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Behind the Beans: Fazenda El Carmo in Brazil

The Junquiera family starting growing coffee on the highlands of southern Minas Gerais 150 years ago. The current owner, Tulio Junquiera, who is the fifth generation of coffee growers in the family, has combined tradition with innovation to make Carmo Estate a sustainable farm dedicated to the production of specialty coffees. Tulio is also a former president of the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA).

Carmo Estate’s mission is to produce exceptional coffees while providing its employees with a good quality of life and while ensuring environmental sustainability. The farm is located near the town of Heliodora, in the southern state of Minas Gerais, a stunning region with mountainous terrain and ideal conditions to grow specialty coffees.

Carmo Estate has 220 hectares (545 acres) of land planted out with Mundo Novo, Catuaí, Catucaí, Bourbon, Acaiá and Icatú varietals. A combination of careful management and excellent growing conditions produce an average yield of 40 bags per hectare; more than twice the national average. Coffees from Carmo Estate are grown at altitudes ranging from 950 to 1,200m.

The milling facilities at Carmo Estate were developed particularly for the production of high quality specialty naturals and pulped naturals. For coffees processed using the pulped natural method (such as this 100% Bourbon), the cherries are picked only when ripe, pulped and then dried in the sun on the farm’s spacious patios. Mechanical dryers are used as a back up when weather conditions are not good. The estate then rests and stores its coffee in parchment in purpose-built wooden silos under it’s ready for export.

Carmo Estate is committed to the wellbeing of its employees and partners. Healthcare, on-site schooling for children, programmes to encourage workers to build their own housing, adult education projects and training on the importance of environmental preservation are all offered by Carmo. The farm also runs an innovative profit-sharing programme, in which employees are invited to become partners in Carmo Estate and thus become entitled to a share of the profits earned from the sale its coffees.

 

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