A relationship that turns out to be solid, year after year, especially when it spans the globe is something special. We’ve been buying from SanCoffee in Brazil since 2012, and we’re looking forward to continued involvement—so let’s get to know this steady relationship better!

Brazil is built for relationships

Brazil is the coffee economic powerhouse of the world and, while it lacks the high altitudes many other growing regions around the world enjoy, they more than make up for it with their amazingly efficient operations, organised production lines and the application of precision agronomy and processing. Not many countries can match the scale of production, the volumes produced and the consistency delivered. Applying good business practices, both with the coffee production and the profitability for the farm, means relationships with producing groups can be beautifully stable—but don’t mistake that for low-quality commercial green or “boring” coffees!

SanCoffee and friends

SanCoffee is a producer group based in Santo Antônio do Amparo, located in southern Minas Gerais, Brazil. Comprised of over 20 fazendas (estates), many of whom are well known in their own right; often placing in the Brazil Cup of Excellence. Some of these estates might even ring a bell—Samambaia, Bom Jardim, Guariroba, Taquaral and Lagoa to name a few!

So SanCoffee is a COLLECTIVE and the estates supply coffee that SanCoffee then mills and exports, right? Kinda.

Most coffee is sold through SanCoffee, but estates also have the option of selling their coffee separately. For example, Henrique Dias Cambraia is the president of SanCoffee and the family owner of Fazenda Samambaia. He supplies to SanCoffee but keeps some lots separate to sell as Samambaia, and has recently been experimenting with processing methods which we have purchased directly from him. Several of these lots are featured both at MICE and in our Limited Release program—examples of estate coffees sourced at a higher quality scale.

How SanCoffee benefits estates

Short answer: more resources and shared knowledge

SanCoffee has a centralised lab, warehouse and dry mill, as well as a dedicated team of Q Graders who manage the quality for all the member estates. Working as a group through the central lab enables estates to share and gain from the collective’s many years of combined experience. More so, having total control of their warehouse and dry mill enables complete traceability and precise milling specifications for customers. The specialty-grade coffee comes into the warehouse where samples are kept and profiles noted. There are shelves on a giant wall in the cupping lab where each estate’s name is listed, along with descriptions of the various coffees they offer. From here, companies like us work with the lab and choose the coffees that best fulfil the taste profiles we are looking for.

As these estates are run like small factories, technology and agronomy have become key to maintaining quality. You’ll find some of the team working closely with the IAC (Instituto Agronômico de Campinas), a coffee research institute in Brazil. In a meticulously kept nursery, different coffee varieties, not yet used commercially, are grown and evaluated. SanCoffee has also moved to store all their coffee in giant polypropylene bags. One of these large bags can house about 60 normal jute bags. The benefits of this are two-fold; it reduces the storage space needed and is made of much better material for storing coffee—the polypropylene bags are firmly woven together, giving just a bit of breathability.

Beyond the benefits already listed, SanCoffee as a collaborative export partnership has managed to mitigate the influence of a dangerously low market price. In most cases, premiums to growers are 30-50% higher than both the local and C price market rates. SanCoffee and its members continue to mobilise and collaborate to strengthen the ability of its members to sell at above local market rates, in turn championing economic sustainability.

How SanCoffee impacts people positively

A producer group that can provide consistently large volumes of coffee alongside some innovative and award-winning smaller lots is every coffee buyer’s dream! SanCoffee and the member estates, supply the backbone of some well-loved house blends, but this isn’t the only reason we love our partnership with SanCoffee.

Just like us, SanCoffee is B Corp-certified and shares a like-minded vision to positively impact their local community. This drive has been further solidified by their recent achievement of winning SCA’s 2024 Sustainability Award. Here’s what they had to say about this win.

“SanCoffee has been building a unique business model since its inception in 2001, therefore this award is a great way to recognize all the efforts made over the years. It is a great feeling of achievement that also sends a strong signal to the community and motivates producers to continue on this journey, creating more value and improving our social and environmental footprint.”

Impact Committee

To better coordinate and expand their actions in environmental and social areas, an Impact Committee has been created by Sancoffee. The committee is formed by member coffee growers and will integrate actions across different farms as well as design projects aimed at the conservation of nature. Furthermore, this will provide development opportunities for the Santo Antônio do Amparo surrounding communities.

See below for some small examples of the types of projects the Impact Committee helps facilitate.

Beyond Borders Program

Wanting to have a greater social impact on neighbouring smallholder farms, SanCoffee initiated the Beyond Borders program. This program provides tools to smallholders for market access, increased technical knowledge and sensory support.

  • 3 communities
  • 157 families

Environmental Excellence Program

A program to preserve the nature and rich biodiversity of Campo das Verentes through recovering deteriorated land with seedlings, planting native trees and protecting water sources.

  • 5,058ha preserved vegetation
  • 265 protected springs
  • 116,828 plated trees
  • 3 recovered gullies

Educational Program

SanCoffee works to provide education and training opportunities to various parts of the community; they support local public child day care centres and co-host several professional training courses for the youth. In addition, they share their vast coffee knowledge with workshops aimed at coffee growers and farm workers.

  • 127 trainer workers
  • 16 courses on average per year
  • 3 public institutions
  • 175 benefited children

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