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Notes from Origin: Fazenda Aracaçu

Each year, in June or July, we’d ordinarily travel to Brazil to visit our partners SMC, who work with specialty producers and export coffee from the country. We explore the regions of Minas Gerais and São Paulo during the annual trip to catch up with the producers we work with, cup a lot of coffee in the SMC lab in Guaxupé, and typically overindulge in Pao de Queijo, the local cheese bread delicacy.

This year things are a little different and, sadly, we haven’t been able to visit our friends in Brazil.

Therefore, we were delighted to receive the below news article updating us with everything happening at Fazenda Aracaçu in a recent SMC newsletter. Carmen Lúcia is a fantastic coffee producer, and the Aracaçu team are constantly looking to push the boundaries of innovation and sustainability in Brazilian coffee production. So we are always eager to learn news from the farm, and this harvest is no exception!

Below is the article in full. We hope this gives a taste of Brazil in the absence of travelling in person.

Desfrutar!

When the subject is sustainable development and producing specialty coffees with awareness, Carmen Lúcia – Ucha – and her collaborators are perfect examples of planning and teamwork. Everyone is always receiving professional training, updating themselves, and following the trends of more conscious coffee culture.

In 2020, Aracaçu and Caxambu, the headquarter farm, started using clean energy with photovoltaic panels and fertilizing with organic compost produced on the property, two extremely important steps towards carbon neutralization. In addition to these actions, and to understand what their impacts, the farm has developed a study in partnership with the Federal University of Lavras (UFLA) through the Junior Forest project, as well as with the Brazilian Institute of Agricology. The aim is to evaluate carbon capture through the forests, coffee plantations and the soil. This is in line with the SDGs, UN indicators, since the property is 100% focused on achieving the zero-carbon perspective. As usual, the farm’s team continues with the systematic planting of native trees and the preservation and maintenance of legal reserves and permanent preservation areas.

The experimental field at Fazenda Aracaçu exists so that the team can evaluate the performance of  each variety within the property’s microclimate. It has already helped in the renewal of plots. A good example was the Arara, which had such good results that it gained space in the farm’s plantation. It started with 2 hectares and nowadays, in total, the area of this variety reaches almost 22 hectares.

These are very productive, resistant coffee plants, which deliver approximately 84% of screen 16 above, and present excellent beverages. In addition to the experimental field, the farm also has the Coffee Garden, a space dedicated to exotic varieties such as the so-called Pink Bourbon and Geisha.

The most recent project, which has been under development for some time now, is the Paiol Botique, a coffee shop experience within the farm’s premises. A place where Ucha and her collaborators will be able to receive clients, partners, and friends to have a cup of specialty coffee and enjoy the environment. “After visiting the plantation and seeing up close all the processes we have in place on the farm, living our daily routine, our guests can have the full experience, tasting in a cup what they have seen being harvested and prepared by our hands,” explains Ucha. “Besides, this way, it’s possible to have a glimpse of what the final consumer will have at the end of the chain.

“It is a project that I have a lot of affection for, and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. I often say that the coffee you drink here at Paiol you won’t find anywhere else. Here we serve those most distinctive coffees that we have in our garden, the ones that we believe have extraordinary sensory profiles. All of our coffees have the DNA of the farm, because due to the actions we take here, such as fertilizing with organic compost and cultural management specific to each plot and its needs, we are able to manage a terroir that will result in unique coffees.”

Here’s a special message from the producer:

“Dear friends, I know that unfortunatly circumstances do not allow us to be closer physically, but we are happy to know that you are all well and healthy. In the meantime, we are here, at Fazendas Caxambu and Aracaçu, transforming our passion for coffee into the best flavors that will make for incredible experiences. Receiving you in our home is always our greatest gift, but while you are not here, we continue to take care of every detail to deliver the best of our work.

Our practices are also strengthened in the development focused on positive impacts, in alignment with the Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs, of the UN agenda 2030. We are surveying indicators of preservation and production of clean energy, soil resources, zero carbon, and more sustainable management.”

“To this end, we continue to invest in our projects: solar panels, production of organic composts, a sustainable production system, water-saving, pollination plan with bees, inclusive practices in respect to diversity, professional training of the team, and generation of jobs with proper wages.”

“Our social responsibility policies, together with regenerative practices, balanced management, combining good agricultural techniques with current innovations for low carbon agriculture, are setting the tone of our care for the crops, for the people, and for the environment, thus reinforcing our strong commitment to the production of healthy, sustainable, and virtuous coffees to deliver to you more and more value, within the beans that we care for with so much affection and responsibility.

We miss you dearly!” – Ucha.

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