Quality meets social awareness

Being part of the community and the areas in which we operate is no longer just a basic call but has been transformed into the essence of our own survival.

“We want to ensure that our suppliers feel valued, because the type of coffee we work with takes time, dedication and well-being of them”, says Marcelo Brussi.

Investing in education, citizenship and the quality of life of those involved with coffee brings Minas Hill Coffee a great responsibility and satisfaction.

For us, it is a great pleasure to work with farmers such as Pedro and Newton Teixeira. Father and son, owners of Santo Antonio and Pinhal farms and committed on developing the small communities in the surrounding areas. They currently have 5 different and permanent projects that aim to create environmental awareness, a better relationship between families of workers and a hope for a better future for the generations to come.

Environmental Awareness: Since 2013, and in partnership with a local school, children have the opportunity of getting involved with the environment through a seminar held at the school + annual visits to the farm. During every visit to Santo Antonio & Pinhal farms, they are encouraged to plant trees and observe their growth and progress year after year.

Wings:  This project includes the construction of nurseries to shelter and reintroduce wild birds to their natural habitat. It also aims to educate people about the importance of environmental balance and the harmful effects of animal trafficking.

Parents & Children, an image: With the purpose of valuing the hard work done at the coffee farm and stimulating creativity, this project brings children to the farms to take pictures of their parents at the workplace. At the end, the photos are given as a gift to the families.

Photography: The purpose of this project was to create the Coffee Festival in Santo Antonio do Amparo. Coffee is the main economical activity in the region, and the reason why it is important to spread the awareness.

Coffee & Art: Through research about artists, photographers and other creative tools, children and teenagers are encouraged to experiment in the activities held in a coffee farm. Afterwards, their work is exposed in the Coffee Festival held every year in Santo Antonio do Amparo.

Minas Hill Coffee is aiming to implement and collaborate with others projects with all its suppliers, in all Brazilian states. “The Brazilian reality cannot be compared with the Australian reality. Brazil suffers too much from the lack of basic structures”, says Marcelo Brussi

 

Why are coffees from Piatã, Bahia so special?

Piatã, a town located between two mountain ranges, and close to Diamantina Plateau National Park, is the highest point in Bahia, at 1,400m above sea level. The high altitudes and temperatures that vary from 2°C to 18°C in the winter make Piatã a very unique and privileged coffee growing region in Brazil. The area is situated in the latitude 13º South, closer to the Equador line than the traditional coffee regions in Brazil, such as Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo. That’s why producers from Piatã can grown coffee in higher altitudes without worrying about frost.

All these factors, combined with the area’s rich soil and intensive care are favourable to producing high quality coffee. Renato, owner of Fazenda Vista Alegri, says that due to the climate, he is able to delay the ripeness process and that is the reason why his coffee is able to embody so many sugars.

For over a century, this area was famous by its gemstones (specially Diamonds) and beautiful mountain scenery. Today, the region is notorious for its specialty coffee, attracting enthusiasts from all over the world. Coffees from Piatã have a cup profile that is very distinctive, bright and transparent. Other notes normally found are molasses, citric fruits, red fruits, intense aroma and high complexity. They are real hidden gems.

The region started to gain international recognition since the 2009 Cup of Excellence, where half of the top 10 coffees were from there. In 2015 Cup of Excellence, the first and second place where also from Piatã. Last year, in the 2016 COE Pulped Naturals there was a complete dominance in the awards, an astonishing 19 out of 24 winning coffees came from the little town in Bahia!

This year, Minas Hill Coffee brought 6 different micro-lots from Piatã to Australia. To receive more information about them, contact mariana@minashill.com.au 

5 Days as a Green Bean Buyer in Brazil

Going to the origin is one of the most unique experiences for any coffee lover. Besides finding hidden gems and unique flavours, it is rewarding to exchange knowledge and learn from the ones responsible for growing and processing the coffee we drink in Australia. Our relationship with the farmers gets stronger every time we visit them. And we develop great appreciation for the awesome work they do. That is one of the reasons why we visit Brazil every year.

So, today let us share with you what it is like to be traveling from farm to farm in Brazil.

Day 1 – Getting there!

Travelling from Australia to Brasil means to be at least 24 hours en route. As there is no direct flight, our itinerary involved a stop in NZ and another stop in Chile. We finally landed in Sao Paulo, Brazil’s largest city (around 12 million people!) where we could rest for one night.

