delivering consistently great coffee, FAF aligns perfectly with our ethos, that’s the reason we decided to invest in an ongoing partnership. In 2018, we began sourcing our Brazilian coffees directly through them & have added their bobolink coffees to our blends. the coffee is so good, we also run it as a single.

 

Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza (meaning environmental fortress farm) has been owned by the Barretto family since 1850. it was still a traditional farm with 150 farm hands and conventional farming methods when Silvia Barretto inherited it in 2001. together with her husband, Marcos, they changed the name to FAF and began transforming into a sustainable business that took into consideration the environment and the relationships between people while still producing high quality products.

to FAF, sustainable farming means being able to produce today without diminishing the ability to produce tomorrow. it’s about leaving net positive soil capital for the following generations.

 

“this is a new concept in today’s society and the paths towards the ideals are not always rigid. to a farmer who has his finances limited, we must first help him make more money by improving his business skills, his quality and his position to market so that he may have a more comfortable life. thus, it is by empowering each farmer that we may introduce the topics of sustainability and begin to experiment with several alternative methods of farming”.

 

the transition to organic drastically reduced production initially, as the plants suffered from the abrupt termination of chemicals. Marcos introduced a new proposal to his workers, which was to offer them a 50% ownership of the coffee they planted. a concept to the area that took time to mature. these attitudes gave FAF the reputation of being the ‘crazy farmers’ in the area.

 

organic farms are different than conventional farms. technically speaking, the word organic in the business world means simply no agro-toxic chemicals. for FAF it’s an encompassing shift away from tradition, providing the diversity of life to bring balance and health. feeding the soil & the eco-system rather than just feeding the plant. proving that it is possible to do organics at a high quality level and that it can also be financially viable, is what motivates them every day.

in 2007, Marcos exported his first container direct to the US, and in 2008, FAF was put on the map after they won the Sustainability Award from the Specialty Coffee Association of America. in 2009 Silvia and Marcos’ son Felipe, who had been working at a specialty coffee micro-roastery in St. Louis called Kaldi’s, came to join the team. Felipe set up a coffee lab and began separating and studying lots by varietals and processing methods.

 

Fazenda Ambiental Fortaleza and its network of established farms is an example, a model and a source of knowledge for many other farmers in the region to turn to. the goal of FAF Coffees on the ground level is to help develop those farmers they work with, and to help them execute great quality coffee, in the pursuit of sustainability.

 

fun fact: in case you were wondering, the bobolink project was named after the birds who migrate to the area every autumn (pictured above).