For our second episode of Reports From The Field we’ve got Augusto Borges of Capadócia Coffee. Augusto is a fourth-generation coffee farmer from the Mantiqera de Minas region of Brazil, who’s known to produce some of the region’s best coffee. We’ve been working with Augusto for over five years and each year, his coffees are a highlight on our menu. Not only does Augusto produce delicious coffee, but he also has a strong interest in creating a better future for the generations to come, evident through a recent project where he converted his dry mill to solar power. Somehow, amongst his busy schedule, Augusto has written us a first-hand account of what it’s like growing coffee in Brazil in 2022. We think it’s a really great read, pop the kettle on.
Hello, friends of Coffee Supreme, my name is Augusto Borges, today I will tell you a little bit about our history and the main challenges in the production of specialty coffee here in Brazil.
I'm from the fourth generation of coffee growing in our family and the only one who has continued in coffee growing on both sides of my family. We've lived on the farm since 2007 and in 2010, we started working with specialty coffee, changing and breaking family paradigms. Because by the way, no one knew what specialty coffee was. Our property was called Fazenda Fortaleza until 2013 but there were a lot of farms with the same name, so we decided to change it to Capadócia — we like flying a lot and the hot air balloons that you often see in Cappadocia, inspire us.
When you drink a small cup of specialty coffee you can feel how great this coffee world is. In recent years the farm has grown more than 100%, with all the money we earn, we reinvest in the property by increasing production and making new partners. In this journey, our first challenge was to choose our partners, so that was our main challenge: we want to produce, but to whom are we going to sell?
Partnerships like the one we have with Coffee Supreme have helped us to produce quality coffee because it means we practically have a guaranteed sale. We have been working with Coffee Supreme since 2017 and this year, we will celebrate five years of our partnership. This consistency in the relationship is one of the main things for the sustainability of production.
In coffee growing, there are three major challenges: our first challenge today is climate change — it has drastically interfered with production. The second challenge is the high fertiliser costs. Brazil is not self-sufficient in fertilisers; we depend on the import of fertilisers from the rest of the world. The third challenge is labour, it’s scarce and few people want to work in the field.
To overcome these challenges, we have adopted sustainable practices to reduce the impact on the environment. These problems will not be solved overnight but in the long term, for the next generations.
We have already adopted more ecological measures (such as solar panels) in the production of coffee that have given good results. In the case of fertiliser, our property has increasingly invested in compound fertiliser, which is made right here in Brazil using cow and chicken manure. We now have more options, but we have also been faced with high costs.
Speaking a little bit now about the rural exodus, the lack of labour, I have shown my son that coffee growing is viable and sustainable. When we talk about sustainability we are not only talking about the environment but also economic, social and environmental sustainability. It’s about having access to schools, to the internet, and how to have a good car to be able to take a ride with the family. We need to have a good house to be able to live on the farm, coffee production has brought this sustainability.
Today, our greatest pleasure in working with coffee beyond production is meeting people around the world. I never imagined being able to travel and make friends worldwide. Coffee has brought us relationships that we have never expected. Today we can talk to our partners on the other side of the world at any time. The speed of information and transparency connected us, made us closer. Coffee brings you that, these stories, these relationships and it's a motivation for us to produce even more, here at Capadócia.
We are launching a project to plant trees, we have to be not only a coffee producer but also a water producer because water is life. We need to teach this to the next generations, we have to preserve the environment, we have to align coffee production with forest production, we have to produce forests, produce water, and produce oxygen.
Today we are getting to know the world through coffee, something that my father and grandparents did not have the opportunity to do so. I’m showing this to my son, he is starting to participate in the coffee events here in Brazil, showing this road of the coffee farm, the special way of specialty coffee, so it will encourage him to stay here at Capadócia.
Learn more about Capadócia—