Day 2 – Fazenda Bom Jesus & GIMA

The first farm visited was Fazenda Bom Jesus, in the city of Franca, Alta Mogiana region, where our friends Flavia and Gabriel have been growing coffee for nearly 150 years. The area is impressive, approximately 8,000 hectares where they plant mainly Bourbon and Mundo Novo varieties.

But this year there was something even more special about our visit. For the first time we were able to be part of the opening ceremony of GIMA, the Intermunicipal Games for the Environment. For 10 years Bom Jesus farm has been organising this event to create environmental and social awareness on youngsters by performing sports, dance and cultural activities. There were more than 900 children from 4 different small cities there, on a special moment to share knowledge and entertainment. It was impressive to share moments with sons and daughters of coffee pickers, these people are surrounded by coffee since they’re born.

The highlight of the day was to deliver 20 bikes to children, all bought with money raised by our friends from Disciple Roasters and the earnings of their coffee shop last year on Christmas Day! Moments like these really make you feel emotional, it was a unique experience to be there knowing that each bag of Bom Jesus has an impact on the development of children in need. It was one of the moments where you believe a good action can definitely change the world.

Day 3 – On the way to Minas Gerais

The best way to move around the countryside of Brazil is by car. After having rented one, the next stop was Sao Goncalo do Sapucai, a small city with around 20 thousand inhabitants, located in Southern Minas Gerais. I was lucky to be part of the Rosario festivities, the most traditional party in the area, dated from 1880 and linked to the religious calendar (exactly 50 days after Easter).

Day 4 – Farmers from APAS

The day started early. At 7.30am, Ademilson Noiman picked me up for a breakfast with the members of APAS. Let me explain, APAS stands for the Association of Producers from Alto da Serra, founded in 1996 by a group of
small farmers, aiming to improve their production conditions and quality. From this union, and by being able to join local competitions, such as COE, they could discover how special and unique their coffees are.
The association is located in the south of Minas Gerais, in altitudes between 1,000m and 1,400m above sea level. Quality, traceability, good agricultural practices, social and environmental responsibility, and food safety are the main pillars of APAS. Therefore, their members are all certified by Certifica Minas Cafe and Fair Trade.

The most touching aspect of travelling to the origin to me is to see with my own eyes how we can change the lives of small producers by buying their amazing coffee and bringing it to Australia. These humble farmers are just so grateful for being able to send their coffee overseas, and knowing that people really appreciate the hard work they do the whole year just for those few micro-lot bags. Their testimonials made us speechless. As we always say, coffee is made of stories, and people.

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to visit all the farms, some of the farms we went were: Pinheirinho, Sao Jose, Bela Vista, Nossa Senhora & Aparecida. Even though they are in the same region they are a bit far from each other. It was time to leave to the last stop: Santo Antonio do Amparo.

Day 5 – Santo Antonio & Pinhal Farms

During the last day of the trip we visited Pedro and Newton’s farms. Pedro is the 5th generation of coffee growers in his family. Their farmhouse was built in 1824, nearly 200 years ago!

Santo Antonio operation is impressive and a great example of the unique opportunities afforded by the highly established Brazilian coffee industry. The group of farms, each of which are outstanding feats in and of themselves, have a centralised lab, warehouse and dry mill where a dedicated quality control team of Q Graders cups and manages quality for the collective. Working as a group via the lab enables these estates to share and gain from the collectives many years of combined experience.

Today, the farm operates in reforestation, but the coffee production is the main activity. They hold Rain Forest Alliance and UTZ Certifications and they are working on a project to protect injured birds in the region.

To finish the visit to Brazil, the most amazing sunrise I’ve seen.

 

Discover Sitio Boa Vista

Alessandro Alves Hervaz and his family have been growing coffee since 1993. They currently have 2 small properties: Sitio Esperanca and Sitio Diogo. They also lease 3 other small farms: Sitio Grotao, Sitio Boa Vista and Fazenda Fortaleza, where he lives, making it a total of 19 hectares of land only. They operate as a Family Farm, the title given to small farms owned and operated primarily by members of a single family.

As a member of APAS – Association of Producers from Alto da Serra – he works closely with other small producers, focused on specialty and natural coffee only. Since 2013, they started to peel the coffee beans, drying them in suspended yards and putting them into greenhouses. At first, Mr Hervaz admits that it all seemed impossible to be done, but thanks to his family’s hard work they are now proving that selected coffees result in a high quality product. They were even surprised by the new notes and flavors he found on his coffees. Flavors that they couldn’t even imagine it existed, and they keep working on always raising their standards.

