Cerca de Pedras São Benedito Natural

  • Country
  • State
  • Region
    Chapada Diamantina
  • Town
  • Elevation
    1,270m above sea level
  • Variety
  • Processing
  • Farm Owner
    Silvio Leite
  • Relationship Length
    Since 2020

Blood plum, red grape and brown sugar, balanced by toasted pecan. Intensely sweet and jammy.

This coffee was produced by our dear friend, coffee mentor and sourcing partner in Brazil, Silvio Leite. This is Silvio’s fourth harvest from his farm, Fazenda Cerca de Pedras, which is located in Piatã, a unique coffee growing region in Bahia’s Chapada Diamantina region. This particular microlot comes from ‘São Benedito,’ the largest and first plot to be planted at the estate.


We have worked with Silvio for many years to source the very best coffees that Brazil has to offer; however, we have only recently been able to actually purchase coffee produced by Silvio himself! For many years he talked about his dream of owning his own farm, and we were thrilled to see this dream become a reality in 2020.

“This farm comes as a fulfilment of a dream. Having been in the coffee business for over 40 years, the dream of producing my own coffee comes true now with Fazenda Cerca de Pedra Sao Benedito, and my first harvest.” – Silvio Leite, 2021

Silvio purchased this 30-hectare farm in 2019. Currently, 6 hectares are planted with coffee, including some Gesha, SL-28 and Pacamara varieties that Silvio is trialing on the land. This particular lot is 100% Catuaí. 

To ensure he is set up for success, Silvio has an all-star team — Antônio Rigno (of the multi-award-winning São Judas Tadeu) is acting as Silvio’s advisor, Kleumon Silva Moreira (owner of Sitio Canaã) is the manager of the farm, and further assistance is provided by Wedson Marques de Souza, whose farm placed 4th in 2021’s Cup of Excellence competition. Silvio has worked as an advisor and business partner with these producers for many years, and there is a lot of trust and mutual respect between each of them. With all four minds together, we are excited to see what they are capable of! 

When first asked about the future of the farm, Silvio explained that his ultimate goal is to make the farm “A model… a coffee school to showcase how to sustainably produce specialty coffee. With the help of an agronomist, we are sharing this knowledge with many small producers in the region who may not have the resources to afford external consultation and advice.” We have been extremely excited to see the farm’s development and success since it was first established by Silvio. 

Today, Cerca de Pedras serves as Silvio’s centre of operations in Piatã. The beautiful homestead is Silvio’s residence during the harvest and when he visits the region, and all evaluations are done at his cupping lab on site. Led by Kleumon Moreira of Sitio Canaã, Silvio’s team assist with the roasting and cupping, as well as with the day-to-day operations of the property. At the wet mill, Kleumon also manages processing for harvested cherries. While some controlled fermentation experimentation happens on site, the focus is on producing sweet, clean and repeatable coffees with a refined acidity and a distinct taste of place. Facilities are also made available to other producers, like Kleumon himself, and they serve as a model for local producers to learn techniques that will improve their crop.

In recent years, Silvio has invested in building a water reserve, to stay ahead of climate change and ensure his production doesn’t suffer during dry years. The water reserve is connected to a drip irrigation system, which consists of a series of perforated pipes running beneath the trees to deliver water directly to their roots. Silvio hopes that by showing the benefits of the system to other producers in the region, they can build their own reserves and prepare themselves for the future.

Head here to learn more about Silvio and the incredible work he’s done in Brazil.


Piatã is a unique and distinct coffee-growing region. The coffees produced here tend to be very floral, sweet and complex, and quite different from those that we source elsewhere in Brazil. There are two main factors behind this: coffee grows at elevations of up to 1,400 meters above sea level, which is very high for Brazil; additionally, temperatures in Piatã range from about 2°C to 18°C in winter, some of the lowest in the country. Combined, the high elevation and cool climate are key in slowing down the maturation of the coffee cherries, leading to an increased concentration of sugars in the bean. The result is a cup profile that is bright, transparent, and distinctive. Piatã’s relative closeness to the Equator line ensures coffee trees can experience such drastic conditions without being affected by frost, unlike other, more traditional coffee-growing regions in the country.

Piatã’s terroir is unique in Brazil, and contributes greatly to its strong regional distinction. The soil is nutrient-rich and slightly humid, creating a healthy and diverse ecosystem that is home to some 1,600 individual plant species. While the highlands of the Chapada Diamantina are rugged and dry, the area surrounding Piatã is filled with streams, waterfalls and even swamps, providing water for irrigation and agricultural techniques.

The town was first internationally recognised for its high quality in 2009, when five of the top 10 spots in Brazil’s Cup of Excellence came from Piatã. The region’s dominance in the competition has continued every year since, particularly in 2016 when an astounding 19 of the 24 winning lots came from Piatã!  These coffees are extremely limited as production here is relatively low, given the small scale of the farms in this part of Brazil. MCM has been sourcing coffee from this region since 2012, thanks to the support of longtime partner and coffee mentor Silvio Leite. Head here to learn more about beautiful Piatã, and here for more on Silvio and the incredible work he’s done in Brazil.

The region of Piatã is the traditional home of the Cariri and Maracá indigenous people, who were defeated during the Portuguese invasion of Brazil in the seventeenth century. While most of the remaining Cariri people were displaced to other regions within the state of Bahia, eventually becoming members of other indigenous communities, the Maracás have a nearby municipality located on their historical capital city named in their honour. The word “piatã” translates to “hard foot or fortress” in the indigenous Tupi language (which was spoken by most First Nations People along Brazil’s coast).


At Cerca de Pedras São Benedito, processing starts on the field. The team closely monitors the Brix degree of coffee cherries, as this gives them a good indication of when they have hit peak maturation – the perfect time for picking. Cherries were carefully harvested by hand, mostly by local women (called “panhadeiras de cafe”) who are extremely disciplined and ensure only the very best cherries are selected.

This coffee was then naturally processed. Cherries were washed gently and carefully laid out in greenhouses to dry on raised African beds. During drying, the cherries were turned several times a day to ensure they were drying evenly. At this stage, the coffee is primarily left in the shade, which slows down and extends the drying considerably. Silvio tells us this is key in improving and ‘saving’ the fructose and all positive attributes found in the fruit, which will contribute to a higher quality in the final cup. Finally, the beans were separated into numbered lots, and later stored and rested in parchment in a purpose-built warehouse. They were then cupped for quality control prior to export.