Hélcio Carneiro Pinto began producing coffee at age 15, assisting on his mother's coffee farm. He began to manage Fazenda Santa Lúcia in 1976 after his marriage to Glycia Pereira Carneiro—the daughter of the farm's then owners, José Isidro Pereira and the late Nazareth Dias Pereira.
In the 1990s, Hélcio participated in the founding of Aprocam, a group of producers dedicated to improving coffee quality in the Mantiqueira region. Since then, he has pursued educational opportunities resourcefully, collaborating with universities and scientists and touring coffee farms in other countries. (Glycia is a celebrated producer herself, with coffee from her farm Sítio Monte Alegre awarded in this year's Cup of Excellence.)
Santa Lúcia spans 740 hectares, more than double the size of Central Park. Only a fraction of the farm is planted with coffee and the rest dedicated to bananas, corn, and cattle.
Coffee cultivation on the farm includes plots of Mundo Novo, Yellow Catuaí, Acaiá, and Yellow Bourbon varieties planted between 900 and 1,250 meters above sea level. Almost anywhere else this would be considered rather low, but at 22º latitude, these elevations provide the warm days and mildly cool nights that stimulate the ideal slow maturation of coffee fruits.
Santa Lúcia follows a sort of alternate-side pruning process that our export partners call safra zero or "zero harvest" method. Each year, half of the farm's coffee is pruned and the remaining half is not. The half that is pruned "rests" for the following harvest, producing nothing. The half that is allowed to remain productive yields 80-90 bags per hectare, about three times more than would be expected with no pruning regimen—while lowering costs and improving quality.
Our relationship with Fazenda Santa Lúcia is an extension of our partnership with CarmoCoffees, who supply us with everything from microlots like this one to the full container loads used in our blends. As members of CarmoCoffees, Fazenda Santa Lúcia is involved in CriaCarmo, a philanthropy project supporting educational and recreational activities for youth in Carmo de Minas such as swimming, karate, chess, and English lessons.