Quality in Brazil

This month, we are sharing two excellent Brazilian coffees, produced under very different production regimes. The producers of each share an ability to distill their passion and hard work into their coffee, but they work under very different conditions, with very different resources.

Cerrado Mineiro

This month, we are presenting a coffee from our long term partners at Daterra, in the Cerrado Mineiro region of Brazil, alongside a Geisha varietal lot from Fabiano Diniz in the mountainous Alto Caparaó region to the south. Even within the same state of Brazil, Minas Gerais, the conditions these coffees are produced under almost couldn’t be more different. Daterra sits on the flat, dry plains of Cerrado Mineiro at around 1200 masl, not far from the city of Patrocinio. Fabiano works in the mountainous Caparaó national park, at 1400 masl on the border to Espírito Santo, where the cooling influence of the Atlantic Ocean leads to slowly maturing cherries.


This is the seventh year we have bought coffees from Daterra, based not far from Patrocinio, in the Cerrado Mineiro region of Brazil. Their story stretches back to 1908, when they started as a small family business. A young Italian couple emigrated to Brazil, selling the coffee they grew on their own small farm. After years of work, they decided they had to diversify their family business to survive, opening a small gas station. Over the next half century, they built a successful auto parts business, eventually one of the largest in Brazil. When it was time for Donato Pascoal, the eldest son, to retire in 1976, he decided to reinvest in the industry that had sparked his parents’ passion so long ago. Donato wanted to create a new and modern approach to Brazilian coffee agriculture, setting a template decades ahead of its time.


Daterra, meaning ‘from the earth’, is made up of two farms just a short drive apart, Boa Vista and Tabuoes. Much care was taken to preserve the native flora and fauna of the Cerrado Mineiro, one of the most biodiverse regions of Brazil, in an attempt to farm collaboratively with nature rather than trying to control it. All of this meant that as Daterra grew, they became the first Rainforest Alliance certified farm in Brazil, and continued to take their environmental responsibilities seriously. They have protected native forest ‘paths’ running between the swathes of natural reserve on the farm, allowing safe passage for wildlife. On our most recent visit in November 2022 this was clear, with a myriad of wildlife all across the farm. Daterra continue to pioneer new levels of quality control in Brazil, using modern agro-technology alongside ancient techniques to consistently create high quality lots.

Boa Vista

This lot was grown on Daterra’s original farm, Boa Vista. Much of their processing, experimentation and quality control takes place here. This lot is known internally as ‘Blossom’ due the floral qualities in the cup. ‘Blossom’ is composed from lots of the Aramosa and Guarani varietals, alongside a small amount of Laurina. Each of these varietals are known for their inherent floral qualities, and these qualities are only intensified by Daterra’s work in the field and during their quality control.Each lot that comes out of Daterra’s driers and patios is immediately cupped, and only those who show the floral ‘Blossom’ characteristics make it into this lot. 

This results in a cup with some perfumed tropical florals and a deep sweetness reminiscent of dried fruit, alongside the more typical Cerrado notes of dark chocolate.

The Diniz Family

Fabiano Diniz’s farm Alto da Serra has been in his family for four generations, so coffee farming is truly in his blood. The farm is a family business, in fact the founder, Fabiano’s great grandfather, still lives close by, and this year celebrated his 84th birthday. It was Fabiano’s father that started the focus on high-quality coffees on the farm, planting quality varietals and investing in processing equipment capable of producing consistent and clean coffees.

The farm is located in the Matas de Minas region, close to the Caparaó national park on the border between Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo. This leads to a rather high altitude compared with much of Brazil, over 1400 metres above sea level at its highest point. After our first experience with Fabiano’s coffee in 2022, we were able to visit him in November of that year, as he was rounding off the harvest and preparing lots for several local and national green coffee competitions

Fabiano and his family’s dedication and passion was truly impressive, and their rise to this stage has been swift. In 2018, Fabiano’s sister Josiane was running the farm alone, producing some excellent lots, but struggling to find buyers. Fabiano’s father was working as a commercial coffee buyer, and Fabiano was a truck driver. The family made a conscious decision to work more closely together, continuing with their quality work on the farm, but also to build links with buyers willing to invest in their philosophy. The main way they did this was through green coffee competitions, initially on a local level, but now also in competitions for the whole of Brazil. 

These competitions, while pushing the level of quality on the farm, also enabled connections with buyers willing to pay a premium for high-end Brazilian coffees. It was through one of these competitions that we connected with Fabiano, and how we were able to meet the whole family. At the International Coffee Week festival in Belo Horizonte in November 2022, the Diniz family won both the national ‘Golden Cup’ competition, and CafeBras’ regional competition for Matas de Minas. It was a humbling experience to see the whole family’s joy at this recognition of their hard work on a national stage.

Natural Geisha

This particular lot is of the Geisha varietal, not seen so often in Brazil, but better suited to the high altitude and cooler condition at Fabiano’s farm. Unusually for Brazil, this lot is fully manually and selectively picked, making sure of even and ripe cherries. This is a naturally processed coffee, but is pre-fermented in water-filled tanks before drying. This gives a very slow and controlled start to fermentation, with temperature and microbial activity carefully monitored to ensure consistency. The sealed tanks also favour a lacto-bacterial fermentation as opposed to yeast, pushing the fermentation in this direction as it continues on the beds. This control, and the generation of lactic acid, leads to a rather unique and very clean expression of Brazil, a profile that has become the Diniz family’s signature. 

The high altitude, selective picking and careful fermentation lead to a profile more reminiscent of washed Colombia, with floral aromas followed by crisp notes of apple and rich brown sugar.

Rituals: Quality in Brazil

Our curated seasonal subscription has a new name, but the experience, the coffees, and the commitment to quality remain the same. Rituals reflects the journey; each month we share new stories, carefully building on those that came before.

Boa Vista & Fabiano Diniz

We’re proud to continue our work in Brazil. Often associated with lower quality, efficient production and consistent flavour profiles, there are many producers here who focus on and excel in producing characterful coffees, that reflect both their origin and their personal approach. The different methods showcased here are just two of those that we’ve seen during our travels in Brazil, and we hope that you enjoy both Daterra’s high-tech approach, and Fabiano’s hands-on craft this month.