Nestled in the southeastern region of Brazil lies the lush and fertile coffee-growing region known as Matas de Minas. Pronounced "mah-tahs de me-nas," this area is located in the state of Minas Gerais and is characterized by its mountainous terrain and high altitudes ranging between 900 and 1,200 meters above sea level. Matas de Minas is renowned for its distinctive coffees, which are a result of the region's unique microclimate and traditional cultivation methods.
Coffee has been grown in the Matas de Minas region for over a century, with the first coffee plantations being established as early as the late 19th century. The region's reputation as a producer of high-quality coffee has solidified over the years, thanks in part to the dedication of local farmers and the natural characteristics of the area. The combination of fertile soil, ample rainfall, and ideal temperatures has created the perfect environment for cultivating exceptional coffee beans.
While specific methods may vary from farmer to farmer, the traditional methods of coffee cultivation in Matas de Minas often involve manual labor and small-scale farming techniques. As the region is characterized by mountains and valleys, most coffee plantations are located on slopes, making mechanized farming a challenge. This has led to a reliance on manual labor for tasks such as planting, pruning, and harvesting.
In terms of processing, most coffee in Matas de Minas is processed using the natural or pulped natural methods. The natural method involves drying the coffee cherries with the fruit still intact, while the pulped natural method involves removing the skin of the cherry before drying. Both of these methods contribute to the distinct flavor profiles of Matas de Minas coffees.
Coffees from the Matas de Minas region are known for their complex and nuanced flavor profiles. Though the exact notes can vary depending on factors such as processing method and altitude, some common characteristics include bright acidity, medium to full body, and a range of fruity and nutty flavors. These might include hints of red fruit, berries, chocolate, and nuts, accompanied by a sweet and lingering aftertaste.
There are several well-known farms and farmers in the Matas de Minas region who have gained recognition for their exceptional coffees. One such example is the Fazenda do Lobo (Wolf Farm), which has been in the Ferraço family for four generations. The farm is committed to sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, and its coffees have won numerous awards in national and international competitions.
Another example is the producer Amauri Dias de Castro, who operates the Sitio Boa Vista farm. His dedication to quality and innovation has led him to experiment with different processing methods and varietals, resulting in unique and award-winning coffees.
The Matas de Minas region is a testament to the rich history and tradition of coffee cultivation in Brazil. With its unique growing conditions and dedicated farmers, it's no wonder that the coffees produced in this region are highly sought after by specialty coffee enthusiasts around the world.