Brazil - Fazenda Rio Verde
Brazil - Fazenda Rio Verde
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Region: Sul de Minas, Minas Gerais
Farm: Fazenda Rio Verde
Variety: 100% Yellow Icatú
Altitude: 800 - 1350 masl
In the cup; “Chocolate & Salted Caramel”
At WCC, we like to work with a wide range of specialty coffee farms. Ipanema Gourmet has been producing coffee since the 1970s and is certainly one of the largest farms with whom we work. Their production area, composed of five farms, stretches over more than 4,500 hectares total area. Approximately 70% of this total land is devoted entirely to coffee (the rest is primarily conservation area). It is not surprising, then, that the total annual production at Ipanema exceeds the annual production of several of the world’s smaller coffee-producing countries!
Rio Verde is one of the smaller farms nestled in the wider estate. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest of the company's farms. Located in the heart of the Mantiqueira de Minas Mountains, this 1,566 hectare farm is a true natural sanctuary, where coffees are grown at elevations of up to 1,300 meters above sea level, surrounded by virgin forests, waterfalls, springs and hiking trails. In fact, the farm is home to 52 catalogued springs, all of which are protected. Only 626 hectares of the farm are given over to coffee production, with a full 773 hectares being devoted to conservation. To this end, Ipanema has created the Environment Monitoring Centre (EMC), which has been installed in an old henhouse on the farm. The Centre monitors farm management practices as related to water use, soil fertility and erosion, vegetation and climate.
Ipanema Coffees was one of the first companies to construct infrastructure for wet milling and was the first to be certified by Utz and Rain Forest certification programs. Specialty coffees became the company`s flagship. Until now Ipanema Coffees is a permanent participant at International specialty coffee fairs and is also a founder of the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA). Their Premier Cru project, initiated in 2014, has taken specialty coffee to new heights in the country, and they continue striving yearly for more.
The farm is separated out into 69 different ‘glebes’ – or plots – each of which possesses its own small microclimate and is treated and processed separate from the others. 32 of these glebes are located above 1,000 metres, and special care is taken to preserve the coffee’s natural potential for quality from these. This 100% Yellow Icatú lot comes from a single gleb and was processed using the Natural method.
Natural coffees such as this one are subject to meticulous standards from harvest through to resting. Coffee is selectively harvested either mechanically or by hand and then delivered to dry for up to 9 days on raised beds or patios. The coffee may also be finished in one of the farm’s 48 mechanical driers, where they are slowly dried at an even and soft heat for around 48 hours. Bean quality is monitored in each dryer, carefully evaluating the appearance and taste profile of each 20 bag batch. After drying, the coffee is then placed in wooden bins to rest at least for 60 days in order to homogenize internal moisture and improve the taste profile. At every step of the process, until exportation, Ipanema’s team evaluates the quality of the lots.
In addition to its coffee production areas, Ipanema also cultivates a sustainable harvest of eucalyptus trees. Unlike most other coffee farms that grow eucalyptus, this is not a diversified timber crop; the eucalyptus at Ipanema is grown exclusively to provide the natural fuel required during the coffee drying process.