Mantiqueira de Minas is known for its mountain climate and the hydro-mineral resorts, whose waters are therapeutic. In the region, one of the most renowned coffees in the country is also produced.
With crops in mountainous areas, without mechanization, Mantiqueira coffee has gained national and international notoriety. In May 2011, the National Institute of Industrial Property INPI granted the registration of Indication of Origin for the region, which encompasses 25 municipalities.s.
The first crops started between 1848 and 1850. But it was in 1996 that coffee gained more and more quality, with the improvement of technology, the search for new cultivars and the installation of infrastructure to improve quality, such as highly selective harvesting from maturation of early, medium and late cultivars, use of washers, separators and peeling of cherry coffee.a.
One of the differentials of coffee in the region is the high acidity, due to the crops being over a thousand meters high. The predominance of the drink is citrus and the sweetness that remains in the aftertaste is due to the humid and cold climate. The cold makes the coffee ripen slowly, concentrating more sugars in the beans, and makes this sweetness more prevalent in the aftertaste, explains the c coffee trader of the Regional Cooperative of Coffee Growers of the Vale do Rio Verde Cocarive, Wellington Pereira, Babá.á.
With all these peculiarities, coffee from Serra da Mantiqueira de Minas is among the geographical indications of Brazil's IGs recognized by the European Union, due to the Mercosur-EU agreement, signed in June this year. This means that grains with these names can be marketed only if they have been produced in that region, preventing any imitation.o.
The team Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply visited some coffee farms located in the cities of Mantiqueira de Minas and Alta Mogiana to learn how coffee is produced.
For the president of the Association of Coffee Producers of Mantiqueira Aprocam, Antonio José Junqueira Villela, the inclusion of the product among the IGs is the recognition of the quality of regional production. The European consumer will know that the coffees produced here in the region follow the country's environmental and social laws. This gives tranquility to the producer and also to the consumer, he says.diz.
The indication of origin allows the consumer to check the origin of the product and is a guarantee of quality.
“Our product is already found in several European Union countries. This pact will further safeguard the Mantiqueira de Minas brand and thus protect the region and all its producers..
With the Mercosur-European Union agreement, producers hope to leverage sales of so-called specialty coffees, such as Mantiqueira de Minas, to the European market.
According to the Brazilian Association of Special Coffees BSCA, in 2018, the country produced approximately 10 million bags of specialty coffees, of which 9 million were for export. The rest for internal consumption..
“When we talked about specialty coffees in the past, we referred to the foreign market. The consumer, mainly European, highly valued this coffee from Mantiqueira de Minas. Due to the increase in demand for specialty coffee, which has grown worldwide at a rate of 22 per year, most coffee producing regions in Brazil have started to encourage this production, says coffee trader Wellington Pereira.ira.
According to Pereira, the boom in specialty coffees has occurred in the last three, four years. From then on, coffee shops and roasters became interested in this niche market, which currently grows 20 a year among Brazilian coffee lovers.os.
Within this scenario, BSCA foresees this year's consumption of 1.2 million bags in the Brazilian market and a continuous production of around 10 million bags.
The proposal to sell specialty coffees is shared by the exporting company Carmo Coffees, located in Carmo de Minas. They already export to the United States, some countries in Asia and Europe, such as Germany, Portugal, England, Switzerland and Norway. Shipments to China and the Middle East have recently started.
“Brazil awoke to the consumption of specialty coffees, a work that has been developed for 10, 12 years and has a lot to discover yet. Nowadays, we have roasters and coffee shops that are concerned with providing high quality coffee to consumers, explains coffee chef QGrader from Carmo Coffees, Paulo Cesar Junqueira, also known as PC.PC.
“The European market has always been a market that we wanted to reach. We already have some customers in Europe and we are managing to expand this network, increasing the sales volume there, he adds..
He adds that the company promotes the production of specialty coffees directly with the producer. We have added value to this product and, by table, the coffee grower is also paid for this production. The company works only with the sale of raw coffee to roasters abroad..
