One of the highlights of our trip to Brazil last year was a visit to Rancho Sao Benedito. We toured the farm, tasted a lot of coffee and, after a fantastic home-cooked lunch, were treated to a dressage display by the family’s prized Mangalarga Marchador horses. It was the coffee we were most excited about, though, and as soon as we tasted this beautiful natural processed lot, we made an offer to purchase it.
Located in the Mantiqeira de Minas region of Brazil, Rancho Sao Benedito is owned by Mariana de Carvalho Junqueira, who inherited the property from her parents in 1954. Mariana quickly set about expanding the farm, dedicating more land to coffee cultivation, and also began investing in equipment for processing the coffee after harvest. Today, the surrounding properties are owned and operated by Mariana’s four children, with a central processing facility shared by all. Mariana’s son, Marcio Heleno manages the operations, but Mariana is still very much involved in the business.
The family philosophy focuses not only on producing high quality coffee, but also on environmental and social sustainability. New coffee seedlings are planted along topographic contour lines in order to protect the soil, and the use of a communal processing facility greatly reduces water and energy consumption. Farm workers live near the property, and all have access to local schools and health care, as well as job-safety equipment when necessary. This dedication to quality and sustainability is evident in the coffee that Rancho Sao Benedito produces: Since 2002, submissions from Sao Benedito have reached the finals of Brazil’s Cup of Excellence competition seven times.
Our Rancho Sao Benedito lot is comprised of natural process yellow catui grown at 1150 meters above sea level. This complex, yet straightforward and easy-drinking coffee is medium bodied with a texture reminiscent of apple cider. Bright green apple, papaya and dried mango are supported by sweet butterscotch pudding and hazelnut. The finish features hints of milk chocolate and toasted marshmallow. Rancho Sao Benedito is available for purchase from all three of our cafes as well as from our website.