Farm: Sitio Nossa Sehnora Aparacida
Varietal: Red Catuaí
Altitude: 1,170 meters
Owner: Cinthia Dias Villela
Town / City: Carmo de Minas
Region: Serra da Mantiqueira in Minas Gerais
Overall: Stonefruits, Cocoa, Pecan, hint of Florals
Sitio Nossa Senhora Aparecida Microlot #9 - Brazil
Nossa Senhora Aparecida has been in Cínthia Dias Villela’s family for more than 60 years. Cínthia is the 4th generation to farm the land, and under her guidance (relying on the wisdom and knowledge of her parents), in 2014 Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aparecida won the Cup of Excellence Late Harvest with the highest average score (92.22) ever given in a COE Brazil Late Harvest competition.
Named after the principle patroness of Brazil (see more below) and located in the privileged region of the Serra da Mantiqueira in Minas Gerais, near the town of Carmo de Minas, Nossa Senhora Aparecida marries the perfect climatic conditions for specialty coffee with exacting post-harvest practices to produce some of the best coffees that Brazil has to offer. Cínthia, Ticiana, Cláudia, and Roney Dias Villela - children of Regina Lucia and Edmo Junqueira Villela – run the farm together with the help of the vast experience of their parents in planting and cultivating the very best varieties in order to obtain the perfect mix of productivity and quality that is a known attribute of coffees from the Mantiqueira de Minas region. In fact, the farm has been certified with the Mantiqueira de Minas seal of Geographical Indication, indicating exactly these qualities.
Cínthia’s father planted the Bourbon trees that produced this coffee at one of the highest points on the farm – approximately at 1200 metres. Harvesting is selective, with only the ripest cherries making their way into the lot. After pulping, the coffee was transported for drying and was carefully protected from rain. Ivanil, the worker responsible for transporting the coffee to the washer, patio, and dryer is highly attentive and assiduously oversees each step in processing.
Cínthia and her family constantly seek to improve their production and processing in order to offer to the world a coffee that meets the highest standards of quality possible. They will continue to compete in future Cups of Excellence and look forward to working with partners to bring these coffees to market.
In October 1717, Dom Pedro de Almeida, Count of Assumar and Governor of the Province of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, was passing through the area of Guaratinguetá, a small city in the Paraíba river valley, during a trip to Vila Rica, an important gold mining site.
As the people of Guaratinguetá decided to hold a feast in his honour, three fishermen, Domingos Garcia, João Alves, and Filipe Pedroso went down to the Paraíba waters to fish. The fishermen prayed to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception that God would grant a good catch. The fishermen, having a run of bad luck, cast their nets in the River Paraiba and dragged up a headless statue of the Virgin Mary. They also salvaged the head and, according to the legend, then netted plenty of fish. After cleaning the statue, they found that it was a black version of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception. Legend has it that when the fishermen recovered the body, then the head, the slender figure of the Aparecida Virgin became so heavy that they couldn't budge it.
The fishermen named the statue Nossa Senhora da Aparecida Conceição (English: Our Lady of the Appeared Conception). Neighbours began to venerate the statue, which came to be known as Our Lady of Aparecida, and devotion grew. The first chapel to the Saint was built in 1745.
Devotion to the statue grew rapidly, particularly among Afro-Brazilians, not only for its black Madonna status, but also because it was reported to have performed a miracle for an enslaved young man. For the following fifteen years, the statue remained within Filipe Pedroso's family. As neighbours came to venerate it as stories of Our Lady of Aparecida's miracles were spread throughout Brazil, and the Pedroso family built her a chapel which soon became too small for so many worshippers. In 1737 the priest of Guaratinguetá built her a chapel on the Morro dos Coqueiros (Hill of Coconut Palms), where public visits began in July 1745.
The number of worshippers increased dramatically, and in 1834 work on a larger church was begun; this became known as the "Old Basilica" when work on the even larger "New Basilica" was started in 1955; it received pontifical approbation in 1980.
According to a local tale the clay statue was imported from Portugal; others say that it was made by Frei Agostinho de Jesus, a monk from São Paulo known for crafting artistic sacred images in clay. The small statue is less than three feet tall. The image was made around 1650, and must have been underwater for years, since it lost its original polychromy.
The image is dark brown, and covered by a stiff dark blue robe of richly embroidered thick cloth with golden clasps. An imperial crown was added in 1904.