Great-grandson of Italians from Tuscany, Álvaro Antonio Pereira Colin, from the Sítio da Torre farm, in the municipality of Carmo de Minas, has invested in differentiated coffee in order to increase the product's value. My great-grandfather came from Italy around 1880 to start a small business in the city. My parents acquired a piece of land and ended up being great producers at that time. However, for financial reasons, production was not being profitable. The cost was very high because it is a mountainous region. The option was to turn to the special coffee with the highest value. Today, not only on the financial side, I think it is a passion to have the special coffee.”.
The property, which has 47 hectares, produces around 1,400 bags of yellow and red Bourbon, yellow and red catuaí and acaia varieties per year. They are already testing other varieties to start producing next year.
“I believe that this Mercosur European Union agreement is good because we will be able to increase sales. The demand abroad for specialty coffees is greater, so we do our part to increase production. Demand is there and I think this market is going to grow, celebrates Colin. "The concern is to make a harvest at the right time, more selective, picking the most ripe fruits carefully. The option at this time is to dry naturally via dry. If there is a higher percentage of green beans, I choose the wet way, which is where I can separate the green from the ripe grain.uro”.
The roasting stage of the coffee bean is also very important in the process of obtaining the quality of the drink. From a family of four generations producing coffee in the Mantiqueira de Minas region, Roney Villela owns Centro do Café, a roaster in Carmo de Minas. In the video, he explains how producers have been doing to have more quality and win over consumers.
Another region that also stands out for the production of fine and special grains is Alta Mogiana, in the north of the state of São Paulo. The region's coffee will also have protection in the European Union. The history of coffee in the region dates back to 1880 and mixes with the Mogiana Railway Company Mogiana de Estradas Railway, which operated from 1872 to 1971, and with more than 2 thousand kilometers connecting the Triângulo Mineiro to the Port of Santos SP, passing through all northwest and central-west of São Paulo.ulo.
Alta Mogiana produces Arabica coffee and finer grains, known as soft drink coffee. In 2013, it was recognized as a Geographical Indication by the INPI, bringing together 23 municipalities, 15 in São Paulo and eight in the state of Minas Gerais. Alta Mogiana is currently recognized as an IP Origin Indication.IP).
In the region, are the Minamihara, one of the oldest families of Japanese immigrants producing coffee in the municipalities of Franca and Cristais Paulista, in São Paulo. The coffees, organic and exotic, are produced by Getúlio Mitsuhiro Minamihara, and by his son, Anderson, in areas shaded by avocado trees.
Among the family's achievements are recognition in the specialty coffee market in Brazil and abroad, as well as awards in several championships.
With the trade agreement between Mercosur-EU, Anderson Minamihara hopes to increase exports, mainly of roasted coffee in Brazil. According to him, one of the current obstacles is the high cost of toasting and packaging abroad, when it is more viable to sell green coffee to be roasted in a foreign company. We have a high expectation, many customers want to buy our roasted coffee, but it is often impossible, due to the tax, for the work that is to export a roasted and packaged coffee abroad, "he says..
For the manager of the Association of Special Coffee Producers of the Alta Mogiana Region, Gabriel Borges da Silva, the tendency is for the producer to want to internationalize and export the product, despite the fact that the Brazilian is consuming more specialty coffees. Demand is growing at a fast pace and logistics are easier, with lower cost in the domestic market.”.
The director-secretary of the Cocapec Coffee and Agropecuarist Cooperative, Saulo de Carvalho Faleiro, summarizes that in order to conquer the European palate, quality is needed. They want to see what they are drinking first. Then there are other factors like sustainability. But if it doesn't have quality, it won't.i”.
Thinking about it, since 2016, the cooperative changed the strategy to access the foreign market. During the first 20 years, here we sold the idea that we had to export the best coffee, with shades of chocolate and caramel, characteristic of coffee in the region. After this period, we started to participate in international fairs and travel a little through the countries of Europe and the United States. We literally went to have a drink and understand what to drink. We came back with the thought that we need to find these niches and export the grain, placing coffees with price adjustments on the market.”.
* Report Inez De Podestà
** Collaboration of the official coffee sorter and taster of the Federal Superintendence of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply in São Paulo, the federal auditor Celso Ricardo Bucker Franchini, member of the Regional Technical Unit of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply of Ribeirão Prandto.