The fertile soil of Brazil is home to much of the world’s coffee. In fact, a third of the world’s coffee is grown in Brazil and no other country has surpassed their coffee production in the last 150 years. But quantity is one thing, and quality is a whole other.
This conundrum was the starting point for what would become AMA estate, founded in 2014 by Luiz Paulo Pereira. Luiz comes from a family of coffee growers, and he’s the 4th generation to take up the family business. Since its inception, AMA estate has been a breath of fresh air for Brazilian coffee.
The Beginning of Something Great
AMA estate has one simple objective: produce better Brazilian coffee that will stand out in the global market. As Luiz puts it, he’s never wanted to do anything else. Despite a stint as a banker, something about the verdant hills of the family coffee estate was calling to him. It may be uncommon these days, but Luis grew up on the family farm. Coffee was a daily part of life, so much so that he can barely remember a time that coffee wasn’t in his life.
AMA estate is located in the Minas Gerais region in the south of Brazil. The summers here are warm and rainy with a pleasant, cool winter. Everywhere you look, the bright sunshine illuminates the green hills and farms that stretch into the distance.
It’s not just about an amazing view though. The climate and conditions in the area make it uniquely suited to growing high-quality coffee. The soil is deep red and rich in minerals, particularly ferrous minerals. In addition, the farms are surrounded by the native forests of the Mantiqueira Mountains which provide much-needed fertilization in the form of natural manure. With all these pieces in place, AMA estate set out on a path towards excellence.
Good Coffee Is Good Coffee
“Good coffee is good coffee”, notes Luiz “There’s nothing like it. If we can understand that, then we can do business.” Under his direction, AMA has focused largely on building trusting business relationships. The run-of-the-mill approach to the coffee business is to focus on prices. But this isn’t what Luiz set out to do. He believes that if you want to consistently produce good coffee, year after year, you need good relationships with your partners. They need to understand how the coffee is grown, the work that goes into it, and the expertise you bring to the table. After all, if you make good coffee, you want good customers to appreciate it.
This focus on trust and relationship-building has served them well over the years but it was an uphill task at first. Most coffee businesses were not accustomed to this approach to business. There was a pressing need to prove themselves, and they did.
Coffee At AMA Estate
The standout offering from AMA estate has to be their fermented coffees. Luiz rates fermented coffees as his personal favorite. This journey was born out of his love for wine. Intriguing by the winemaking process, he studied the wine business and learnt that fermentation of the grapes helps stabilize the final product. This led him to discover that the same concept can be applied to coffee processing.
Fermentation is one of the big reasons that AMA produces such consistently good coffee. By fermenting coffee, you can control the flavors very closely. There are three factors that affect fermentation- water, internal sugar, and internal temperature. Controlling these factors will give you consistent results which is how AMA brings out interesting flavors in their coffee that can be replicated year on year.
AMA estate largely grows African varietals, which was a challenge to introduce to a region that was more accustomed to growing commodity coffee rather than specialty coffee. Their specialty coffee is either washed or natural processed. The washed coffees have a distinct sweetness and a subtle flavor, making them very drinkable and ideal for single-origin coffee brews. The natural coffees are actually allowed to ferment under the natural conditions of the sun which is more uncontrolled and produces a surprising spectrum of flavors.
The current focus at AMA is producing luxury varietals including Geisha, SL28, and Sudan Rume. Luiz sets the bar high and aims to consistently produce coffee that rates 90 points or higher. His particular focus is to scale up high-quality Geisha production while maintaining a sustainable price for consumers and vendors.
Moving Forward with Era Of We
AMA estate has partnered with Era Of We to showcase their extraordinary coffee on the global stage. Luiz cites transparency as the biggest draw to Era Of We, where you can build lasting relationships with others in the coffee industry. Their focus on luxury coffee is a promising endeavor, with many exciting things on the horizon.
Just like the region they call home; AMA estate has a unique identity that makes them stand out from the rest. At the heart of their business is a deep respect for the land and community, an enduring love for coffee, and a desire to delight consumers with their coffee. After all, good coffee is meant to be enjoyed.