Coopervass, a smallholder cooperative with around 600 farmers in São Goçalo in the coffee region Sul de Minas. The Coopervass Coffee Department was created in 1972 and later linked to the Central de Cooperativas de Varginha – COCCAMIG. The past few years the cooperative, together with a group of their farmers, has grown interest in producing higher quality lots.
Our local partner Bruno Andrade, has been been on the mission to put Coopervass on the map, The Coffee Quest was happy to find high quality lots during the difficult 19/20 season. We agreed to build on this relationship by getting more involved in their selection process and increase purchases of specialty coffee for the new season.
Sul de Minas “South of Minas”, especially in the Mantiqueria mountains, provide a perfect terroir with good conditions to grow and sell the coffee. Altitudes average between 1200-1400 ma.s.l. on relatively even terrain, makes harvesting efficient and transport on-going due to the good infrastructure. The Coffee Quest is happy to meet this group on the moment they realized what can be achieved in terms of quality.
The farms with an average size between 5 – 30 hectares, are run by families working as efficiently as possible. Their coffees, both natural and washed, are being processed and stored in the cooperative’s warehouse. Coopervass supplies materials and provides feedback to improve general knowledge about quality.
The first results are promising as The Coffee Quest managed to purchase several lots in the Coopervass local competition, with our partner Bruno (and Q-grader) as judge. Part of the farmers has experience in providing coffee for competition, but will also participate for local recognition.
Interesting fact: To enter the competition each farmer must subscribe their coffee as either a Washed or Natural. All honey, semi-washed and pulped naturals will be double checked by the Cooperative to see if the physical and sensorial attributes appear to be closer to a Washed or Natural lot. A second requierment to enter the Washed category is to have a coffee pulper in posession. The coop has these regulations in place to prevent Natural lots from entering the Washed competition to protect the competition’s categories.
During the 2019 season, The Coffee Quest has been purchasing at different price levels. Each lot had to be discussed seperately, but all with the aim to compensate the quality. The Coffee Quest has been able to provides cupping feedback and arrange for the export service through our partner Coffee Leaf in Varginha.
Next season The Coffee Quest wiill implement fixed pricing arrangement for all 84+ scoring coffee. In addition, we will commit to purchase a set quantity to stimulate the relationship and search for quality.
The visits done by our partner Bruno to several of the Coopervass farmers shows an ecological interest in keeping their lands and water sources as clean as possible. Many families will minimize the use of chemical fertilizers to prevent pollution and avoid unnecessary costs. The cooperative had not exported previously and can be considered being at the beginning of a switch. Their aim to promote a more sustainable approach towards production, but also creating stability with long term relationships with buyers. The Coffee Quest is happy to collaborate and help to achieve their purposes.