Santa Ines and the Carmo de Minas region have established themselves as one of Brasil’s premier coffee growing regions. With a perfect confluence of altitude, climate, and growers dedicated to quality, coffees from the area around the tiny town of Carmo de Minas have consistently won and/or placed in the Cup of Excellence competition. Chico Pereira’s Santa Ines is one of Carmo’s best known coffee farms and not without reason. It won the Cup of Excellence in 2005 and has consistently placed among the country’s top coffees. Great Carmo coffees feature complex cups with full on caramel sweetness and bright citric acidity. Santa Ines is definitely one of the farms that consistently sets the high bar for Carmo’s excellence.
The Beauty of Carmo
The physical beauty of the region has been noted for years. Nearby Sao Lourenco is one of the region’s main tourist towns known for its beautiful hotels and resorts as well as its pure spring waters. The beauty of the coffees is more of a recent phenomenon, and has brought out the beauty of a people united in a cause. More than any other region in Brazil, Carmo de Minas has been able to unite behind the cause of specialty coffee. After the earliest Cup of Excellence competitions more than a decade ago, producers quickly realized that they had a special terroir. They increased their processing infrastructure both on an individual and collective basis, and they made the choice to focus on quality over quantity (eg. choosing higher quality varietals even at the expense of lower yields and investing in selective harvesting despite rapidly increasing labor costs). This has culminated in the quest to obtain a Denomination of Origin (DO) for the region. They have undergone three years of scientific studies to prove that their quality is distinct and will likely obtain this coveted distinction in 2013 or 2014.
Chico and Family
A large part of this push for quality comes from the children and grandchildren of José Isidro Pereira and Nazareth Dias Pereira who had previously inherited much of the land currently run by the family through their Grupo Sertao. Chico Pereira Dias, one their sons, runs Santa Ines and is the mastermind behind its accession to become of the world’s most well-known coffee farms, even fetching a record price of $49.75/lb for his coffee (which scored an almost unfathomable 95.85 at the 2005 Cup of Excellence).
Dedication + Knowledge
While many like the idea of the coffee hunter or the “Indiana Jones” types sourcing their rare and exotic coffees at the expense of life and limb, the reality is far from this. Coffee is a plant not a mineral to be found or something that we must . It is the result of intelligent well-informed growers in privileged micro-climates making good choices. This is exactly what you find in Carmo. Here is a look at the new infrastructure installed in their focus to obtain higher quality coffees and below is a photo of the selective hand-harvesting of the coffee.
- Region: Sul de Minas
- Micro-region: Carmo de Minas
- Altitude: 950-1350m
- Area (total/cultivated): 1310/640 acres
- Varietals: Yellow Bourbon, Red Bourbon, Yellow Catuaí, Acaiá and Mundo Novo
- Processing Methods Used: Natural, Pulped Natural