For Luiz Paulo Filho, every guest deserves a special treat: a Brazilian barbecue at his house. “The meat’s ready,” he says, getting ready to dish up some plates and kick off another feast—a “meat carnival,” as he likes to call it. “How’s it tasting? There’s more where that came from,” Luiz Paulo beams. His love for delicious, grilled-to-perfection meat is the real deal, too. We don’t think we’ve ever seen him eat hardly anything besides meat. Eager to share that love, he’s constantly loading up mouth-watering servings that guests simply can’t turn down, no matter how full they are. It’s his brand of hospitality, one that teems with energy and passion.


Meat isn’t the only thing that Luiz Paulo adores, of course. He’s just as devoted to coffee. He comes from the proud lineage of the Pereira family, which has been growing coffee in Carmo de Minas—one of Brazil’s most fertile production areas—for four generations now. After getting a business degree and doing a stint in the banking sector, Luiz Paulo decided to head back home to the farm and take charge of the family operation. Since then, he and his cousin Jacques have poured their youthful verve into enhancing the quality of their products and exploring the possibilities of specialty coffee. Although it’s one of the country’s leading production areas, Carmo de Minas only reached that echelon about 15 years ago. Up to that point, the region’s enormous potential, a product of its individual traits, had simply gone relatively untapped. There were even times when exporters would mix the Pereira family’s beans with coffee from other farms and sell the blends under the catch-all “Brazilian coffee” name.


What Luiz Paulo and Jacques eventually realized, however, was that Carmo de Minas had a unique identity, a set of region-specific attributes that gave the local coffee distinctive flavors. Aware of how that individuality could impact business, the Pereiras began focusing on specialty coffee. They didn’t stop there, though. Seeing the shortcomings and limitations of the existing purchasing system, which went through agricultural cooperatives, the family established its very own company—CarmoCoffees—to explore the possibilities of sustainable coffee business. By not only exporting products through direct-trade channels but also propelling research into specialty coffees from the Carmo de Minas area and neighboring locales, CarmoCoffees has helped make the most out of the region’s long-dormant promise and brand the region as a top growing area.


The Pereira family farm’s consistent success in Cup of Excellence competitions has brought Carmo de Minas even further into the global spotlight, as well, fortifying the Brazilian coffee industry on the whole. I made my first encounter with Carmo de Minas coffee way back in 2002, years before CarmoCoffees took shape, at a competition in Brazil. Every time I cupped coffees from a certain area, no matter who the growers were, I found myself giving the beans high scores. That specific area? None other than Carmo de Minas. The tastes showed how the inherent peculiarities of their tiny little could produce extraordinary coffees—how the terroir concept of region-specific flavors was as pertinent in the coffee world as it was in the wine community. Coffee is an endless stream of eye-opening, transformative discoveries. Magical encounters with delectable coffees are waiting for you, too.