New Dates Coming Soon / Metropolitan Pavilion
25 September 2017
Can large-scale farms be sustainable?

Short answer - yes.

The Brazilian farm Daterra Coffee proves that when these sustainable concepts become the roots of a management model, it is possible.
Located in Minas Gerais, Daterra is a big estate (sitting at 15320 acres) but has found ways to be completely sustainable and quality-oriented.
Daterra was, in fact, born out of a dream of making agriculture sustainably. The farm was conceived in the 1980s as the agricultural investment of a large chain of car repair services. The untraditional background meant that the minds behind Daterra had no prior tradition in coffee, this, in turn, meant learning everything from scratch and investing in research from day 1.
The secret is a management system designed for sustainability and quality. Only about 2,200 hectares of Daterra’s lands are plantation areas - the remaining land, over 50% of the entire estate, are environmental preservation areas of untouched nature. This huge plantation is divided into small mini-farms ranging from 13 to 38 acres and managed individually. Each mini-farm is equipped with monitors of moisture levels, rainfall, temperature and more – data that is gathered by a team of agronomists for accurate agronomic decisions.
In total, coffee cherries from over 500 small plots are cupped individually several times a year in the pre-harvest tastings. The quality team cups each plot before the harvesting begins to ensure the plot’s sensory profile will reach expectations. This helps the quality manager in two ways: first, by having a previous overview of where each coffee fits inside Daterra’s menu, and second, to make sure only fully mature plots are harvested.
The cherries are then processed at the Smart Coffee Processing Unit – a special wet mill that separates cherries into seven different maturation levels, all of which are handled differently. This system allows Daterra to create an array of flavors that would not be possible in regular processing methods and fill up their menu with a wider range of profiles.
In 2017, Daterra launched a smaller unit designed exclusively to process high-scoring microlots. This small farm-inside-a-farm is Daterra’s playground, where they can explore with unusual fermentation, processing, and drying. In 2016, a microlot sold in Daterra’s auction broke the price record in the history of Brazilian coffee.
The sustainable efforts in water treatment, soil recovery and wildlife preservation are certified by Rainforest Alliance, UTZ, ISO and referential universities that periodically audit the whole farm to assure maintenance and improvement. In 2015, a well-regarded agriculture magazine chose Daterra the most sustainable farm in Brazil.
The New York Coffee Festival is thrilled to have such innovative brands on board this year. Head up to The Village area during the festival to stop by and chat with Daterra about their mission of large-scale, sustainable coffee farming.

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