Brazil: Sitio Baixadão

SKU: bra38 Category:



Brazil (Mantiqueira de Minas)
Farmer: Helisson Afonso da Silva & family
Varietal: Yellow Bourbon
Processing: Pulped Natural
Altitude: 1350 MASL
Tasting notes: Dark chocolate, hazelnut & molasses
Roast: Dark

Helisson Afonso da Silva, owner of Sitio Baixadão, follows in the footsteps of his father, Sebastião Afonso da Silva, who placed first in the 2015 Cup of Excellence Naturals competition. Helisson learned coffee cultivation and a love of the specialty world from his father and continues to strive to produce the highest quality coffee possible.


Together the family manages small properties in Cristina, a city located in the Mantiqueira de Minas region. The region’s high elevation, fertile soil and well-defined seasons create the ideal environment for cultivating dense, sweet cherry. Sitio Baixadão also holds the Denomination of Origin seal, which guarantees the quality and the origin of this lot.

The Silva family also cultivates Yellow Bourbon, Yellow and Red Catuaí, and Acaiá varieties.

Helisson uses intercropping techniques to nourish the soil and protect growing coffee. One such technique is planting nabo-forreageiro (raphanus sativus), a nitrogen-fixing plant that provides a number of ecological benefits for coffee. In addition to fixing nitrogen for coffee plants, nabo-forrageiro also provides food (from its pollen) for the natural enemies of mites that threaten coffee trees. It also mains water in the soil during times of drought and lowers the soil temperature when it’s hot.

They also receive agronomic support from COCARIVE (Cooperativa Regional dos Cafeicultores do Vale do Rio Verde).

Harvest & Post-Harvest

Unusually for Brazil, cherry is selectively handpicked at Sítio Baixadão. Cherry is delivered to the farm’s processing center and pulped. Parchment and remaining mucilage is laid to dry on patios. While sun drying, parchment is carefully monitored and turned frequently. In inclement weather, a mechanical dryer may be used to ensure an ideal moisture level. Once dry, parchment rests on the farm before being transported to COCARIVE’s warehouse where it is prepared for export.

Coffee in Brazil

Just under 40% of all coffee in the world is produced in Brazil – around 3.7 million metric tons annually. With so much coffee produced, it’s no wonder that the country produces a wide range of qualities. Brazil produces everything from natural Robusta, to the neutral and mild Santos screen 17/18, to the distinctive Rio Minas 17/18. In recent years, Brazilian producers have also begun investing more heavily in specialty coffee production. Through our in-country partners in Brazil, including our sister company, we are able to provide a wide range of Brazilian coffees to our clients: from macrolot to microlot.

Today, the most prolific coffee growing regions of Brazil are Espirito Santo, São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia. Most Brazilian coffee is grown on large farms that are built and equipped for maximizing production output through mechanical harvesting and processing. The relatively flat landscape across many of Brazil’s coffee regions combined with high minimum wages has led most farms to opt for this type of mechanical harvesting over selective hand-picking.

In the past, mechanization meant that strip-picking was the norm; however, today’s mechanical harvesters are increasingly sensitive, meaning that farms can harvest only fully ripe cherries at each pass, which is good news for specialty-oriented producers.

In many cases and on less level sections of farms, a mixed form of ‘manual mechanized’ harvesting may be used, where ripe coffee is picked using a derriçadeira – a sort of mechanized rake that uses vibration to harvest ripe cherry. A tarp is spanned between coffee trees to capture the cherry as it falls.

With the aid of these newer, more selective technologies, there’s a growing number of farms who are increasingly concerned with – and able to deliver – cup quality.

Additional information


8oz / 227g, 2lb / 907g


Whole bean, Filter, French Press, AeroPress, Moka Pot, Espresso