Nestled in the heart of Brazil lies a unique coffee-growing region known as Chapada Diamantina. Pronounced "shah-pah-dah dee-ah-mahn-tee-nah," this region is located in the northeastern state of Bahia, with a rough altitude of 1,000 meters above sea level. An interesting fact about Chapada Diamantina is that it is not only famous for its coffee production but also for its stunning landscapes, including waterfalls, caves, and hiking trails.
Coffee has been grown in the Chapada Diamantina region for over 150 years, with the first coffee plantations established during the 19th century. The region's coffee industry began to flourish after the decline of the local diamond mining industry, which had previously been the primary source of income for the area. The fertile soil, mild climate, and high altitude of the region provided ideal conditions for growing high-quality coffee beans, and over time, Chapada Diamantina has become a respected and sought-after coffee-producing region.
While specific farming and processing methods may vary among producers in Chapada Diamantina, there are some general practices that are commonly followed in the region. Most coffee farms in the area are small, family-owned operations that rely on traditional, sustainable farming methods. These include planting coffee trees in shaded areas to protect them from the harsh sun, using natural fertilizers, and avoiding the use of harmful chemicals.
In general, Brazilian coffee is processed using one of three methods: natural, pulped natural, or washed. In the Chapada Diamantina region, the most commonly used method is the natural processing method. This involves leaving the coffee cherries to dry in the sun for several weeks with the fruit still attached to the bean. Once the cherries have dried, they are removed from the beans using a machine called a huller. This method is known for producing coffee with a fruity, sweet flavor profile, which is characteristic of Chapada Diamantina coffees.
Coffees from the Chapada Diamantina region are known for their bright acidity, medium body, and complex flavor profiles. Many coffee enthusiasts describe these coffees as having a sweet, fruity taste with notes of berries, tropical fruits, and stone fruits like peaches or apricots. Some Chapada Diamantina coffees also exhibit floral and citrus notes, adding to the overall complexity of the flavor experience. The natural processing method used in the region contributes to the fruity sweetness of the coffees, while the high altitude and fertile soil provide the bright acidity and unique flavors that make Chapada Diamantina a truly special coffee-growing region.
While specific well-known farms or farmers may not be widely recognized outside of the region, the Chapada Diamantina area is home to many hardworking, passionate coffee producers who are dedicated to cultivating high-quality, sustainable coffee. As the specialty coffee industry continues to grow, it is likely that more attention will be drawn to the unique and delicious coffees produced in this remarkable Brazilian region.