Altitude: 1,000–1,200 metres (3,280–3,940 feet) above sea level
Rainfall: 850–1,650 millimetres (33–65 inches)
Temperature: 20–27°C (72–79°F)
Planalto Central (Central Plateau) generally refers to the Brazilian Highlands, the high plateau region that covers more than half of the country’s land area. The term is often used to refer specifically to locations in Brasília, however, which lies in the heart of the Planalto. The Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association uses the Planalto Central descriptor to refer to coffee grown in the Distrito Federal (Federal District), the small state that surrounds the capital city (BSCA 2021).
The Federal District lies in the east of Goiás, and, as in Goiás, much of the state’s terrain consists of cerrado highland. Coffee-growing came to the region in the 1960s after Brasília was founded, but the farms first became commercially significant in the early 2000s. The tiny state produced an estimated 15,600 bags in 2021, on just 410 hectares of land planted with coffee (IGBE 2021). This makes it the second-most-productive arabica–growing region in all of Brazil, second only to neighbouring Goiás. Yields are as high as 62 bags per hectare on some farms (Abreu 2016).
A coffee farm in Distrito Federal (Federal District). The state is one of Brazil’s most productive coffee-growing regions, thanks to large-scale irrigation. Photo: Agência Brasília, published under a Creative Commons licence.
As in Goiás, the high productivity is achieved with the use of modern techniques and varieties and enhanced with extensive irrigation. The high cost of land near the capital gives farmers an additional incentive to maximise yields on existing land rather than increase their planted area.