Fazenda São Judas Tadeu lies outside the small town of Piatã, in Bahia’s Chapada Diamantina region, sitting at an elevation of 1,300 to 1,380 metres above sea level. Chapada Diamantina translates to ”Diamond Plateau” in Portuguese, and for 100 years this area was mined for the gemstones embedded in its cliffs. Today, the region is famous for its specialty coffee.
The farm is owned by Antônio Rigno and his wife Terezinha, who have been farming coffee in the region for more than 40 years. Antônio owns a number of farms in Piatã and is very well respected in the community. Many farmers in the area look to him for advice and mentorship, and he graciously lets them process their coffee at the wet mill located at São Judas Tadeu.
Antônio and Terezinha are incredibly warm and always welcoming, which is part of what makes them so influential in Piatã. They regularly bring the coffee community together at the town’s clubhouse and run a café in town, where they showcase the region’s exceptional coffees. Here, a number of Cup of Excellence and other quality awards cover the walls. Over the years, the pair have worked tirelessly to produce great coffees – and have helped their neighbours do the same by teaching them improved agricultural practices that consistently lead to better results in the final cup.
Sharing his knowledge and expertise gives Antônio a great sense of purpose and pride. “There are no secrets” he explained to us. “Here, the people in Piatã are like my family. I want to help them produce great coffee. It’s my duty and my joy”.
Fazenda São Judas extends over 35 hectares, with 15 under coffee. The farm is mainly planted with Yellow and Red Catuaí variety trees, although Antônio has gone on to plant Bourbon trees after trialling them successfully over a number of years. Because sustainable farming is also very important to Antônio, he keeps his use of chemical pesticides to a minimum and recycles coffee pulp to use as fertiliser. He has also planted numerous large shade trees around the farm, as these prevent erosion and protect coffee trees from the sun. The rest of the farm is covered by natural forest, which Antônio both protects and extends by regularly planting new trees.
This information and images have kindly been shared with us by our import partners Melbourne Coffee Merchants.