At Sitio Boa Vista, Alessandro created a special micro-lot called Honey & Coffee, where the production is completely pollinated by bees. This coffee represents the beautiful work they do with beekeeping in the coffee properties, always aiming to improve quality and variety of their products.

Why have you decided to produce specialty coffee? – we asked Alessandro.

“Most of the farmers will say that the reason why they produce specialty coffee is to be able to sell it for a higher price, I don’t think this reason is wrong as the producers need to receive a fair payment. A special coffee is produced by a special farmer and he needs to be rewarded for that. However, what motivates farmers from APAS to make specialty coffee is not only the aggregated value on our product, but to know who is buying our coffee and where in the world are people drinking it. It is really rewarding to a small coffee farmer to know that his name is being printed in coffee bags around the world. It makes us very proud and even more passionate for what we do. Over the past years, we’ve been receiving many positive feedback and we hope a lot of roasters out there can buy our coffee and help us spread the story behind coffees and farmers from APAS over the globe.”

Thank you, Alessandro! We from Minas Hill Coffee also feel very proud to be able to bring such a special coffee to Australia!

For more information about APAS, contact marcelo@minashill.com.au

The best of March: Micro-lots from APAS

APAS (Association of Producers from Alto da Serra) is located in southern Minas Gerais, Sao Goncalo do Sapucai, Ferreiras District, a region that stands out for its natural beauty, pleasant climate, fertile soils, altitudes between 1000 and 1300m, favorable to the production of specialty coffees. The association is formed by a group of 36 producers who every year keep seeking for improvements in the quality of coffee produced, which has been evidenced by the participation in quality contests in the last 5 years.

In 2011, during the 1st Cup of Excellence Natural Late Harvest organised by BSCA, APAS had 2 producers among the finalists in the International phase, one of them wining the 16th position. At the 8th Contest Quality Coffees of Minas Gerais, organised by EMATER-MG, 2 producers were once again finalists. In the contest of Coopervass, where 3000 lots participated, the 1st, 4th and 5th positions awarded were producers from APAS.

The coffees produced in this region, specially the natural ones, have cached the attention of the public after receiving excellent scores above 80 points on the rating scale SCAA. Consequently, the number of producers seeking to improve the quality through pulped coffees has increased.

Along with beverage quality, traceability, good agricultural practices, food security, social and environmental responsibility is the work of APAS, through the certifications such as Certifica Minas Cafe and Fair Trade.

 

Minas Hill Coffee has been working with APAS for the last 4 years, and this partnership ensures the acquisition of a limited production from the Borges family every year. Around 100 bags are delivered yearly, displaying excellent coffees that are also social and environmental responsible. At the moment, there are 7 exclusive micro-lots available:

 

  • Bela Vista Lot Q-139
    • Varietal: Yellow Catuai, Process: Natural, Altitude: 1330m
  • Bela Vista Lot Q-141
    • Varietal: Yellow Catuai, Process: Natural, Altitude: 1330m
  • Pinheirinho
    • Varietal: Red Mundo Novo, Process: Natural, Altitude: 1330m
  • Boa Vista
    • Varietal: Yellow Catuai, Process: Natural, Altitude: 1330m
  • Nossa Senhora
    • Varietal: Yellow Catuai, Process: Natural, Altitude: 1330m
  • Sao Jose
    • Varietal: Red Catuai, Process: Natural, Altitude: 1330m
  • Aparecida
    • Varietal: Yellow Catucai, Process: Natural, Altitude: 1330m

 

For more information contact marcelo@minashill.com.au.

 

Brazilian Cupping Night & the future of Specialty Coffee

 

On the 21st of February, Minas Hill Coffee organised its first Cupping Night of 2017 in Melbourne, showcasing the best of Brazilian Specialty coffee, including exclusive micro-lots. Amongst the 13 coffees on the table, there were 2 Cup of Excellence displays, participants of the most prestigious competition and award for high quality coffees.

The event was also an opportunity to discuss the future of Specialty Coffee and the role Brazil plays in the industry. Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer, accounting for almost 32% of all coffee produced in the world. It is also the largest producer of Specialty Grade coffee. The specialty coffee sector currently accounts for close to 12% of international coffee markets. On regards to the local customer, coffee is the second most consumed beverage in Brazil, loosing only for water, and specialty consumption is growing fast and consistently in the country.

Strong initiatives, as the foundation of BSCA (Brazil Specialty Coffee Association) in 1991, seek to disseminate and stimulate technological improvement in the production, commercialisation and industrialisation of specialty coffee beans in Brazil, improving the quality and envisioning commercial opportunities. BSCA also aims to promote the environmentally sustainable development of the industry, certifying lots and monitoring specialty coffee quality control seals.

