Fazenda Cruzeiro is located in the Cerrado Mineiro region and benefits from up to 1800 to 2000mm/year of rainfall, which makes irrigation unnecessary. The rainy season always falls before May, which also guarantees perfect conditions for natural drying process.
Purchased in 2009 by Cláudio Ottoni, the farm started with 130 hectares planted under coffee. Today the coffee plantation has expanded to 200 hectares. The majority of their land is planted under Red Catuaí 144 variety, which composes some 80% of Fazenda Cruzeiro’s total production; other varieties that are cultivated include Mundo Novo Acaiá (15%) and Rubi (5%).
The Ottoni family always seeks to use the most sustainable growing practices and stewardship of the land. Over 140 hectares of the farm is devoted to wildlife preservation.
Additionally, the Cruzeiro Farm now works with no water waste and has implemented agroecological means of reducing and (in many cases) completely eliminating the use of herbicides. Some of these methods include planting plant species nearby the coffee trees that will attract and trap bugs and insects before they are able to infect the cherries.
Furthermore, the discarded coffee pulp produced during the de-pulping of coffee cherries is recycled as compost and applied to the coffee plants. This serves to re-invigorate soil fertility and to help the coffee plant absorb more water and nutrients.
The biggest innovation that Cruzeiro has implemented with regards to quality is the use of silo dryers in the processing of their coffee. These silos are commonly used for seeds and other grains and help control and manage the drying process. Their use in drying coffee has produced excellent results in the cup due to the slower drying process under controlled temperature, which increases uniformity and prevents over-fermentation. Furthermore, by using eucalyptus from the farm to fuel the fire for the drying process, Cruzeiro is able to reduce energy consumption by 60%.
Even more importantly, perhaps, the silo drying process doesn’t ‘kill’ the bean, meaning that the bean can be replanted after being dried. This ensures a longer storage life and promotes profile stability over a longer period of time. As Cláudio Ottoni has stated, “It is important to keep the coffee beans alive for a sweeter and cleaner cup.