Minas Gerais is the largest coffee region in Brazil, accounting for nearly half the country’s production. In fact, the state has been one of the three main contributors to Brazil’s coffee production since the 1820s, along with Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo.
It is also a main source for Brazilian specialty coffee, with a coffee-growing range of 1.22 million hectares recorded in 2017. Minas Gerais’s variety of microclimates and altitudes helps produce several types of high-quality coffees.
Coffee Production in Minas Gerais
There are several main coffee-producing regions in Minas Gerais.
The Sul de Minas (also known as South of Minas) produces about one-third of the country’s coffee. Most of the producers there are small-scale farmers. Sul de Minas has a medium altitude (950 m) and a mild annual temperature. The main varietals are Catuai and Mundo Novo, with a significant presence of Icatu, Obata and Catuai Rubi.
Cerrado Mineiro is a large coffee region in Minas Gerais. It is the first region in Brazil to receive the protected Designation of Origin, granting it a similar stature to famous wine-producing regions. Its farms range from medium-sized to large estates. Coffees are grown at 800 –1,300 metres. Its well-defined seasons, with hot and humid summer and mild and dry winter, is a feature of this region.
Mantiqueira de Minas is is a mountainous region located in the southern part of the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. It is considered as one of the most prized regions in Brazil for producing quality coffees.
In 2011, Montequeira de Minas earned the recognition as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) region, for producing specialty coffees with its own unique taste profile due to its unique terroir. Geographical Indication (PGI) is a form of protection to a region known to have a product whose features are fundamentally due to the particular place.
Mantiqueira de Minas coffees are known for their floral and citrus notes, dense and creamy body, with medium-bright acidity and a long sweet finish.
Matas de Minas has an undulating landscape and is characterized by a mild climate. Most of the farms are family-owned, where coffees are grown on mountain farms with altitudes between 600 – 1,200 metres. Common varietals are Catuaí and Mundo Novo.