Let us introduce you to a new series, Reports From The Field. A platform where coffee farmers and growers at origin, shed a little light on the ins and outs of what goes into growing, preparing, exporting and shipping quality coffee to this side of the world.
To kick off the series, we’ve got Felipe Croce, from Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (FAF) Coffees. FAF is known for growing and supplying some of Brazil’s finest green coffee, and that’s something that we can get behind. This year marks a decade of us sourcing coffee from and working alongside FAF. Year after year they’ve proven that a quality-driven, low volume approach with a focus on the environment is a sustainable and profitable business model.
Pop the kettle on and have a read and watch, Felipe’s got some pretty neat things to say.
Q. What’s your name and where are you based?
Felipe Barretto Croce. I’m based between our office in São Paulo and our farm Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza in Mococa, São Paulo in Brazil.
Q. How long have you been growing/producing/working in coffee?
I began my coffee career in 2007 while in college in the United States working at a roastery. I’ve been producing and exporting coffee since 2009 when I moved back to the farm after my studies.
Q. How long have you been working with Supreme?
Q. Like growing any produce, there are so many variables at hand. Naturally, this means there can be lots of challenges, too. What are the main challenges you’re facing at the moment?
Lately, the past couple of years have felt like a perfect storm. We have had the driest years on hand, back to back, as our dry season is becoming longer. We also had three frosts with severe cold fronts hitting our region last July. Peaks of temperatures are becoming more intense than expected. Just now, however, we are experiencing a rising cost of production due to a global shortage of fertilisers and increase in the cost of diesel.
Q. How’re you working to overcome them?
We have ongoing research and development on our farm with new varieties. We constantly study to find varieties that can better adapt to new climates while tasting better and better.
We are planting agroforestry systems that provide shade on hot summer days, collect nutrients from the air and may be provided to our soils through pruning techniques, and keeping fields protected from wind and soils covered using cover crops.
We make our own compost re-utilising all available on-farm and local organic material as well as plant cover crops to enrich our compost, making our compost less dependent on chicken and cow manure. All this, besides enriching the life in our soil, helps integrate the farm into a living and connected organism while reducing our cost and carbon footprint.
Q. What do you love most about growing and working with coffee?
As I get older I am beginning to cherish being around nature more and less in people-crowded environments. I’ve begun to view coffee fields like landscape gardens and I can spend countless hours enjoying how our effect on land can increase the beauty and biodiverse life. I’m fortunate to work with incredible roaster partners with long-term relationships. People I consider friends and keep a constant feedback loop to help us continue to improve. In the end, it can be reduced to something really simple, producing coffee that's delicious to drink.
Learn more about FAF —