We've been buying coffee beans from the quality-obsessed Brazil Speciality Coffee Association (BSCA) for over a decade and we've never been disappointed with the quality and flavour of the beans. BSCA members represent the top flight of Brazilian growers. Because the members produce such a huge variety of beans, the BSCA offers a BSCA Espresso blend created each year from some of the finest coffees produced by its member farms. This blend is created by a team of the BSCA’s professional cuppers, carefully mixed to enhance body, aroma and natural sweetness.
Normally the BSCA uses different farms to create their blend, but this year the blend is made up of pulped natural and natural lots from a single farm - Fazenda Ponto Alegre, in Brazil’s Sul de Minas growing region. Ponto Alegre’s natural and pulped naturals work particularly well together, creating a well-balanced cup that fulfils the BSCA’s target blend profile.
Ponto Alegre has been farmed by the Sousa family for over a century. The family has been focusing on coffee since 1960 and the farm is currently managed by the fourth generation of Sousas - Mabel, her husband Leandro and her two brothers, Renato and Eduardo. They love their farm passionately and have told us “There is no better place in the world to live!”
The farm extends over a total of 419.4 hectares, 270 of which are planted out with coffee of the Mundo Novo and Catuaí varietals. Ponto Alegre ranges from 950 to 1050 metres in altitude and much of its terrain is hilly, meaning that most of the farm work is carried out by hand.
The farm employs 60 permanent workers, with 25 families living on site in houses equipped with clean drinking water, electricity and modern bathroom facilities. During peak harvest months Ponto Alegre takes on over 200 workers. All of the farm’s employees are registered in accordance with Brazil’s employment laws. They also have access to the farm’s medical clinic, dentistry clinic and crèche, as well as free transport for their older children to attend school in the local town of Cabo Verde.
Ponto Alegre is equipped with a state of the art wet mill, including 19,000 square metres of patio for sun-drying their coffees as well as covered drying beds. The Sousa family put great emphasis on quality and are working with agronomists from Minas Gerais’ UFLA university to implement cutting edge farming techniques.
The waste water from the wet mill is treated for at least 18 months using a sophisticated complex of filter beds and lagoons before being returned to the natural environment in order to prevent any pollution of local water courses. Some 120 hectares of the farm are also set aside as natural reserve providing habitat for a wide range of flora and fauna.
(thanks to Mercanta Ltd for the farm details)