A Trip to Daterra Coffee in Minas Gerais, Brazil

As coffee professionals we tend to go to any lengths to find outstanding coffees. As was my almost 10,000 mile trip to a rural town nearly 500 miles Northwest of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

You may ask …isn't there a coffee plantation a little closer to New York? The answer would be yes …BUT …as of this writing I've never been to a more amazing coffee plantation in all my travels.

Daterra has been a featured coffee for Coffee Holding for the past three crop years. We decided to include Daterra as an offering based on the cup qualities, certifications and extensive menu.

Daterra farms are located in the Cerrado region, in the state of Minas Garais, in Sao Paulo state, outside the quaint town of Petriccino. The farms' elevation is 3,250 (1,000m) to 3,900 ft (1,200m). A perfect climate for the production of some of the world's most outstanding coffees.

What makes Daterra exceptional is its philosophy of management, agricultural practices, staff, use of innovation and a continued need to improve. From the moment I entered the farms' gate it was clear that the distance traveled to make this visit would be a minor investment.

I hope you enjoy the small snap shot of "what I did this summer" at Daterra!


Leaving Sao Paolo for 1 hour flight to Uberlandia, where we had 3 hour drive to the Deterra Farm.


Deterra is a farm of 17,000 acres of land. Only 7,000 are planted in coffee. The remainder is in trust for land conversation. Daterra is certified by Rain Forest Alliance, Utz Kapeh, and other recognized certifiers.

In 2006, Daterra's nursery housed 1 million small plants. These future trees will be used to plant new fields and to supplement fields where damage has occurred.

Daterra's daycare provides education, meals and recreation for the children of the workers.


Journey of the Bean:

The beans' journey to the cup starts with harvesting. Coffee is harvested during the dry-cool period (May-September). The warm days and cool nights with almost no rain produces the signature coffees of Daterra.



Daterra is located in the Cerrado region of Minas Gerais, BR. The land is flat which makes is perfect for mechanical harvesting. The first pick of the year is usually mechanical. The gentle fingers of the harvester shake the ripe fruit from the tree's branches.

Mechanical Harvester

Mechanical Fingers at work

Fresh cherries in Super Sack


Hand Picking:

Post mechanical harvest the beans left on the tree must be hand-picked. The picker also cleans the ground around the tree to prevent disease.

Post Harvester Hand Picking  

Picked Bean Collection

Hand picking is also utilized for harvesting coffee from young and experimental trees.

Hand Picking of Experimental Tree


Fresh Cherries Delivered to Sorting & Cleaning Process Center


Beans are moved by truck within minutes of harvest to cleaning & sorting center. Lots remain in tack during the process. Each lost is numbered with farm name, picking lot and varietal.

Cherries in Receiving Tank

Super Sacks Filled with Cherries

Quality Sorting Using Water

Sorting and Pulp Removal for Pulp-Natural Coffees


After the wet mill, the coffee is delivered to the patio, a large, expansive concrete where the naturals and the pulped cherries are laid out to dry, carefully labeled by lot numbers, time, varietal and all other penitent data.

Foreground natural – Back pulped-natural

Sun Drying Patios

Mechanical Raker

Pulped Naturals - Manual Raking

Natural Coffee Drying on the PatioTracking by Farm, Varietal, Pick Date, Lot No.


The final stage of drying is done in large, vertical and cylindrical dryers. The furnaces are driven by burning wood from tree pruning. The warm room temperature air is blown into the furnace to complete the drying process.

Once again, carefully monitored to insure quality. The green hand indicates the moisture content when coffee is put in dryer the red hand is the target moisture content.

After drying the coffee is cleaned of foreign matter (destoned), density sorted, color sorted and sorted for bean maturing. It is only after this sort that the coffee is blended to create the Daterra coffee menu.


After resting in parchment in wooden silos for 30-90 days – the coffee is prepared for shipment in bags or boxes.

The patented Penta box storage and shipping system was created by Daterra to ship the most perfect beans for each year's crop. This packaging system has resulted in the revolutionary concept of vintage coffees.

Each container of Daterra coffee is loaded and sealed on the farm.

The coffee travels about 10-12 hours to the Port of Santos for shipment around the world.


Quality a Top Priority for Daterra

Deterra has an extensive, quality check, preserving samples for years for comparison.

As well as their lab for blending and tasting.

In keeping with the rainforest credo, the land is lush and well preserved.


Coffee trees are well pruned so that they may rejuvenate.

Babies are planted.


Sunset over the Cerrado.


To commemorate each visit, a tree is planted to replenish and renew the land.