Altitude: 600–1,200 metres (1,970–3,940 feet) above sea level
Rainfall: 1,050–1,650 millimetres (41–65 inches)
Temperature: 18–24°C (64–75°F)
Centred around the city of Manhuaçu in the southeast of Minas Gerais, Matas de Minas (‘Forests of Minas’) is one of the longest-established coffee-growing regions in the state. The coffee plantations established here in the mid-nineteenth century drove much of the growth of Brazil’s coffee industry during this period. The area is characterised by rolling hills that were once covered by lush Atlantic rainforest.
The region holds an Indicação de Procedência (IP) and is home to 36,000 producers, 80% of whom have farms less than 20 hectares in size. Approximately 80% of coffee grown in the region is the Catuaí variety, with Mundo Novo making up most of the rest. Because of the steep slopes and small farm sizes, mechanisation is rare and coffees are mainly hand-picked.
The warm, humid climate was not always conducive to production of high-quality coffee, as it prevented proper drying of the beans. However, the development of pulped natural processing and improved drying methods have allowed better-quality coffees to be produced in recent decades, and the region is producing an increasing amount of specialty coffee (Silveira et al 2016). Coffees from the region typically have a full body and moderate acidity, but better-quality lots can also show citric notes.