Luiz Saldanha Rodrigues needs no introduction. His farm, Fazenda California, lies below the Tropic of Capricorn, outside the tropics, a geography that presents both opportunities and real challenges to take advantage of this unique terroir. To do this, Luiz and his wife, Flavia, along with their team at Fazenda California, collect and analyze data—tracking everything from soil temperatures to leaf-area-to-fruit ratios—while implementing new technologies and innovations like producing their own local microbiota to fortify plant immune systems, improve nutrient absorption, and increase coffee quality.
Luiz speaks of the importance of the scientific foundation of every aspect of production used at his farm. This ‘Cold Soul’ coffee applies his knowledge of temperature, microbial activity and drying techniques. Rather than using specialised yeasts or introducing gases for coffee fermentation, he and his team soak the coffee cherries in cold water for extended periods, giving a clean and crisp coffee. Definitely not your typical producer and not your typical ‘Brazil’ profile.
Dave came across Luiz for the first time on a podcast from an Australian roaster and educator. Luiz was mesmorising, talking about weather conditions, empathy for the plants and using the latest scientific research to improve quality whilst maintaining an overriding approach to sustainability. A very engaging character, and subsequent meetings and cuppings of Luiz's coffees at various World of Coffee events has led to this, our first purchase. It won't be our last.