An island of tropical forest can be spotted in an aerial view or photo of Sertaozinho Estate. A total of 300 hectares is reserved to shelter hundreds of plants, flowers, animals, springs and balance the living ecosystem that a farm should be. In this particular case, the environment is taken very seriously as a business strategy to guarantee high quality coffee and avoid degradation of the terroir.
With this in mind, several action plans take place on a daily basis in order to keep the biome healthy. The fertilization system adopted is one example of that. “We produce our organic fertilizer in order to preserve the microbiological life of the soil, which is very fertile,” says agronomist José Renato Gonçalves Dias. In response, nature is giving back coffees with unique sensorial features.
Within this protected area, a colorful fauna and flora composes the local landscape with centenary trees. The Jequitibá Rosa (Cariniana legalis) is one of a kind that imposes its majesty with its 40 meters high. With an estimate age of more than 1,500 years, it can be sighted from far and it became the symbol of Sertaozinho Farm. “It is our guardian”, says José Renato who is responsible for managing a team of 160 permanent employees.
Located in Botelhos, a small town in the south of Minas Gerais state, the first crop was cultivated on this farm in 1948. Since then, coffee has become the main product in this mountainous region where altitudes can reach 1,200 meters. The geographical conditions of the farm and the excellent climate contribute to a microclimate with an annual temperature of 19ºC (66°F) and a rainfall of 1,600 mm (63 in) per year.
Considering the steep mountains, each ripe bean is picked manually with great care and it goes straight to the pulper. After that, the drying process occurs under the sun on patios in a particular way: cotton cloths are placed to protect the beans and mechanical dryers are not used during this process. When the coffee reaches 11% humidity, it is transported to wooden granaries where it rests for at least 30 days. All processing, from harvest to reprocessing, including classification by screen size and density, electronic selection by color and manual selection, is done on the property.
All this great care is not exclusive to the plants or the farm, employees are assisted too. Unlimited health and hospital plans, constant professional training and schools in loco for their children are some of the actions to maintain a healthy work environment for everyone. “We need to take care of those who take care of our coffee,” says José Renato.
Great care in every single detail is recognized by different certifications such as UTZ Certified systems of socioenvironmental management and by BSCA. The ISO 9001/2002 Quality Management System guarantees total control of the quality of the coffee with the proper documentation and history of each lot.
“Respecting Mother Nature is the safest way to guarantee great coffee for the future.” – José Renato Gonçalves Dias