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Marcelo Morita, Fazenda Triunfo

Cerrado Mineiro, Patrocínio, Brazil
Partner since: 2021 Traceable to: Single Estate Altitude: 1250

Cherries are harvested by varietal, and only after 90-93% of berries are at maximum ripeness, before washing, pulping and laying out to dry in thin layers on concrete patios. Days 2 to 5, the parchments is raked manually every 40 minutes; after 7 days it is moved to a slow and low-temp mechanical drum where (2 days at 30C / 86F), and rested for 15 days before milling.

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Community Context

In 2003 Marcelo Morita was a young agronomist who showed a knack for improving quality, and incredible organizational skills. He was approached by 7 of his neighbors and asked to become the CEO of a partnership that would become known as ‘The G8 Group’. These are the first settlers in the São Gotardo region in the 1970s; they are Mr. Akio Tamekuni, Mr. Hisashi Tamekuni, Mr. Massato Sakuma, Mr. Shigueo Shimada, Mr. Takayuki Tamekuni, Mr. Yoshifumi Tanaka and Mr. Yukio Nakamura.

At first, their main goal was focusing on garlic production, but in 2019 they moved into coffee by purchasing an award-winning coffee farm – Fazenda Triunfo, near the city of Pratinha. This farm was considered by many in the area to be a meeting of greats; Marcelo’s management with a pedigreed plot.

Nowadays, the group has grown and some of the sons and daughters of the first partners are the new business associates together with new people that joined the group. They are Celio Tamekuni, Eduardo Tamekuni, Elisabete Sakuma, Fabio Sakuma, Gian Yoshiaki Tanaka, Helio Nakamura, Hisashi Tamekuni, Juliana Roberta Morita and Marcio Tamekuni. With this new generation comes a new interest in the future of coffee, including an intense interest in the interplay between varietals, fermentation and drying.

Country Context

Brazil is to other coffee-growing countries as Jupiter is to other planets – huge, and deserving a category of its own. But despite its size, we don’t look to Brazil as a source of specialty; we were once told that asking for a sample of SSFC 17/18 is like asking for a sample of a ‘big mac’.

This, however, is an old view from an older generation. We now have a younger crop of farmers entering the specialty scene – this generation was raised with the Internet, knows 21st-century coffee, and are excited to find out what’s possible for their family’s farm.

But it’s a struggle to convince parents that this new approach is not just youthful fantasy – with one approach working so well for so long, it’s hard to take specialty seriously. This battle seems to be happening inside households across Brazil, as city-dwelling, college-educated sons and daughters return to the family farm to help their baby-boomer parents prepare for retirement.

Despite this tension, wherever we look we see small successes building a case for specialty, one win at a time. It could be glowing feedback, a good yield, a high price or even just the smallest recognition by someone outside the family. And the case is growing especially strong in the area around Sao Gortado where we find Yuki Minami and Aequitas coffee educating farmers on what they have and what it’s worth. Here we find farmers in their 20s and 30s standing on the shoulders of giants; they are looking near into the future, and see specialty where we in the US have not yet.