• A third of the world’s coffee is grown in Brazil, much of it on farms of the Cerrado, a savannah-like area in the southeast.
• A sub-tropical climate and low annual rainfall provide ideal conditions for sun-dried (natural) processing.
• A pioneering leader in research and production, Luis Pascoal, owner of Daterra, has developed and built sophisticated technical systems and specially-written software and equipment to improve coffee quality.
• Daterra produces their own seedlings of eight different varieties of Arabica, tasting samples from each plot before harvesting.
• Beans are regularly sorted by density which is important to ensure an even roast.
• The first Brazilian coffee farm to be Rainforest Alliance certified, Daterra is also Utz certified.
• An organic composting program and advanced water reclamation system makes Daterra a ‘zero waste’ farm.
A third of the world’s coffee is grown in Brazil, much of it on farms of the Cerrado, a dry, flat, savannah-like area in Minas Gerais, in the southeastern region of Sao Paulo. Thanks to improved irrigation and enhanced soil fertility through the introduction of phosphorus and lime the Cerrado is now an important production area for soya, beans, maize and rice, as well as cattle ranching, paper production, and coffee cultivation. The region has a sub-tropical climate and low annual rainfall during harvest time, providing a dry season ideal for sun-drying coffee.
As Brazil leads the way in the global coffee market, Daterra is a leader in its own right, in research and sustainability as well as production. Daterra has developed sophisticated systems, incorporating specially-developed software and equipment, to methodically select excellent coffee at each step of the process, from planting to harvesting to sorting and shipping and beyond.
Daterra produces its own seedlings of eight different varieties of Arabica, and plants in both single-variety and multi-variety blocks, called quadras. Each separate quadra is then individually monitored and tracked for rainfall, soil quality and productivity, ensuring quality control and traceability. The farm’s expert cuppers taste samples from each quadra before harvesting to ensure only mature cherries are harvested. The tracking process continues through harvesting, as cherries remain in their separate batches while being sorted for size and density. Cherries are then sun-dried on wide heat-insulated patios before completing the dehumidification process in a drum dryer. Finally the green beans are left to rest and soften in a wood silo for at least six weeks, allowing the moisture distribution to even out.
After this process the beans are again sorted and graded by size and density, whilst remaining within their particular batches individual to each quadra. Sorting beans by density is especially important, as an even density will ensure an even roast, so a complex system using airbeds, floatation equipment, trichromatics and fluorescence is employed. Data collected throughout the process is collated on specialized software, making tracking information instantly available at the click of a mouse.
Daterra’s attention to detail in its coffee selection process is matched by the estate-wide commitment to sustainability. It was the first Brazilian coffee farm to be Rainforest Alliance certified, and all coffees are also Utz certified, an accreditation focusing on holistic approaches to environmental, agronomical and social principles. Utz requirements protect avian habitats by ensuring coffee trees are grown in the shade of lush forests, and help to safeguard fragile ecosystems by ensuring that all water is reclaimed and recycled. Daterra has gone further, implementing an organic composting program and an advanced water reclamation scheme that makes it a ‘zero waste’ farm. Further, over 5,000 acres of the estate has been transformed into a wildlife preserve, home to jaguars, giant anteaters, macaws and owls. Workers and their families are provided with homes, education and healthcare, and these responsible standards have greatly improved the lives of the coffee farming community.