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Margarida das Graças, Fazenda Queixadas

Cerrado Mineiro, Campos Altos, Brazil
Partner since: 2019 Traceable to: Single Farm Altitude: 1200 MASL Varietals: Red Catuai, Guará, Arara, Yellow Catuai and Catucai

Natural processed; cherries are floated then dried 7-10 days on patio, until 15-16% moisture, supported by mechanical dryers if needed down to 11.5% before resting in warehouse.

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Mr. Ganimedes Alves da Silva began in coffee in 1974. The place he chose to make his start – and where he still stands – is Fazenda Queixadas in Alto Paranaíba microregion, part of the Cerrado Mineiro region. With well-defined seasons and 1200m of elevation, the site selection was exceptional, and the family business grew.

But then, in 1985 Mr. Ganimedes died unexpectedly, leaving the farm in the hands of his wife Mrs. Margarida das Graças Silva. Already having a reputation for being a strong woman, Mrs. Margarida das Gracas Silva ran the farm with help from her 4 young children: Flávio, Fabiano, Fabrício and Fernanda. As the children grew up they embraced the farm’s sense of union and tradition, and today produce specialty coffees with quality and a focus on environmental responsibility.

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.