Minas Hill on the importance of long-standing relationships in the supply chain

Minas Hill celebrates its 10-year partnership with the Bom Jesus farm and discusses the importance of long-standing relationships in the supply chain.

One of the first partnerships Minas Hill embarked on was with the Bom Jesus farm, located in the Alta Mogiana region of Brazil.

Commencing in 2013, Minas Hill Sales Manager Clara Santaera says the green bean specialty coffee buyer committed to partnering with the Brazilian farm after seeing its shared values.

“It was important for us to partner with a farm such as Bom Jesus because of their social, environmental, and sustainability approach to coffee. And for Bom Jesus, it isn’t just about coffee, it’s about providing a better life and future for their employees,” Clara says.

“What I really admire most about them is their initiatives to help the lives of the people who work on the farm and their children, to further their education and make sure that they’re getting all the opportunities they deserve in life. I think it’s really amazing and admirable.”

One such initiative includes the Intermunicipal Games for the Environment (GIMA), which educates and assists approximately 2000 children per year. Children from the schools

surrounding the Bom Jesus farm prepare presentations focused on the environment and compete in games designed to raise awareness about social responsibility.

“It’s important for us to partner with a farm like that so we can stand out in the industry. [We want] roasters to know that we’re not just about roasting coffee, we take sustainability seriously and value social projects and the community,” says Clara.

“Not to mention, the Bom Jesus farm is well-loved within the roasting community. As we build our relationships with roasters, and they get involved with GIMA, they see not just great quality coffee, but an amazing family-owned farm who is so dedicated to giving back to the community in their land.”

Due to this long-standing working relationship, Clara says Minas Hill’s alliance with Bom Jesus is one of its strongest partnerships.

“They heavily supported us throughout the pandemic. They provided us with ongoing supply when Brazil lost 40 per cent of their crop due to drought and frost. They were able to meet our needs, even as supply and demand was volatile in Australia. Without them, I don’t think we would have been able to get through the pandemic like we did,” she says.

Bom Jesus’ ongoing assistance throughout the calamities of the last few years is why it’s important for Minas Hill to reciprocate that dedication.

“We provide support to the farm through our dedication to their social projects. We’re committed to fundraising for GIMA every year, which is one of the biggest social projects in the coffee industry in Brazil,” she says.

“Since I started working here in 2018, our volume purchased has continuously grown, thanks to the farm’s quality, commitment, and transparency, and outstanding social and environmental projects. Our customers feel safe in buying Bom Jesus or Labareda coffees because they know they’re receiving top quality, whenever they need it. Roasters need security too, and Gabriel and his family have always delivered their full commitment to us.”

Clara says one of the benefits of working with a farm for so long is that the professional relationship can grow stronger, which has allowed the green bean trader to diversify its offerings with Bom Jesus.

“Originally our best-selling coffee in Australia was the Bom Jesus coffee, until we were approached by roasters who wanted something a little more competitive in price with the same high-quality taste. After conveying this to Bom Jesus, they came back to us with a regional coffee called Labareda Regional, which is now the best-selling coffee at Minas Hill. But Bom Jesus is still unbeatable in quality,” she says.

Minas Hill has a three-tier offering of Bom Jesus coffees.

“We have a high end, single origin seasonal lot, which is the Bom Jesus coffee that fulfils a portion of our clients and the market. Then we have the Labareda Regional, which satisfies the bulk of our consumers and is what we call the ‘bread and butter’ coffee for roasters,” Clara says.

“Labareda Regional was a game changer for us because it was the moment that we were recognised not just for the ability to deliver great single origin coffees and high-end microlots, but to deliver a solid coffee that was great for blending.

“Finally, we have the Labareda Terroir coffee, which is another great blender with a traditional Brazilian profile.”

Clara says Minas Hill also supports the farm by investing in its award- winning Alta Mogiana region microlots.

“While we don’t obtain microlots from them often, when we do they blow our minds, they’re incredible, some of the best in our history.”

She adds that it’s important the company sources high-quality specialty coffees from the best regions of Brazil that are unique, ethical, and sustainable.

“The farm itself is self-sustainable. They have their own recycling system for grain washing, which permits minimum water consumption with water that’s treated before returning to the environment. They also recycle coffee pulp as fertilisers for their crops and plant dozens of trees to offset carbon,” Clara says.

These initiatives represent Minas Hill’s same commitment to the preservation of the environment, one that the company will continue to advocate for.

“We’ve seen sustainability become a trend recently in Australia and around the world, but we’ve been pioneering sustainability from the beginning. We know that if we don’t diversify with climate change, then we won’t have a coffee industry.

“It’s critically important that we partner with people who align with our vision of an ecological future.”

Clara says Minas Hill hopes to help Bom Jesus achieve its goal of becoming one of the best producers and traders of agricultural commodities in terms of efficiency and profitability.

“The Bom Jesus farm is unique because of their initiatives and the value that they place on their employees, and we want to emphasise that,” she says.

“To know that they give their employees every chance to succeed by providing medical insurance, the opportunity to study and understand how to conserve the ecosystem and neutralise emissions, that’s changing the world, one person at a time.”

(Article courtesy of Bean Scene Magazine Aug 2022 Edition)