Son of an artist, born and raised in the City of Senhora (Matas de Minas Region), Samuel Reis de Oliveira runs Fazenda Coimbra. He owes his coffee knowledge to his father, who was an agronomist and a pioneer of agroforestry in the region, and Samuel’s source of motivation.
In 1988, when Samuel was born, Samuel’s father planted the first coffee tree next to other plantations and bought some pieces of land where later in the future the fazenda will have been built up. Back at that time, nobody in the region was aware of agroforestry, but they were curious and persuaded enough about the development to start planting their own plots later on.
Samuel graduated in production engineering but soon felt the passion to be in the field. Motivated by his experiences, his father started planting trees together with coffee, he gathered his partners and founded AgroVerde, a reforestation company. He started to plant African mahoganies and banana trees next to them. When in 2019 his father passed away, he took over and continued the work with a lot of love and passion.
“I take pride to continue doing what I like and what my father loved” – Samuel R. de Oliveira
Fazenda Coimbra is one of the three farms, in the North of Minas, Samuel is running. On the farm he has 15 fixed employees, but during harvesting times, they hire up to 60 workers more to ease the job at the Fazenda. All the harvest is manual, due to the irregularity of the surface and the presence of mountains, which makes any mechanization process quite difficult.
On the 60 hectares from Fazenda Coimbra, all of the coffee is intercropped with Australian Cedars and African Mahoganies, whose shades are essential for coffee and to produce and sell timber.
The coffee from Fazenda Coimbra is a coffee with high quality and long history. It’s the ability to get an exclusive final product and the attention to every detail and step, from the field to the post-harvest, that makes it unique.
Samuel’s goal is not much to increase his production, rather improve the quality of his coffee, have more control of the process, standardize it, and become a point of reference in the region for quality as well as for sustainable practices.
Fazenda Coimbra is not partnering up with any cooperative, but to promote cooperation and to build effective synergies, 2 years ago they created an association for producers. Through that, they can exchange information, set up meetings, boost sales, and organize farm visits. According to Samuel this has increased the quality of the coffee and motivated many producers.
Both parties are happy. Samuel’s first export throught The Coffee Quest, but also our second official agroforestry farm, creating an small but rapidly expanding network of agroforestry suppliers from Brazil. During the 2020 season, the Coffee Leaf team helped clean the final lot from defects. Samuel will look into future machinery improvements to better comply with specialty export preparations.
Respect for the environment is central to the agenda of Fazenda Coimbra. All the springs are preserved and within the forest several local species and plants florish, which all together help to keep the balance of the environment.
Having a forest area next to his coffees was exactly one of Samuel’s father’s main aims. He realized that the decline of forests, both in Brazil and abroad, was so crucial that something must be done. Thanks to Agroforestry, indeed, they saw a radical change: a decrease in crop pests, restoration of environmental balance, and the return of exotic species.
“I would like to tell people to get to know us, as the pictures do not fully represent the actual feeling and understanding of how coffee is produced. I would like to create this culture for producers in general, to spread agroforestry” – Samuel R. de Oliveira