Sitio Monte Alto

Roasted hazelnut, dark chocolate and raisin, full body and pleasant aftertaste.

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  • Country: Brazil
  • Region: Sul de Minas, Minas Gerais
  • Town: Caldas
  • Farm: Sítio Maranhão
  • Owner: José Messias Delgado
  • Processing: Pulped Natural
  • Altitude: 1,175 Metres above sea level
  • Varietal: 100% Icatu

Sitio Monte Alto is absolutely steeped in coffee tradition. The Ribeiro do Valle family has long dedicated their lives to the production of fine coffee, and after 136 years, it’s no surprise that they’ve perfected the art.

The farm’s first coffee plantations were established around 1880 and were planted by the current owner’s first ancestor to settle in the region. Brazil’s Minas Gerais region is famous for its coffee and the southern part of the state, with its mountainous relief and fertile soils, is ideal for coffee. These same hills, however, at least 70% of the harvest and other labours on the farm must be completed by hand. Machine pickers, which are ubiquitous throughout Brazil, simply can’t handle the majority of the slopes! While this makes agricultural work more costly to complete, it has the benefit of providing jobs to local families, of whom more than thirty live and work in the property.

While tradition is important, the Ribeiro do Valle family recognises that innovation is key to sustaining high quality coffee production. As such, they’ve made many improvements to the farm in recent years. Some of these developments include installing brand new coffee washers and dryers, which has significantly reduced water consumption on the farm and has improved coffee quality by standardising drying practices. The old drying patio has been transformed into a beautiful garden in front of the house, and work on the new patio has just begun. The new drying patio will be double the size of the old one and is located at a higher altitude, with access to sun the whole morning and afternoon.

In addition, more than 30% of Sitio Monte Alto is reserved as an environmental conservation zone. The jewel of this area is a huge Jequitibá tree – a native species – which is estimated to be over 1,000 years old. This enormous tree is not only one of the farm’s most remarkable spots but also is the centrepiece to a story that has become something of a family guiding principle.