In the southeast of Brazil is the province of Minas Gerais, where the Fazenda Rio Brilhante farm is located in the Pântano region. The founder of the plant, Inácio Urban, is of German origin and came to the Pântano area from the south of Brazil with a vision of new opportunities. He bought his first plots of land at a good price and started growing coffee on 20 hectares, as he says, “to learn how to grow coffee.” He gradually bought more land and expanded the farm to its present size. Since 2006, his children Erika and Fernando have been helping him run the farm.
Today, the farm covers 1,600 hectares, and the average annual coffee production is 130,000 bags. The farm is divided into 45 sectors separated by tall trees. Each sector, therefore, provides its own distinctive microclimate.
The Fazenda Rio Brilhante farm has won many awards in the field of coffee production and agriculture: second place in the Imaflora – Rainforest Alliance and third in the Cerrado Mineiro regional competition. In 2020, it received the Ethics and Discoverability Award for its development and participation in programs for educating people, saving the environment, and responsible agriculture.
Harvesting on the Fazenda Rio Brilhante farm is mostly done with a special coffee harvester. The precise calibration of this machine helps to determine the quality and ripeness of the coffee cherries, which helps to make the coffee uniform and consistent. After harvesting, the coffee cherries go to a station where they are sorted according to the density of the beans: the densest and highest quality beans are separated and then fermented and dried with extra care.
Red Bourbon is a tall variety of coffee beans, characterized by its relatively low production and susceptibility to disease and pests but with excellent quality and taste. Bourbon was introduced from Yemen to Brazil around 1860, and from there, it quickly spread north to other parts of South and Central America, where it is still grown today.
There, the variety was mixed with other Bourbon-related varieties introduced from India, as well as Ethiopian varieties. Today, many varieties are similar to Bourbon in East Africa, but none are exactly like the original Bourbon variety found in Latin America.