From a tender age of 9 Sebastiana de Oliveira Faria, known as “Lelena”, began working with coffee when her father was no longer able to work the fields due to injury. Picking coffee by hand, Lelena would fill a basket with cherry and transport it on the back of a donkey to a drying patio near her house. Once there, the coffee cherries were washed and separated from impurities and then dried on the patio. Moisture content was measured by checking to see how far the beans could be made to “jump” using the sharp edge of a knife. Once dried to a desired moisture level, Lelena would store the coffee inside her house until it was time to take it to market.
Lelena married at 18 and acquired her own piece of land at 32. At 38 her husband passed away leaving her to look after her family and property. Today, at 71 years, Lelena’s property contains sixteen thousand coffee trees, with infrastructure including a greenhouse, drying patio, raised beds and a pulper. Her 63 years working with coffee has culminated in her winning regional competitions in her state of Minas Gerais. Asked about her secret to producing specialty coffee, Lelena’s response is clear and simple, “love and affection are essential”.
SUGGESTED RECIPE: 22g, in 40g, out 35sec
PRODUCER: Lelena Faria
ESTATE: Sítio Moinho Grande
VARIETAL: Red Catuaí
ELEVATION: 1250 MASL
PROCESS: Pulped natural, dried on raised beds