For our third episode of Reports From The Field, we've got Andre Luiz Garcia of Jaguara Coffee. Based in Sul de Mas, São João del Re, Andre is a third-generation coffee farmer and has recently clocked 17 years as an agronomist engineer and coffee researcher. Having worked with Andre and Natalia (co-founder Jaguara Coffee) for 7 years now, Jaguara’s coffees are regulars on our menu.
Brazil, one of the world’s largest coffee-producing countries, has recently faced several challenging years: from droughts and frosts that have wiped out entire crops, to increased production costs and Covid-19 related challenges, it’s been a journey. As a result, Andre, Natalia and their team have created innovative ways to increase the quality and sustainable practices of their coffee production. You can read — and watch — more below.
Q. What’s your name and where are you based?
Our names are Natalia Brito & Andre Luiz Garcia. Our farm is based in Sul de Minas, São João del Rei and our lab is in Varginha.
Q. How long have you been growing/producing/working in coffee?
Our coffee story started with Andre’s great grandparents and Natalia's grandfather that is still alive and has worked with coffee for over 60 years. Andre is an agronomist engineer and coffee researcher of 17 years and Natalia has been a coffee trader and cupper for 13 years.
Q. How long have you been working with Supreme?
We have been working with Supreme for about 6-7 years now.
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?
It always has been a big challenge to produce as we can say we have a business with no roof and walls, we are totally dependent on the weather.
We have been facing a hard time with the drought and the frost in the last few years and our plants are still recovering from it. We started an organic project, that covers about 8 hectares, and in 2021 it was completely destroyed by the frost. We hope it won't happen but it can happen when we are planting coffee, therefore we need to be careful about costs and have a certain volume of coffee in case the market also goes down.
Price is another challenge and over the last few years what helped us is the direct trade relationship we have with our clients, such as with Coffee Supreme, that motivated us to produce each time more specialty and special preparation and received a premium, not following the C market.
Nowadays, the cost of production has increased so much in Brazil, and our plants are still recovering from the drought and frost, we have a higher cost for production, therefore our big challenge now, is to manage all those facts, but as we use to say, to produce coffee you need to think positive and have faith to be protected.
Q. How’re you working to overcome them?
We are trying to have the best management possible; using natural and organic material from the farm as a fertiliser, using pruning to let our plants rest for one year and then producing in the next year, avoiding chemicals and being as natural as possible. All of this will help us to have a balance between volume and cost of production.
Our relationship with our clients, seeing our coffee being enjoyed worldwide in a cup of coffee and reading about our story in other countries, warms our hearts, giving us faith and to be courageous.
Q. What do you love most about growing/working with coffee?
We meet people and make friends all over the world, each year is another opportunity to learn something, and we help many people and families to survive.