Farm Focus: Fazendas Serrinha & Santa Luzia

We here at Durango Coffee Company proudly serve José Maria de Oliveira’s coffee, which he grows himself in Brazil. Señor Maria de Oliveira’s coffee bean farms are located in the heart of Cerrado Mineiro, the first region in Brazil to receive protected Designation of Origin status. This means that any coffee labeled as “Cerrado Mineiro” has to truly come from Cerrado Mineiro. Coffee with this label has many more requirements, the most important being the quality of the coffee. Cerrado Mineiro is the only city in the country where the Atlantic Forest meets Cerrado Mineiro soil. This unique meshing of the two natural environments results in the ideal combination of rain and acidity, which produces coffee with unique characteristics that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

Family Farms

José Maria de Oliveira has 14 years of experience growing the finest coffee beans in Cerrado Mineiro, Brazil. His father and grandfather before him were also ensconced in the coffee biz as coffee pickers and workers. Señor Maria de Oliveira’s Cerrado Mineiro farms include Serrinha and Santa Luzia. The Serrinha farm was Señor Maria de Oliveira’s first farm. Started in 2004, everything on this farm was constructed by Señor Maria de Oliveira’s own hands. He and his family also live in a house on the farm to this day. The Santa Luzia farm – which Señor Maria de Oliveira started in 2006 – is located on top of a picturesque hill.

Señor Maria de Oliveira and his family lo cuidan – take care of – the entire coffee process. His daughter Nathalia has been working with her father for years on the business strategy side, and her husband and Señor Maria de Oliveira’s son-in-law Ronaldo joined the company in 2015. Together, he and Nathalia founded the Our Coffees importation business, with Nathalia as CEO and Ronaldo as COO handling the exporting portion. From growing, milling, sorting for quality, exporting, importing, warehousing, and financing, Señor Maria de Oliveira y su familia have a finger in every pie – or process – so to speak. In fact, as his son-in-law notes, “This is more than Direct Trade. It is Direct Relationship Coffee because the farmer is involved in all steps without middlemen.” Because each element of coffee production has an impact on the final taste – the soil, altitude, microclimate, season, coffee variety, and farming and processing methods – we know exactly what we’re getting from Señor Maria de Oliveira, his family, and his farms.

The Process

Señor Maria de Oliveira and his family begin the coffee picking process in May, and harvesting can last as long as September. Señor Maria de Oliveira then completes a dry milling process to clean and sort the coffee beans. First, any sticks or leaves that were collected during harvesting are removed, along with the bean parchment. Then the bean is sorted by screen size and any defects such as low-density beans are eliminated. The final step is a pass through an infrared color sorting machine which removes greens beans, brocas, – a type of bug – and sour beans.

The Maria de Oliveiras sort their beans because they strive to give folks the best possible coffee experience, and they believe cleanliness is an important characteristic of high-quality coffee. Señor Maria de Oliveira’s son-in-law says, “We constantly make investments to collect quality from the coffees that goes from the way we treat the environment and nature, soils and coffee trees, the farmers and the community around us, to investments on post-harvest processing, as patios, raised beds, fermentation tanks, and go to sorting laser machines and a team of Q graders to issue the quality control of each lot.”

The Result

The coffee from Cerrado Mineiro’s unique soil, Señor Maria de Oliveira’s 14 years of experience, and his family’s dedication to each step of the coffee-producing process results in high-quality coffees that are hard to beat. The Brazil Fazenda Santa Luzia coffee is a Red Bourbon coffee with characteristics of chocolate, round body, citric acidity – stemming from the unique soil – and a lingering finish.

We also use beans from Señor Maria de Oliveira’s farm as the base for our Espresso. Our Espresso is sweet and full-bodied with fruit notes and a hazelnut essence. It can be enjoyed straight up from an espresso machine or drip coffee maker.

These coffees are Rainforest Alliance Certified, UTZ Certified, guaranteeing sustainable practices and social and economic benefits to the region of Cerrado Mineiro.

A Final Note From Our Founder & Head Bean Sniffer

“In July [of 2016] I had the chance to visit this beautiful farm. I watched the care and expertise of the picking, processing and milling. I also spent time in the quality control room at the dry mill and export facility cupping current crop. I was really excited to cup and pick some of the Red Bourbon for our espresso blend after tasting some flavorful samples with, great body, fig, raisin, and cocoa. The finish lingers on your pallet. I’m happy to have discovered these wonderful people and being able to work with them to bring this great coffee to Durango Coffee Company.” – Carl Rand, a professional chef & the founder of Durango Coffee Company when, in 1984, he first began brewing coffee out of his backyard shed.

Find Señor Maria de Oliveira and his family’s meticulously picked and delicious coffee here, or as the base bean of our espresso.