Upon tasting the first cups of Fazenda Monte Alto ’s coffee, the current owner Ricardo A Bastos – married to the producer and direct descendant of the Farm founder – fell so deeply in love with its aroma, flavor, and complexity, that he decided to baptize it with the name of his greatest love – Maria Helena – his enterprising woman, whose effort and devotion to quality provided such pleasure.
Café Helena is carefully planted, grown, harvested, dried, stored, classified, roasted, ground, and packed on the Farm itself, by a team on which women give a special touch from the command into all the productive chain, from planting to the end drink, softening the centennial male tradition of the product.
It is a dream that came true through daring and detail-rich work which constitutes itself as a productive reality in constant evolution, renewing the production techniques in obedience to the values of nature.
Production is based upon a Declaration of Responsibilities, registered at the Notary’s Office so as to make it Public, which summarizes the Commitment of Producers with a Vision of World where they want to make a difference for the better, being aware of their contribution to the development of citizenship and quality of life within the SEAC proposal, that is, Socially, Ecologically, Agronomically Correct (see Fazenda Monte Alto’s Declaration of Responsibilities).
Thus, this proposal aims at the conscious return of man to the country respecting land and life. The praising of the farming’s natural defenses, seeking the balance between vegetal and animal living creatures that occupy the soil, plus the land’s strength potential, and the climate vigor provide an exceptional quality to Café Helena.
Old machinery has been recovered; along with investment in new machines, including a new test and classification room, quality programs have been introduced, and renowned specialists have been hired (Carlos Roberto Piccin, Roberto Antonio Thomaziello, and Ensei Uejo Neto) for the development of an agronomic program, allied to a production strategy – all that for the best care of Café Helena.
In each of the farming cuttings, a rose tree has been planted, a symbol of soil fertility, evidencing the painstaking treatment the owners devote to the lands they love so much. All soil handling is carried out in a limited and accurate way to be effective and cause the least harm to the environment, by using the most appropriate prevention, which begins with the choice of the most resistant plants and the use of periodic prune. Obstinacy for quality, respect to the land, and praise to nature are dogmas for this producer.
The Farm is among the most advanced environment systems, counting on the register of the waters, source award, registering as untouchable area of more than 20% of the original woods and permanent preservation of fauna and flora. This is meant to seek interaction between the vegetative features of the organized farming and the chaordic cycle of life.
Consorted with the coffee farmings, rams are raised (see item Rams), which proves the ever present concern about the agricultural handling of coffee plantations, and their correct ecological and environmental preservation. For the protection of coffee plantations against the wind’s fury, trees have been planted – sansão do campo (Mimosa Caesalpiniaefolia) and banana trees – which constitute themselves as natural barriers and attract diversified fauna.
The owners’ management aims at professional qualification, income and job generation seeking the rescue of human dignity and reduction of social inequality. Thus, the workers receive adequate training, and – mainly – Respect. The work system is negotiated directly between the owners and the Rural Worker Union (Sindicato dos Trabalhadores Rurais), through a meeting on the Farm itself, generating a partnership searching for fair salaries, rescue of self-esteem and quality of life, evidenced by high-standard houses of the resident workers, collective transportation, compensation of Saturdays and extended holidays. There is no child labor, and rarely is there labor dispute due to good resolution of social risk.
The owners firmly believe that the former history of the producer – Maria Helena – allied to the history of the Farm and of its employees, plus the care and respect they devote to everything they do, just adds emotion and quality to the product.
To enter the high quality market, the owners’ proposal aimed at the constitution of a quite constant and strict control pattern to provide quality maintenance of grains over the years.
This option is the result of a combination of factors that include the choice of variety strains of Arabic coffee, with production potential for sweeter fruit, correct agronomic handling, besides the procedures of pre-harvest, harvest, post-harvest, drying, storage, processing, classification, roasting, grinding, and packing, within the concept of micro-ecosystem.
The choice for production verticalization, from planting to end packing, was made due to the probability of product quality control, whose noble origin, in function of the intrinsic features of Café Helena, as of soil and climate, define a superior drink standard. Thus, such long-term commercial decision implies in conquering the market with a stable product of personality and elegance.
