Luciana’s Microlot

“Luciana explained that for her microlot she used the so-called volcano drying method. That was a new processing method for us”
- Meine, Impact manager @ Wakuli

The first micro lot of 2024 is an exciting coffee from Luciana Flores. For the occasion, we talked to Luciana who is one of the producers within Coopervass - our long term cooperative partner in Brazil.

As an architect focused on sustainable construction, she had never worked in coffee farming before. When her father stopped farming in 2020 and passed away shortly after, Luciana took a giant leap at the age of 53, taking over the farm together with her brother. She entered into coffee farming using the same tools she gained as an architect - a holistic approach with a sharp eye for detail. From the start, Luciana had very little routine or deeply-rooted convictions holding her back from trying out new and interesting things when it comes to growing and processing her coffee. By being open-minded, innovative, and analytic she has managed to produce prize-winning coffee for three seasons in a row. 

How did it get this good?
This particular coffee was produced on a plot that was only recently planted. The low yield forced Luciana to give even more attention to picking and processing so that high quality could compensate for low volumes. Because these Arara trees, bearing beautiful bright yellow cherries, were still young and more frail, the harvest last year was done by hand. This contributed to the amazing homogeneity in ripeness. An interesting side effect is that this year the trees are bearing far more fruit than expected because they were treated with so much care. Every full cart of cherries (5000 liters) was dried separately in the patios. This gives Luciana and her farm manager the opportunity to assess the quality difference per batch and per day and to experiment with different methods of drying. 

For our microlot Luciana used the volcano drying method. During the day, the coffee is spread out in thin layers and at night, the coffee is piled up in volcano-shaped heaps to manage the temperature of the coffee for even drying and fermentation. 

“When the agronomic support officer from Coopervass visited our farm he was amazed by the smell the coffee produced. When he started tasting the drying cherries he was sure it would be a super high quality coffee.” And he was right: The coffee was entered into a national competition for female farmers throughout Brazil. And from the 3000 participants, Luciana ended amongst the best 100.

Quality in a broader sense
Her focus on sustainability resulted in a strong link between quality, processes, and taking care of the resources that deliver the coffee. That’s why Luciana is at the forefront of the green coffee project that Coopervass has initiated together with Wakuli to support farmers in moving towards regenerative production. The first phase is the use of organic fertilizer, as well as a mix of flowers and herbs between the coffee rows. Luciana and her brother have decided to convert grazing land that was part of the farm when her father still had cattle into a forested area.  Their approach is simple: nourish saplings that turn up in the area and let as many indigenous species of trees and plants flourish. And if all goes well they intend to plant coffee in between to experiment with the concept of forest coffee.

“In this way we create a forest landscape that reflects the natural landscape as much as possible. An additional advantage is that this landscape will be easier to manage than a more artificially designed or monoculture-forested area.”

Winning prizes and getting recognized for the quality of her coffee through this single-farmer micro lot makes Luciana visibly emotional. This is not very surprising. The coffee industry is still very traditional and male-dominated. You can imagine that it’s a tough environment for a female farmer who has no track record in the business, who comes from an urban background and who takes an environmentally-conscious approach. 

So in short, our first micro lot of 2024 is the product of an eye for detail, a holistic and sustainable approach, and an openness to innovation. And on top of that, a lot of love.

Luciana’s Microlot