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Focus on a Farm: Toca da Onça - Brazil

We met Luciana here in Leicester on her visit to the UK in August 2022 and were delighted when we were able to buy her amazing coffee and she agreed to write a blog for us to introduce it to you all. 

Toca da Onça (meaning Jaguar's cave) is based in the Mantiqueira de Minas region, Brazil. Over to Luciana:

Growing coffee is a passion! And I believe when my parents started the farm 40 years ago that was the driving factor. Many social, economic, and technological forces have changed the landscape for Brazilian Agriculture in that time but at the heart of those changes people continue to adapt to what is an unpredictable partnership with nature. The world of coffee farming has become very dynamic, a constant discovery of new techniques and exciting results. There are countless variables in the production process until it reaches your cup, but as I quickly realised on taking on responsibility at the farm, it starts with the most important thing of all, the coffee plant! The Mantiqueira de Minas region in Brasil has always inspired me! The farm's altitude, climate and wealth of natural resources are extremely favorable for the cultivation and production of coffees with exceptional flavors! My effective involvement in coffee farming, started in 2019 and arose from the need for succession. The farm was already in a process of change, with new coffee plants replacing older exhausted crops in rested land. This relationship with newer plants brought a greater respect for the other lots and varieties and the relationships we have with them as farmers. Relationships at the center of our process. We are always investing in the management of our crops and in the search for efficiency in the field through partnerships with specialized technical assistance, continued training of our team and in the improvement of post-harvest processes to enhance the quality of our coffee. The partnership with our local cooperative, Coopervass, is fundamental. The socio-environmental approach in running the farm encourages regenerative agriculture, biological control and efficient management of the vegetation between the coffee plants, the use of biotechnological fertilizers, the reuse of coffee husk waste, all, to increase organic matter in the soil.

Traditionally in the region, honey production was often shared between a farm and the beekeeper, but the practice was less popular in the last decade. A new focus on that relationship and the benefits led us to develop partnerships with local beekeepers. An increase in pollination rates, brings a uniform blossom and ripening and therefore improves coffee quality; in addition to increasing productivity. We also seek to promote sustainable agriculture practices and preserve the natural environment in the fields and beyond because they host a variety of plants and animal species that can naturally maintain the equilibrium of the ecosystem, producing healthier coffee plants. The farm uses renewable energy sources to power up our operations and farm housing. The forest conservation and protection of water sources, rivers and springs, in addition to the implementation of reforestation programs, are very important to us and our relationship with the community around us. Many fruits and crops are grown domestically amongst farmers in the area, and this promotes a shared experience that extends to our overall respect for natural surroundings.


Our crops are located between 940 and 1.200m of altitude. The coffee varieties we grow are: yellow bourbon, yellow topázio, yellow catuaí, arara and mundo novo. The coffee is harvested from May to August, manually and mechanically, then washed to separate the cherry from dry beans and spread on concrete terraces for natural drying. Some microlots are set aside to be naturally fermented. When necessary, drying is completed in rotary dryers. Each year, we aim to achieve excellent sensory scores and refine the special flavor of the coffees. The Traceability of our coffees is at the core of the work. Through the control and recording of all stages of cultivation (planting year, crop size, spacing, type of variety), coffee production (harvest, postharvest processes, fertilization, pest control and diseases, among others) and coffee sensory and cupping analysis by SCA Q-Graders, transparency in the supply chain is achieved. Our focus on attention to detail is essential for our specialty coffees. This attention is present in all the processes and the people who participate in the complex production chain of coffee that we hope, will transform your senses. As I have found out Coffee has no frontiers, we hope you enjoy!


11th COOPERVASS SPECIALTY COFFEE COMPETITION: – 1st Place in the Natural Category

MANTIQUEIRA DE MINAS COMPETITION – 10th place in the Natural Category

COCAMIG – ranked among the 20 best coffees in the south of Minas Gerais

COY 2022 – ranked among the 150 best coffees in Brazil

6ª FLORADA PREMIADA COMPETITION, 2023 – ranked among the 100 best coffees in Brazil 

To buy Luciana's beans, click here: Brazil - Toca Da Onça – Leicester Coffee House Company

Luciana Flores Martins Swan, Toca da Onça