Beauty of Its Own
There are types of beauty a coffee farm can present. There is the beauty of a rugged topography, with coffee trees springing from the jutted landscape and somehow the harmonious confusion can be seen in the complexity of the resulting cup. Capetinga presents another beauty, that of the quality, consistency, and even the geometry of organization. The perfectly planned rows of pruned coffee trees, the cleaning of the patios even when the harvest is months away, the boiler system engineered to use the farms by-products and to never overheat the drying coffee.
Capetinga uses mechanical harvesters for 100% of their harvest. The harvests ride over the plants while the mallets knock the coffee fruit from the trees. Eduardo stated that one harvester can do the work of twenty manual laborers.
Boiler-based Drying System
Capetinga uses an in-house engineered boiler system to dry the coffee. The boiler is fueled by the wood from the coffee tree trimmings and other farm by-products. Apart from the economical advantage of using in-house fuel sources, the boiler system inhibits the overheating of the drying coffee in the mechanical dryers. If conditions permit, the coffee is allowed to dry completely on the patio. However when climatic conditions inhibit drying or the harvest rate is such that the patios are quickly filling, the coffee is dried on the patios to “half dry” (or as much as possible in poor climatic conditions) and then drying is completed in the mechanical dryers.
One of the keys to their success in producing quality year after year is pretty low tech. Capetinga averages between 15,000-20,000 bags of coffee a year, and all of it passes through this hole in the concrete hopper that feeds into the washer/separator. Without the proper flow, the milling equipment will not work to its potential. The hole size of the feeder hopper is essential to maintaining quality.
Modern Farm = Modern Labor
Capetinga uses more modern farming practices and this requires higher skilled labor. To attract and maintain this labor Capetinga must offer an attractive employee benefit package. Some of these benefits are: All children that live on the farm are bused to school in the city, all housing and utilities are provided free of charge, and all employees not only receive full medical insurance, but a doctor from Tres Pontas visits the farm every other week.
Tres Pontas, Tres Patios
A necessary element of a great coffee farm is adequate patio space. Without it, the coffee will pile up and not dry properly. Capetinga has three large patios, each one drying a different coffee type (unripes, pulped naturals, and sorted naturals). Eduardo also emphasized that within these three categories the coffee lots were further subdivided so as to dry coffee with similar moisture content together, another key element in maintaining coffee quality.
This Vine is Wine
Capetinga has recently taken to grape production and will shortly launch their own estate wine called Maria Maria. The varietal that has so far produced the best results is Syrah. The wine will be a partnership with Nogueira family friend and fellow Tres Pontas native Milton Nascimento.
- Region: Sul de Minas
- Micro-region: Tres Pontas
- Altitude: 900-1100m
- Area (total/cultivated): 1037/741 acres
- Varietals: Mundo Novo
- Processing Methods Used: Natural, Pulped Natural
- Farm Certifications: Rainforest Alliance, Utz, Fair Trade