Understanding and meeting the consumer’s needs of high-quality coffee is the basis of the differentiation per types. The consumer must be surprised by anticipation or creation of new expectations. From the choice of genetic variety up to the roasting, care must be taken so that the product may meet the quality specifications. Investing in research, technology, and training, Café Helena values the assurance of the unmatched pleasure a single cupful can provide.
KINDS OF CAFÉ HELENA
To enjoy good coffee, just drinking it is not enough. It is necessary to watch for details that start at the packing, with information about its planting, handling, harvest, and post-harvest; and then, you keep on observing its color, aroma, and texture. Feel it all in your mouth, as well as the flavor and persistence.
CAFÉ HELENA forces the human being to find out that poetry is not only written, but also liquid. Coffee needs attention, respect, and care to be degusted. That increases our degree of sensitiveness, influencing all aspects of life. This way, a relationship of loyalty between the consumer and the brand he trusts is established.
To attain this excellence, CAFÉ HELENA is based on several variety strains of coffee, all Arabic ones, such as red and yellow catuaí, acaiá and obatã, which allows many flavor options, in function of their sweeter grains. One of the greatest objectives of the producers is to keep the production growth under strict watchfulness to assure the quality of Café Helena.
Café Helena seeks the bio-dynamic potential balance in the taste of coffee. For this, it considers the vegetative aspects of coffee farming, taking it as part of a unique micro-ecosystem to be preserved. Its sandy soil, reddened by rich soil grants coffee concentration and persistence. Color and illumination are remarkable elements of the local landscape, with many shades of green contrasting with the blue skies and the golden sunset. This festival of nature has the ideal climate and altitude (above 700 meters) for coffee cultivation.
Fazenda Monte Alto enjoys a micro climate of summers and winters marked by significant fluctuations between day and night temperatures, which assures the production of healthy grains, perfectly ripe and flavor rich, whose strength and health can be confirmed with an average growth in the branches of 16 internodes, with excellent productive potential.
This unique conjugation of climate, geological, and biological conditions produces a micro-ecosystem – even with the planting of equal species of coffee – whose result is a unique product different from its neighbors or from other producing regions.
Therefore, Café Helena represents diversity. A mysterious and surprising drink, able to enunciate a wide range of aromas and flavors, with different texture and rare liveliness. Along with this, there is the flavor and charm of a coffee born in a beloved, particular land, with remarkable and unique characteristics.
Café Helena is blended by a specialist recognized all over the world (Eduardo Montero Soto), resulting in three kinds (blends) with their own personalities, and distinct and elegant features, destined to the lovers of fine coffee.
All the three kinds of Café Helena are special and come from the product planted, cultivated, harvested, processed, selected, roasted, ground, and packed in their origin, on Fazenda Monte Alto. This way, the verticalization of the productive process at the same location – from planting to end packing – assures origin, reliability, consistency, and mainly quality.
The three special kinds (blends) are:
Café da Fazenda - This coffee is made with 100% Arabic grains without any impurity or any other product. Its degusting features are:
· Sweetish with delicate acidity and herbal finalization of medium duration.
· Herbal aromatic notes with great intensity of lemongrass.
· Excellent body and flavor with nuance of lump of hard brown sugar.
Special Coffee, or Export Coffee, or Gourmet Coffee – This coffee is made with 100% of Arabic grains with controlled origin, unpeeled cherry kind and totally export kind. Its degusting features are:
· Aroma with touches of citrus.
· Good acidity and balanced structure.
· Harmonic flavor, delicate with aromatic persistence.
Branded Coffee, or Estate Coffee, or Author Coffee, or Coffee with Signature. It is the coffee made with 100% of Arabic grains of controlled origin from seed to cup. It is 100% of the export kind, but made with unpeeled cherry grains of exceptionally large size only, of variety strains of the same farm, in order to enhance the best flavors and quality. Its degusting features are:
· Deep and broad aromatic notes.
· Personality, intense and complex.
· Sweet and vigorous flavor, fruited, persistent in the mouth.
By tasting any of the special kinds (blends) of Café Helena, you may delight yourself with the female touch in tradition.