Farm info

Coffee has great meaning for the Vilela Ribeiro family. Thanks to coffee, Sebastião and Lucia’s children, João Augusto and Florence Maria, have access to education; Maria has just begun her studies in a university program in veterinary medicine and João Augusto is starting his career as a coffee professional.

Sebastião and Lucia come from humble beginnings and had their first contact with coffee in the savanna region of Cerrado Mineiro. Sebastião’s sister lived in Patrocino and so they came to the area to work as employees on a coffee farm and start a new stage in their lives. Eventually they were able to acquire the four-hectare property that is Fazenda Fortaleza.

They grow coffee with great care and enjoy drinking their own coffee on the farm for its distinctive flavor. “Through coffee I brought up my family with dignity and tomorrow my daughter will join college,” says Sebastião. “We are proud to participate in the entire process from harvest to consumption and it is great pride for us. Our biggest challenge and focus is to produce quality and introduce everyone to the unique quality of coffees from the Chapadão de Ferro region to which we belong.”

The family still marvels each year as coffee passes through its blossoming and maturation stages. They ensure all cherries are harvested at peak ripeness and that the drying process is conducted carefully. João Augusto, who now works for Cafebras local coffee exporters, dreams of providing better living conditions for the family and wants to specialize in specialty coffees. He remembers his childhood in the small school in the community of Chapadão de Ferro, where he learned his first lessons in environmental preservation.

The community of Chapadão de Ferro is located in Alto Paranaíba near the city of Patrocínio. This microregion lies in the area of an extinct volcano and the unique profile of coffees produced here is attributed to the volcanic soils and higher elevations.

Learn more about coffee farming in the Cerrado Mineiro.


Cerrado Mineiro

The Cerrado Mineiro region, located in northwest of Minas Gerais State is a world-recognized, high-quality coffee producing origin and became the first Protected Geographical Indication in Brazil in 2005, with full Designation of Origin in 2013. A strong characteristic of this region is its well-defined seasons—a hot, wet summer followed by a pleasantly dry winter. The dry climate during harvest eliminates potential problems with humidity during the drying process.

Minas Gerais is Brazil’s principal agricultural state, and the Cerrado is home to many of the country’s celebrated coffee estates, with expertise in planting, harvesting, drying, and sorting. We love Cerrado coffees for their big body, rich chocolate notes, and velvety texture when pulled as espresso.

Today, the area’s 4,500 farmers produce a combined average of 6 million bags per harvest, with an average of 35 bags per hectare. To reach these production levels, producers had to first adapt to the region’s conditions. Coffee farmers first arrived in Cerrado in the 1970’s, after being pushed out of the state of Parana by frost and out of the state of São Paulo by nematodes. They found the soil in Cerrado to be very acidic, which they rectified with the application of calcium to create the healthy soils they enjoy today.

Cerrado coffee farms are cultivated in areas with elevations varying between 800 and 1,300 meters above sea level and are known for consistently producing high quality coffees with a repeatable profile. Independent of farm size, the spirit of professionalism is present throughout Cerrado’s coffee producers. Entrepreneurialism is part of farmers’ DNA, and many producers are second or third generation growers who also hold degrees in agronomic engineering, business management, and administration. While each family narrative is different, Cerrado is characterized by an enterprising attitude.