From studying agronomy to running a farm
Located in one of Brazil’s most important coffee regions, Recreio farm in Poços de Caldas, Minais Gerais, has a history reaching back to 1890, when Ignes Bernadina da Silva Dias came with her four children to the region. The farm recently celebrated its 120th coffee harvest under the direction of Ignes’s great-grandson, Diogo Teixeira de Macedo. Diogo was born here, but lived for 15 years in São Paulo, where he acquired a degree in Agronomy before returning to run the farm.
Transitioning from a family farm to a business farm
Diogo was first introduced to the Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program by a Nespresso agronomist looking to source increased volumes of Yellow Bourbon for a new addition to the Nespresso permanent range. Due to the success of the Bourbon Amarelo Limited Edition in 2006, Nespresso launched a new Pure Origin Grand Cru featuring Brazil’s prized Bourbon coffee beans in 2009: Dulsão do Brasil.
The Nespresso AAA Program appealed to my own ideals and principles concerning environmental politics, social issues and coffee quality.
“The AAA Program appealed to my own ideals and principles concerning environmental politics, social issues and coffee quality. Being part of the program has helped us transition from being a traditional family farm to a business farm with specific goals. This includes our cultivation of speciality coffees, striving to improve our cultivation techniques, preserving the environment and satisfying the people involved, from our employees to the final consumer,” said Diogo.
Recreio farm has a total of 596 hectares, 220 of which are planted with coffee. Its breathtaking topography of undulating hills requires manual picking of the coffee cherries by a large number of workers.
During the harvest season from May to September, up to 150 people work directly and indirectly with the coffee. Off-season, around 40 people work on the farm. Its employees all live on the farm, which includes 68 employee houses, a healthcare centre, a chapel, a soccer field and a social club. Yellow Bourbon is the main coffee variety cultivated, followed by a small amount of other varieties such as Yellow Icatu, Catucai and Catuai. Eucalyptus trees provide wood for the farm, while some pasture is reserved for cattle that provide dairy products for the farm’s inhabitants.
- Name: Diogo Teixeira de Macedo
- Age: 34
- Farm: Recreio Farm
- Location: Poços de Caldas, Brazil
- Size of farm: 596 hectares, incl. 220 hectares of coffee
- Joined Nespresso AAA Sustainable Quality™ Program: 2008
Gaining knowledge and techniques with the AAA Program
To participate in the AAA Program, the old farm had to undergo certain structural changes to ensure better safety for its employees. “The Nespresso AAA Program has helped make it easier to manage the farm and make decisions. We learned how to create procedural manuals. We now conduct weekly, monthly and annual meetings to define needed actions concerning social, environmental and crop management. Now everyone knows what they have to do, in the short, medium and long term,” said Diogo.
“Looking back today, it’s hard to imagine how we could even function without the knowledge and techniques that we have gained through the AAA Program,” he concluded.