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When it comes to coffee cultivation, Brazil really operates on a different scale. The world's number one coffee exporting country owes much of its success to the scale of the coffee operations that comprise it. Many Brazilian coffee farms are simply huge compared to their counterparts in the rest of the world. Monte Alegre for example has a whopping 18,000 hectares under coffee. That's a lot of coffee.
While Brazil produces plenty of commodity coffee, many Brazilian estates very capably demonstrate that large scale does not have to equal low quality. On the contrary, some Brazilian coffee farming families, like the Vieira Family that owns Monte Alegre, are showing that this scale can be leveraged not only to produce exceptional coffee but also to devote resources to protecting the environment.
With over 20% of the land on Monte Alegre estate protected as official preservation areas, the Vieira family has achieved a lot on the environmental front. With their focus on consistent and sophisticated agricultural practices, they have also achieved a lot in coffee quality. With coffees such as this one, employing contemporary processing techniques they are also innovating on the frontier of flavour.
- Flavour: Subtle purple fruit (blackcurrant/jaboticaba), Starfruit (carambola), slightly salty, minty finish
- Body: Rich, juicy (velvety)
- Roast: Medium
- Acidity: Tropical, Orange, well-balanced
- Suggested brewing: Pourover, Espresso, Milk based espresso drinks
For nearly 105 years, Monte Alegre has excelled at producing coffee in the heart of South of Minas, one of Brazil’s most prominent coffee-producing regions. This area is dominated by higher altitudes, rolling hills and a gentle climate – making it a prime coffee-producing region in Brazil.
The Monte Alegre company was then founded in 1990 and delved deeper into the production of coffee. Over the past 30 years, Monte Alegre has focused more on producing specialty coffee and environmental conservation.
Each stage of coffee production is carefully monitored – cultivation is nurtured with the carefully curated soil recipe to grow the coffee seedlings that will go on to populate the farm. Flowering is monitored until it comes time for the slowly developing fruit to be harvested. Depending on the location within the farm, harvesting occurs either by machine or by hand. The flatter areas make it easier for a machine to delicately collect the ripe cherries from the trees.
Once harvested, the cherries are then transported to the mill the same day to begin processing. This lot specifically undergoes the anaerobic natural method which includes the placement of the cherries in locked barrels. Inside the barrel, the temperature is controlled to ensure fermentation completes once the temperature is stable. From here, the coffee is dried with the exterior fruit intact.
In some cases, the coffee may also be dried in mechanical driers that evenly disperse heat to dry the coffee. As soon as the ideal moisture content is reached, the coffee is cleaned and hulled. Intense grading then occurs to ensure only the best quality beans make it to the exporting stage. This includes screen sizing, density separation, and colour sorting. The coffee is then bagged and prepared for export.
- Farm: Monte Alegre
- Owner: The Vieira Family
- Varietals: 100% Catuai
- Processing: Anaerobic natural
- Altitude: 900-1,200 masl
- Town/City: Areado
- Region: South Minas
- Country: Brazil