Guilherme Franco on tractor at Sitio Biquinha Brazil

Guilherme Franco
Sitio Biquinha

How long have you and your family been on the farm?

I represent the fourth generation of the family in coffee production.

My great-grandfather (João Valerio Filho) started rural activities more than a century ago.


Has the farm always produced coffee?

The farm has always produced coffee. But it is not all the territory of the farm that has coffee planted, because we respect the conservation of the native forest.

Part of the farm has a road area that is where the coffee is harvested and  there are other buildings, such as house, yard, among others. We also have on the property a small area of ​​eucalyptus and also banana.


Does the farm only produce special coffee? If not, then what made you / your family decide to add special grade coffee to your farm?

The farm began to focus on producing specialty coffees about 5 years ago. Before that we produced specialty coffees, but this was not the focus.

We made the decision to focus on producing specialty coffees when we realized that we really had something very rare in our hand, really a very rare and unique coffee. And we also see the production of specialty coffees as a way to better value the people who work with our family.


What varieties of coffee are grown on the farm?

We have Acaiá and Catucai 2 Sl.

On the other properties of my family, we also have Yellow Bourbon, Catuai, New World, Macaw and Catucai 785-15.


As a producer do you have a favorite variety to grow and why (for example, it results in high yield, high quality, low risk)?

I prefer the small varieties, like the Catucai 2Sl. Because it is a variety that in our conditions of Biquinha presents high cup quality, high yield, good pest tolerance, and is very responsive to good management.


What do you do with crop garbage (parts of plants that are removed during harvest, etc.)?

After harvesting (manual) the coffee goes through a cleaning process still in the field, where some leaves and other parts of the plant are at the feet of the plant that were harvested, returning to the production system as an “organic fertilizer”.

Also the coffee after being dried, it goes through a process of peeling the coffee, leaving the coffee straw. The straw is put back to the coffee crop as a rich source of nutrients, especially potassium.

Therefore all parts of the plant are taken advantage of to assist in a sustainable production system.


You dry the coffee on patios after it is harvested, is there anything else you do to the cherries before or during the drying process?

I will answer this question telling how we do with coffee in this 2019 crop:

Shortly after the coffee is harvested it is washed to separate and eliminate impurities and lower quality cherries.

After this he goes through a Oven drying process (yard covered with ultra violet filter) where for a month is kept moving several times a day to even out moisture and to dry. Once dry it is stored and “rested” for 20 days and after this is cleaned, ie removes the outside of the coffee leaving only the beans.


Climate change is a big challenge for the future, do you have any specific farm processes in place to help minimize your environmental footprint?

We use “green manure” in our crops, that is, we plant legume species in the middle of the coffee line and these plants, besides helping the soil retain more water and nutrient, after it is cut, it becomes food for the coffee plant. We also use sources of fertilizers that do not pollute the environment, and reuse coffee straw as organic fertilizer as I mentioned previously.

Also, by harvesting coffee manually, we greatly reduce the use of fossil fuels.


If you could change one aspect of the coffee industry, what would it be?

I think bringing consumers closer to us producers is fundamental.


Lastly. What is your favorite way to drink coffee?

I love the strained coffees on cloth filter. (EDIT FROM US: Guilherme is referring to filter, which his Lot 3 is exceptionally good as with this bew method)

Guilherme Franco and his father selfie
Patio raking at Sitio Biquinha Brazil
Sitio Biquinha coffee plantation
Coffee cherries after harvesting at Sitio Biquinha Brazil