The coffee nation has 16 different producing regions, and the combination of flavors makes Brazil unique, complete and deliciously attractive to be explored. “Every season, we bring the farmer’s stories and passion from Brazil to Australia, simply because we believe that a coffee without a story is just a meadow without flowers. It misses an important part. More than just coffee, we are about people. We build relationships with coffee-growing communities and empower them to work with us, not for us. Specialty grade coffee carries the passion and dedication from those who plough the soil, picked and processed the ripe cherries. Quality comes into bump expenses and a blessed sweat.” Said Marcelo Brussi from Minas Hill Coffee.

James, from Disciple Roasters, told about the experiences he had when visiting farms in Brazil last year. “Now, every time I roast a coffee from Bom Jesus farm, I remember of Flavia and Gabriel, how passionate about coffee they are and how hard they’ve worked to produce this wonderful coffee that we are lucky to have in Australia. It is also a motivation for myself, to treat those coffee beans with the same care and respect, aiming to extract the very best coffee I can.”

For the future of the Specialty Coffee industry, and they have all agreed, it is crucial to invest in education and awareness of responsible sourcing and production. At the end of the day, we all need to learn to value this little and affordable luxury item: an excellent cup of delicious coffee.

Top Scorers Specialty Coffees from Brazil to be cupped in 3 cities in Australia

Minas Hill Coffee, a boutique green coffee beans reseller, will showcase some of its best samples of Brazilian Specialty coffee in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane.

The cupping sessions will be held in February and March 2017 and the top tier of Cup of Excellence (COE) winners, specialty micro-lots and other interesting Brazilian coffee initiatives will be tasted. “The partnership we have with farmers allows us to bring the true spirit of the labour and passion throughout the coffee chain – from the crop to the cup,” says Marcelo Brussi, director of Minas Hill Coffee.

All events are free and will be sanctioned by the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA) aiming to promote the best of Brazilian coffee. Roasters and coffee connoisseurs are welcome to join the cupping sessions and share the farmer’s stories from the world’s largest coffee producer.

  •  Melbourne:
    21st of Feb, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, The Cullen Hotel (164, Commercial Rd, Prahan, VIC 3181) | RSVP required HERE
  •  Perth:
    2nd of Mar, 5:45pm – 7:45pm, Black Matter Coffee Roasters (10/73 Walters Dr, Osborne Park, WA 6019) | RSVP required HERE
  •  Brisbane:
    9th of Mar, 5:45pm – 7:45pm, venue to be confirmed | RSVP required HERE

About Minas Hill Coffee:

Our origins began 102 years ago, when Francisco Brussi was born, in a coffee farm in the region where nowadays is known as Alta Mogiana. Francisco worked as a coffee picker along with his family who had just years before, migrated from Italy. Later, Francisco was employed by the Agricultural Department of Sao Paulo State, as a coffee classifier utilizing his expertise to achieve excellence in his career. He remained in this position for 35 years until his retirement.

Mr Brussi was the inspiration for his grandson Marcelo Brussi, who in 2013 founded an enterprise in a distant land. Minas Hill Coffee, and once and for all, showcases to the Australian market the reason why Brazil is considered one of the best countries to grow specialty coffee.

A message from our partner in Western Australia

In 2017, Minas Hill Coffee is committed to once again bring the best of Brazilian Specialty coffee to Australia and continue building strong relationships. Here is what our clients say about us:

“Minas Hill Coffee has been a great addition to the WA market recently as it provides high grade specialty Brazilian coffee to suit a range of purposes. The ongoing coffees are reliable, consistent, high quality and well-priced due to the long and established reputation that Minas Hill has as a supplier of specialty Brazilian coffee. As well as the great selection of ongoing coffees it is always exciting to cup and roast the seasonal lots and microlots that are sourced by the Minas Hill team on a seasonal basis. There are always some absolute crackers!

An added advantage of working with Minas Hill coffee is that amazing Brazilian specialty coffee is warehoused locally in Perth. As a Perth roaster, getting access to great coffees with short turnaround and without the cost of freight is always very challenging. I know with Minas Hill coffees I can quickly and cost efficiently access coffees that will play a role in my roasting program and be loved by customers.
However, undoubtedly the most important benefit for me is the close relationships and transparency that Minas Hill has established with selected farmers at origin. Minas Hill is the only supplier I’m aware of in Perth who has such a close bond with farmers. As a small roaster, this is the closest I can come to creating direct purchase relationships. It was an honour to meet Ismael Andrade, the owner of Sao Silvestre farm himself, in my roastery last year.”
– Tristan Fraser from Black Matter Coffee Roasters and Rep

Check out the current coffee list available in Perth bellow:
For more information about ongoing coffees, lots and micro-lots contact marcelo@minashill.com.au.

