Elevation: 700–1,300 metres (2,300–4,270 feet) above sea level
Rainfall: 1,000–1,300 millimetres (39–51 inches)
Temperature: 17–21°C (60–70°F)
The ‘high plateau’ at the centre of Bahia is called the Chapada Diamantina (‘Diamond Plateau’). It lies within the Serra do Espinhaço mountain range, which crosses Bahia from north to south and extends into northern Minas Gerais. The Chapada landscape consists of high, rocky plateaus and dry grasslands, separated by huge canyons.
In the nineteenth century, a diamond rush brought a wave of miners and garimpeiros (‘washers’), who sifted gold and gems from the canyons’ muddy rivers. Bahia was the world’s largest producer of diamonds until prospectors discovered larger and more accessible deposits in South Africa.
Most coffee farms in this region are family owned and organised into cooperatives or producers’ associations. The period following harvest is frequently rainy. That can be problematic for drying, so coffee in the region typically uses the pulped natural process to reduce drying time and prevent fermentation.
Coffee grown in Planalto Baiano is usually hand-picked, and this, together with the relatively high elevations and mild climate, makes for very high quality potential. Farms from this region won all five top spots for pulped natural coffees at the 2014 Cup of Excellence, and they took home nineteen of the twenty-four awards in 2016 (ACE 2016).
According to the BSCA, coffees from Planalto Baiano typically feature a velvety texture and full body, with sweet nutty notes and some citrus acidity. High-scoring lots from the region often feature high sweetness and flavours of soft fruit, citrus, and florals.