Fazenda do Lobo “Farm of the Wolf“, is a coffee farm with a large tradition, located in the municipality of Tres Corações in Sul de Minas. This is the south of Minas Gerais, close to the office of The Coffee Quest in Varginha. In the biggest producing area of the country, the farm is located by the side of the magical mountains of São Thome das Letras, at an average 990 m.a.s.l.. The Lobo-Guara (maned wolf), a beautiful species with an unmistakable appearance (it is not a fox, neither a dog) can be found here in their natural habitat, unfortunately the wolf is under risk of extinction. Therefore the farm was named after the symbol of their biome.
The farm is managed by Andréa Galvão Nogueira Foresti, who is the fourth generation of coffee grower, and her husband Marcos, who has a degree in Agronomy. Since their childhood, Andréa and Marcos have always been in touch with the countryside and they purchased the farm in 1996. Their sons Claudio, who graduated as an Environmental Engineer, and Guilherme, who has a degree in Business Administration, help run the family business. They bring new ideas that are aligned with social, sustainable and environmental matters.
Fazenda Do Lobo is also a member of the BSCA (Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association). Their farm always participates in regional and national coffee contests, and they consider that due to hard work, family values and the focus on production of high quality beans they will manage to do well in competitions,
All year round five registered employees work on the farm taking care of the coffee plants. In harvest season around 15 extra people are contracted, with mostly women that take care of delicate farm work, such as selective picking for specialty coffee.
The total farm has 285 hectares, with a 90 hectares of coffee area, with a good diversity of varieties such as Arara, Acauã, Yellow Bourbon, Red Catuaí, Yellow Catucaí, Mundo Novo, and Topázio, have been replanted to aim for higher productivity. The farm is highly mechanized under strict hygiene criteria. Part of these measure contribute to their certification for Certifica Minas (2008), UTZ, Rainforest Alliance and Nespresso AAA Sustainable Certificates.
The diversity in coffee varieties makes sure there is early, intermediate and late ripening cherries during the harvest season. Their focus is to only get the ripe fruits. The lots undergo an anaerobic fermentation gallons process for 36 hours. The patios and suspended drying terrace, built in 2017, are used for the natural coffees. They experiment and use different fermentation times to get different profiles.
The drying patio is monitored for hygiene, temperature and drying time. Depending on the layers, the cherries are turned every half hour to get a more uniform drying. On average the drying time for the coffee is around 17 days for naturals and 10 days for pulped naturals. Micro lots someimes take around one month or more.
The income from the farm is enough to survive, but not enough to make a living for the whole family. Marcos has a job outside the farm. High production costs and price volatility is a challenge for the coffee business. The family is working on improving the quality of their coffee to increase the financial results of the farm, so they won’t be in need of loans to pay high interest in the future.
The Coffee Quest is happy to pay the quality premium and has good hopes in maintaining the relationship. In the 20/21 season we expect more lots from Fazenda Do Lobo and will support them in terms of quality control. The aim is to get consistency in quality to create a good basis for the relationship.
Climate change is influencing the current outlook for farmers. Higher temperatures in day time and frost at night are affecting the quality of the coffee. The Foresti family cares about sustainability and the ecosystem. They already started to take some serious steps by investing in a solar system to supply energy for the whole farm and its houses which are all equipped with LED lightning.
30% of the farm is a preserved area, of which they take good care and where hunting and fishing is prohibited. There are six protected springs, five of which can be found in the coffee area. This water is analyzed each year. Pesticides are used to a minimum and all processing is done according to the Rainforest Alliance standards. At the farm there is a waste management, materials and garbage are recycled and the water for processing the coffee is reused.
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Coopervass, a cooperative with around 600 smallholder farmers in São Goçalo in coffee region Sul de Minas. The south of Minas Gerais has a long history for production volume coffee. The farmers from Coopervass have started a new movement towards quality. The Coffee Quest has partnered with the cooperative for close collaboration in the 20/21 season.