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Coop. Guaxupe pursues quality in the heart of Brazil.

In the heart of the quality area of Brazil, in Sul de Minas, there are 6,000 farmers who form the Cooperativa Regional de Cafeicultores em Guaxupe and market most of their coffee through their organization. On average, they jointly produce 1.6 million bags (60 kilo green equivalent), which is roughly equivalent to the production of Ecuador or Kenya. The vast majority (75%) of the coop. members are small farmers, producing an average of 100 per year on an average farm of 8 hectares. The medium size farmers (21%), with an average of 32 ha. produce an average of 600 bags per year and the big farmers (4%), with 60 ha., produce an average of 1,700 bags per year.

This area of Brazil produces coffee of comparable quality to that grown near the equator at high altitude. This is because the local altitude (850 - 1000 meters) at the lower latitude (20/25) results in similar conditions to equatorial high altitude zones. An apt analogy is that just as permanent glaciers are found in Europe only high in the Alps, they are found in Antarctica at sea level.

In fact, being in a temperate zone often reduces the number of flowerings, which means that cherries mature at a more uniform rate. This is fortunate because the Brazilian method of strip harvesting inevitably means that there are green cherries gathered with the ripe ones. It is these greens that lower the quality of many Brazils, sometimes giving a taste of a newly mown lawn. This is not a characteristic of a high quality coffee.

In order to solve this problem the Coop. Guaxupe color sorts multiple times. The final sorts take out the greens.

A local machinery manufacturer has developed a machine designed to allow the farmer to separate greens from ripe cherries before the coffee is delivered to the warehouse for export processing. The Coop., through many of its members, is running extensive tests with this new machine during this crop (92/93). An additional benefit of the machine is that it rejects semi-ripe cherries, cherries which in time will ripen, similar to most other fruits. This means that the farmer can reprocess his rejects and recover a percentage of them.

Using color sorters, Coop. Guaxupe is producing an average of 500,000 bags of gourmet quality coffee, which is acceptable to quality conscience European roasters. Of that 500,000 bags, 150,000 are of speciality quality, being of higher quality than European Prep. Recognizing that both of these qualities are the areas of growth, especially in North America, every effort is being made to increase the percentage of higher qualities.

An interesting development of the upgrading by roasters of the more traditional North American blends is the increase of sales to all North American roasters by the Coop. Guaxupe. Many of those roasters, as well as the traditional European customers, are increasingly receiving their coffee in bulk. Operations director Arthur Caldeira has developed a bulk loading system that is extremely efficient. This means that coffee can be bulked at the warehouse in Guaxupe and unloaded into the customer's silo in the consuming country.

It is a high quality product that the Coop. Guaxupe is selling to highly discerning customers in Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and now North America. Export director Joachim Leite is convinced that the future of Coop. Guaxupe is in the further development of higher qualities since many established blends are being upgraded from their normal standard and because super premium is being used for specialty blends. Coop. Guaxupe has been a traditional and consistent supplier of both types of coffee for more than 15 years.

Cooperativa Regional de Cafeicultores em Guaxupe Ltda. is located at: Rua Manoel Joaquim Magalhaes Gomes, 400, 37800 Guaxupe MG. Tel: (55)(35)551-4000; Tx: 357256; Fax: (55)(35)551-3119.
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Title Annotation:Cooperativa Regional de Cafeicultores em Guaxupe
Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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