Editor’s Pick: Growing the Best Organic Coffee

In Southeast Brazil lies a town with a population of around 14,000 people that just happens to be the home of some of the best organic coffee in the world

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Every week on this blog we will feature one video that Smithsonian.com selects as an “Editors’ Pick.” Since we launched the contest launched in February, we’ve been blown away by the high quality of the submissions. Note: these videos are not selected by the contest judges and have no bearing on the final result of the contest.

The featured videos are meant to inspire and encourage.

In Southeast Brazil lies a town with a population of around 14,000 people that just happens to be the home of some of the best organic coffee in the world.

Coffee Carmo from Minas is a documentary by David Obadia featuring a family of farmers from the town of Carmo de Minas as they go through the delicate process of harvesting coffee from their land and preparing it for the world to drink.

Claudio Pinto is the owner of Paixão Farm and his passion for coffee is only surpassed by his love of his family. He’s worried that the farm may not survive once he’s gone so he is passing on the family traditions to his son Alê, who was born and raised on the farm.

In the documentary, Claudio and Alê explain how difficult growing quality coffee is. First you need workers who know when to pick the coffee when it’s ripe. The climate makes it difficult and workers must pick ripe coffee among the unripe. They also grow different types of coffee and each has it’s own special set of demands. Organic coffee is obviously the most labor intensive.

Once the coffee is picked from the shrubs, workers begin the drying process and put it through a machine to separate the grains. During the separation step there must be sunshine otherwise it will be spoiled. Not only is the weather a concern but Claudio and Alê also take into account the stars. They harvest under a certain moon and a particular constellation, which they believe influences the taste of the coffee.

After the drying and processing the coffee is taken out into a yard for further drying and the different kinds of coffee is separated. From there the coffee is roasted and monitored closely so that it isn’t overdone and to make sure it’s fine ground.

Despite having the coffee growing process down to a science, Brazilians don’t value coffee according to Alê. Because of this and the fact there are few farmers who grow organic coffee, most of the product is exported where it is highly valued.

Coffee Carmo from Minas is a beautifully shot documentary that takes the average coffee drinker into a world far from the Starbucks line at their local shopping mall.

Feeling inspired? Head over to our submission page and upload your video for a chance to win our grand prize. The deadline is May 31!

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