Inacio first arrived in Minas Gerais in 1976 with the dream of producing great coffee via sustainable and innovative practices. After acquiring his own farm in Cerrado Mineiro in 1984, Rio Brilhante has grown to become one of the biggest farms in the region, as well as one of the largest in the country; spanning over 2000 hectares. Since Inacio planted those first trees over 30 years ago, he has continued to strive for excellence within the speciality industry, mainly via his use of rigorous quality control methods.
Made up of 55 separate counties, the region of Cerrado Mineiro can be found to the east of Minas Gerais, one of the primary coffee-growing regions of Brazil. Famed for its quality coffee production, the region ranges from 1,000 to 1,250 metres above sea level, providing ideal conditions for coffee production due to the perfect balance of wet and dry seasons. Cerrado alone is estimated to produce as much as 12.5% of Brazil’s total coffee output and has now received ‘Origin status’, meaning only coffee from ‘Cerrado’ can be called ‘Cerrado’; similar to Champagne in France. This exceptional quality is noted to result from a combination of climate, soil, terrain and the general ‘know-how’ of its people, something Inacio is proud to be a part of.
Inacio originally named his farm Rio Brilhante, translating in English as ‘bright river’, to honour the clear crystal water that provides life to his farm. This lifeblood that Urban notes to be so important to Rio Brilhante success originates from ‘Guarani Aquifer’, the second largest underwater reservoir on the planet, partly located underneath the Cerrado region, but also stretching as far as Paraguay and Uruguay. As well as the colossal 1600+ hectares dedicated to coffee, Urban also has a further 700+ hectares, where he grows a combination of cotton, soy, corn, tomato, beans and grazing pasture for cattle. Urban’s sons are now also involved in the running of the farm. Urban notes that family care helps to keep responsibility and innovation at the heart of best practices for Rio Brilhante. He also believes his sons’ passion, will help to honour Rio Brilhante’s existing 30-year history, for decades to come.