Sítio Boa Vista - Alessandro Alves Hervaz
Standing just over two meters tall, Alessandro Alves Hervaz is affectionately referred to as “Brazil’s biggest coffee producer” by the members of the Associação dos Produtores do Alta da Serra (APAS) Fair Trade Association. In Alessandro’s case, the statement is doubly true. At just 39 years of age, he is one of the most adept growers in the hills outside of São Gonçalo do Sapucaí, Minas Gerais, having already notched 24 years as a coffee producer. This year, Alessandro participated in Casa Brasil’s Selective Harvest Project and his coffee from this project won the APAS competition for best dry-process coffee. This is no small achievement given the quality of coffee produced by APAS members.
Building on his success, Alessandro continues to invest in quality. After the selective harvesting of only ripe fruit, the coffee is sorted by density with a hydraulic sorter. The coffee is then immediately set out to dry. Recently Alessandro installed a solar dryer and raised beds on his patio to ensure even drying. He has also begun cultivating a small lot of Mundo Novo and Yellow Bourbon on a plot sitting above 1,500 meters (4,900 feet). When the trees mature and begin producing fruit, it will be the highest lot in the region.
As the former president of APAS, Alessandro also plays an influential role in the local coffee community. Many members of APAS initially rejected the concept of focusing on quality, but Alessandro was an early and, fortunately, convincing advocate that APAS should focus on taking advantage of their privileged climate and focus on coffee quality. Now, many APAS growers are obsessed with improving coffee quality, and Alessandro works to connect these growers to new markets.
In addition to coffee, Alessandro produces honey and his farm is dotted with hive boxed. Though Arabica coffee plants do not require bees for pollination, the insects add biodiversity to his farm, and the honey serves as a great secondary source of income for the farm once the coffee harvest is over.