The Matas de Minas coffee region, known historically for its poor coffee quality is now producing some of Brazil’s best coffees. Carlos Sergio Sanglard and his Serra do Bone farm have rightfully become major symbol of this redemption.
The Rise of the Forest
More than anyone, Carlos Sergio Sanglard and his Serra do Bone have come to represent the emergence of the Matas de Minas. or “Forests of Minas” region on the specialty coffee seen. Formerly known as the “Zona da Mata,” the region has since changed its name in an effort to sever ties to its past, one known for poor coffee quality. In fact, in the Brazilian commercial coffee grading system, when the Rio defect is present and, it is known as “Rio Zona” after the Zona da Mata. A humid harvest season and the lack of infrastructure of the region made it prime for sub-par coffees. However the dissemination of information, a better infrastructure, and the adoption of a focus by several producers on producing high quality coffees have shown that certain micro-climates in the region, particularly those near the small town of Araponga, can be used to produce some of the countries best coffees.
Complex Coffees and Dedication to the Environment
Serra do Bone coffees have become known for their complexity. A delicate citric acidity accompanied by sweet caramel along with hints of floral in the fragrance. Like several other great coffee farms, it was through the Cup of Excellence that Serra do Bone gained its fame, winning the competition in 2002 and consistently placing among the top coffees.
Though no longer a certified organic farm, Serra do Bone’s dedication to the environment continues and Sergio minimizes fertilizer usage and uses no herbicides or pesticides. The Serra do Brigadeiro park runs around one side of his farm (in fact Sergio has donated parts of his land to this park) and over half of Serra do Bone is in preservation. The photo to the right shows Sergio drinking from one of the streams that flow through his farm, not something every farmer would be willing to do.
Beautiful, Rugged Topograph
Driving through the Serra do Brigadeiro it is easy to see why the infrastructure of the region lags behind that of the Sul de Minas or Cerrado. The hills here are steep and the winds strong, but the rugged beauty is breathtaking. The topography is such that mechanical harvesting is all but impossible, and even hand picking on some of the slopes seems like a formidable task. But the high altitudes, abundance of flora and fauna, and the cooler temperatures of the region provide a unique micro-climate for some wonderful coffees.
- Region: Matas de Minas
- Micro-region: Araponga
- Altitude: Average of around 1200m
- Area (total/cultivated): 395/around 200 acres
- Varietals: Mundo Novo, Yellow Catuaí among others
- Processing Methods Used: Natural, Pulped Natural
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