Roast Level: Medium
Roasted nut, plum, tropical fruits, pulpy yet clean in the cup.
Grown: Sul De Minas, Nova Resende
Varietal: Yellow Catuai & Red Catuai
Owners: Luiz Itamar Madeira
Farm Size: 8 Hectares
Area planted with Coffee: 5 Hectares
Sítio Três Marias, a small farm of only 8 hectares of land, was purchased by the father of Mr Luiz Itamar (the farm’s current owner) in 1970. From the moment the land was purchased, he made sure that his family would all dedicate their lives to making the most of the farm’s ideal location, in Brazil’s Sul de Minas region at 1,165 metres above sea level. In honour of his family and their efforts, the farm was named ‘Três Marias’ (Three Marias) due to the three Marias in the family!
In 2000, Luiz’s father sadly passed away and the small farm was initially divided between him and his brothers. Luiz, however, wanted to maintain the farm as a single parcel of land. He offered to buy this brothers’ parcels back from them, they agreed, and Sítio Três Marias was reunified! From that time, Luiz has never looked back. He and his immediate family only farm coffee on the land – which currently has 5 hectares planted under coffee. He puts his best effort into maximizing the farm’s potential for quality, overcoming obstacles in the way – such as the hailstorm of 2011, which created widespread damage across the entire property.
Luiz uses only the best agricultural practices to ensure the continued fertility of the soil. The average age of his trees is 8 years old and he renovates regularly to ensure that density and airflow are well regulated. All labours are performed by family members, and the farm only employs outside help during the harvest season.
During the harvest, coffee at Sítio Três Marias is selectively hand picked and sorted before being delivered to the farm’s patios to dry. Once on the patios, the coffee is turned regularly until the humidity levels reach below 13%. The process takes around 15 days in total.
Luiz and his family have plans to install milling infrastructure that will enable them to produce pulped natural coffee. Luiz may be relatively new to speciality coffee, but he is making great advances with the help of their regional cooperative’s quality improvement program.The Regional Cooperative of Guaxupé Coffee growers (Cooxupé) helps growers like Luiz through technical advice and assistance and help accessing emerging speciality coffee markets.
COOXUPÉ began its activities in grading, quality control and commercialization back in 1957. By 2010, the cooperative’s direct exports reached 1.8 million bags, putting them in first place among Brazil’s coffee exporters and the country’s largest exporter of Arabica coffees.
Today, COOXUPÉ is the largest private coffee cooperative in the world with 12,000 members whose farms are located in prime coffee growing areas of Minas Gerais and São Paulo. Cooxupé also has a network of warehouses, branch agencies and reception stations positioned throughout the growing regions. These installations have a capacity to receive each crop up to 5 million bags (60 kg) of coffee annualy for export and local sales.
In 2008, COOXUPÉ inaugurated a new coffee analysis laboratory in Guaxupé with the latest technical and informational advances to classify and manage their present and future coffee capacity. A computerized bar-code system was introduced to enable Coop members to know the quality and track the preparation and destination of their coffees from time of delivery to export or local sale. At the same time, the increasing importance of specialty coffees in world markets was also noted by COOXUPÉ’s Directors and a Specialty Coffee Department was formed to follow the growth of the speciality coffee market.
An important function of the Cooperative since its early days, besides arranging financial assistance for harvest pre financing and infrastructure development, has been to provide agricultural assistance to members. Soil analysis is provided by professional agronomists who also instruct on the latest planting methods, tree varieties and pest controls. The Cooperative also has available credit facilities, access to the most cutting edge inputs and products to increase productivity and improve quality. These activities are centered at the cooperative Headquarters in Guaxupé but are also available at their branch agencies and by internet services at their nucleus stations.