STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 4, Number 6

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 7 of 67

8 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 6, 2015 (December/January) Keeping a Sharp Eye Immediately after Antonio Rigno de Oliveira accepted the top prize at the Cup of Ex- cellence ceremony in Pocos de Caldas Brazil we asked what led to his win. Oliveria, an older man with the rough hands and weathered face of a coffee farmer, looked directly and pointed his index and middle fingers at his own. He is saying that he keeps a "close eye" on the trees, the interpreter explained. Oliveria's 36 hectare farm, Chaçará São Judas Tadeu, is located in Piatã, in the state of Bahia, a region 1,000 kilometers north of the more famous Minas Gerais where most of Brazil's coffee is harvested. This year 5 of the top 15 coffees in the competition, all with cupping scores in the high 80s, and low 90s were from Bahia. It is the second year in a row that coffee growers in the far north dominated the competition. Oliveria's son-in-law Vladimir, winner of last year's pulped naturals competition, took 2nd place, a neighbor took 8th, and Olivera's wife Zora finished 12th. Three of the other top winners are from farms in Paraná, 1,500 kilometers south of Minas. First and foremost these awards are a testament to the skills of the farmers. But they also point to a matter of great concern. The coffee friendly weather of Minas Gerais is changing. Researchers in the science journal Plos One recently published a de- tailed report (see pg. 8) naming the coffee zones most vulnerable to rising temperatures worldwide. The study predicts that half the land currently suitable for arabica will not sustain the crop by 2050. The greatest loss will be in dry regions like Minas where nearly 80% of the land will become unsuitable for coffee. High altitude coffee farms near the equator will be less harmed. Lands nearer the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer may benefit. In Minas uncertain rainfall, unusual weather patterns, and high heat have replaced the once feared black frost that last visited in 1994, reducing the following year's har- vest by 50-80%. Yields are in decline and coffee quality has suffered. Luiz Roberto Saldanha Rodrigues, director at Capricornio Coffees, told us he is planting in the more temperate belt at 23 o South latitude and "thinking different about quality." Growers could also plant new trees 300 to 500 meters higher up the hill. Edgard Bressani practices yet another approach. Like Oliveria he is keeping a close eye on the six farms that make up O'Coffee Brazilian Estates but Bressani is using sat- ellites, drones, and a sophisticated geographical information system (see pg. 32). During the past four harvests he has wrested some of the uncertainties from nature to insure quality beans for his chain of Octavia coffee shops. Every hectare of his 1,000-hectare farm has been surveyed to determine soil com- position, nutritional requirements, and moisture available to trees. Bressani irrigates to insure good flowering and he plants many varieties of trees to take full advantage of micro-climates and terroir. He monitors yield by section. Results of the soil analysis and deficiencies common to each hectare are noted in the GIS database. He leaves little to chance. Dispensers towed by tractors driving the rows between trees automatically adjust the amount of fertilizer that is spread based on their precise location and the needs of the trees. Drones identify the distinctive color of rust or signs of weakness. Ill trees are pinpointed using GPS coordinates and treated or removed. While climate change presents a formidable challenge, the ingenuity of coffee pro- fessionals is up to the task. Publisher/Founding Editor Glenn Anthony John Managing Editor Dan Bolton Art Director Somjait Thitasomboon Global Tea Report Jane Pettigrew Global Coffee Report Jenny Neill Contributing Writers Anne-Marie Hardie Sherri Johns (North America) Alf Kramer (Europe) Sunalini Menon (India) Frank J. Miller Thomas Schmid Dan Shryock Kelly Stein (South America) Translations (Chinese) Helen Xu Fei Sales Director Emerson Leonard Director, October Inter Co., Ltd. Boonthin Tubsongkroh STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International c/o October Inter Co. Ltd. Interchange 21 Bldg., 32nd Fl., Room 3225, 399 Sukhumvit Road, North Klong Toey, Wattana, Bangkok, 10110, Thailand Tel +66 2 660 3789 Fax +66 2 660 3881 Published by: A Member of: From the Editor © 2015 October Multimedia Co. Ltd., STiR Tea & Coffee Industry International is published bi-monthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December by October Multimedia Co. Ltd. Printing and distribution overseen by October Inter Co., Ltd., Interchange 21 Bldg. Fl 32, Rm 3225, 399 Sukhumvit Road, North Klong Toey, Wattana, Bangkok, 10110 THAILAND. Tel +66 2 660 3789. E-mail: Visit: for the latest news.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of STiR coffee and tea magazine - Volume 4, Number 6