For the last two years, Santa Alina has won the Vale da Grama coffee competition, one of Brazil’s most prized coffee regions. Santa Alina has been in the Dias family since it was first founded by brothers Joaquim Bernardes da Silva Dias and Lindolpho de Carvalho in 1907. Tuca Dias carries on the family tradition, producing incredible bright and sweet coffees year after year.[/three_fourth]
Santa Alina has been in the Dias family since it was first built by brothers Joaquim Bernardes da Silva Dias and Lindolpho de Carvalho in 1907 (In fact, some of the original coffee plants are still thriving on the rugged hillsides of the farm.) Twenty years later Joaquim Bernardes de Carvalho, Tuca’s grandfather, took over the farm and increased coffee production.
Tuca left the Vale da Grama at a young age for Sao Paulo, pursuing a career in architecture and never imaging that farming would be in her future. After her grandfather passed away, the family considered renting out the farm, exiting the business they had been in since 1907. However, in 2010 Tuca returned to the Vale da Grama and, along with family business partner Rodrigo Fernandes, took over the management of Santa Alina. Their mission was two-fold, to increase the production of high quality micro-lots and to increase the living standard of those living and working on the farm.
To increase coffee quality, several key steps were taken. Two of these were to change the patio location from the valley, where late night humidity and early morning dew can impede coffee drying, to higher altitudes. Another was to invest in the Yellow Bourbon variety, an investment that should see Santa Alina consistently remain at the top for years to come.
Tuca was also adamant about investing in those that live and work on the farm. Instead of a top to bottom power structure, Tuca implemented the “direct line,” meaning that any worker at any time could bring any issues directly to her or Rodrigo. She invested in education and the diversity of education offered at the farm, including everything from courses on financial responsibility to personal training.
In 2010 only 35% of the harvest met the standard for Specialty Coffee. One year later that number was up to 55%. Most importantly, Santa Alina placed first in the Vale da Grama competition in both 2011 and 2012, no small task given that this is one of Brazil’s most prized growing regions.
- Region: Mogiana
- Micro-region: Vale da Grama
- Altitude: 1100-1400m
- Area (total/cultivated): 2200/705 acres
- Varietals: Acaiá, Mundo Novo, Red Bourbon, Yellow Bouron
- Processing Methods Used: Natural, Pulped Natural