Coffee Cupping in Melbourne!

Our first 2017 crop cupping has been performed on the 24th of November, presenting some of the new coffees Minas Hill Coffee will be showcasing in 2017.
Our principles, applied to the same quality driven mentality, is putting Minas Hill Coffee as the most reliable supplier of all Brazilian coffees’ needs in Australia.
This coming year, Minas Hill Coffee is bringing more lots from our ongoing suppliers – “Sao Silvestre”; “Bom Jesus” and “Santo Antonio” farms and a bigger range of microlots, from the best producing regions.
The efforts of visiting new farms last September in 3 different regions in Brazil is adding more flavours and possibilities to the roasters. Now, they can thrive in their recipes or shining showcasing the microlots.
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Curious about the coffees cupped in November?  CLICK HERE to open the coffee list!
For more information, please contact marcelo@minashill.com.au

Minas Hill Coffee arrives in Queensland

Our History

Minas Hill Coffee is proud to offer what Brazilian Specialty coffee industry has in its best. Our origins began 102 years ago, when Francisco Brussi was born, in a coffee farm in the region where nowadays is known as Alta Mogiana.

Francisco worked in the coffee farm as a coffee picker along with his family who had just years before, migrated from Italy. That was a hard time for all his family, and the coffee farm soon wasn’t able to provide nourishment for the family.

Soon Francisco was employed by the Agricultural Department of Sao Paulo State, as a coffee classifier utilizing his expertise to achieve excellence in his career.  Francisco remained in this position for 35 years until his retirement.

Francisco was my inspiration to start an enterprise in a distant land, and once and for all, showcasing to the Australian market, why Brazil is considered one of the best countries to grow specialty coffee.

Coffee farm in Sao Paulo, 1913plantacao-antiga

Brazil and the Specialty Coffee scenario

Brazil is the largest coffee producer accounting for more than 50% of all coffee produced. It is also the largest producer of Specialty Grade coffee.

The specialty coffee sector currently accounts for close to 12% of international coffee markets. The quality characteristics attributed to these coffees depend on a wide array of factors, ranging from physical traits, origin, varieties, colour, and size, to environmental and social issues, such as farming systems and working conditions for labourers.

The current price of some specialty coffees is 30% to 40% above that of conventionally grown coffee and, in some cases, may be over 100% higher. Gourmet and certified coffees can be identified by their physical and sensorial traits, such as the cup quality, which must exceed the standard quality. The main categories of specialty coffees are:

Coffee with certificates of origin

This certificate pertains to the region in which the coffee was grown, since some quality attributes are inherent to specific regions.

Gourmet coffee

Consists of high-quality beans of Arabica coffee with a screen size greater than 16. This product is set apart from others and is almost free of defects. (BSCA website)

BSCA

The Brazil Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA) was founded in 1991 through the initiative of 12 producers who looked beyond their time, envisioning the commercial opportunities that investing in quality would bring.

It is a non-profit association that brings together people and companies in the internal and external specialty coffee markets, seeking to disseminate and stimulate technological improvement in the production, commercialization and industrialization of these products, in addition to promoting, mainly in the coffee areas, environmental preservation and the environmentally sustainable development through programs, projects and partnerships with public or private, domestic or foreign, entities.

The objective of BSCA is, through research, to spread of quality control techniques and promote products, to elevate the standards of excellence of Brazilian coffees offered in the internal and external markets. Nevertheless, it is the only Brazilian institution to certify lots and monitor specialty coffee quality control seals, with comprehensive tracking via individual numbering, which can be consulted by the consumer through the site (www.bsca.com.br).

Beyond Lots and Micro-lots

Minas Hill Coffee has been in the foremost of Brazilian Specialty Coffee scenario in Melbourne. We have been able to bring outstanding coffees and forming partnerships between the roaster and the farmer. Consistency is the key word and we deliver consistent quality all year round.

We understand the importance of a constant supply, especially in the Specialty Grade scenario. Therefore, strong partnerships with farmers are more consistent than with cooperatives and Minas Hill Coffee focus in the type of partnership which gives the roasters, the peace they need to discover new flavours.