Australian coffee trader Minas Hill has launched the Rio Grande project, which sees the green bean trader buying unprocessed coffee from small producers on the border of Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo states.
The coffee is then processed in Ribeirao Corrente, São Paulo, bagged and sent to Australia, instead of Minas Hill buying the beans already processed.
“We want to promote an underexplored region, operating in a sustainable way that focuses on the producer,” says Marcelo Brussi, CEO of the South American Growers’ Association (SAGA) and Minas Hill.
“We have already managed to ship four containers through this project. Two of them are already sold to clients in Sydney and Melbourne, but the idea is to expand the project to more capitals in Australia.”
This project is classified under the SAGA brand, which was developed by Minas Hill to market regional or estate coffees.
Marcelo says at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, he had a vision to bring regional Brazilian coffee to the Australian market without losing its quality.
He says the region of Rio Grande, a state on the border of São Paulo and Minas Gerais immediately came to mind. Within this area, Minas Hill has existing close relationships with local farms, many of which focus on specialty coffees and micro-lots.
“I wanted to sell coffee that was tasty, high-quality, and would help small producers in the Rio Grande region,” says Marcelo. “Especially since we can pay an extra [amount] for these coffees that we typically don’t buy.”
The main focus of the Rio Grande project is on family farming. According to Marcelo, through Minas Hill giving small producers a chance to sell their produce sustainably, a link between the environment and the roasters in Australia is created.
The coffee from Rio Grande is always naturally processed and comes in a 30-kilogram size with a lining bag inside.