São Judas Tadeu Pulped Natural

  • Country
  • State
  • Region
    Chapada Diamantina
  • Town
  • Altitude
    1,300 – 1,380m above sea level
  • Variety
    Yellow and Red Catuaí
  • Processing
    Pulped Natural
  • Owner
    Antônio and Terezinha Rigno
  • Awards
    Cup of Excellence 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020

Complex, floral fragrance with brown sugar, cherry and chocolate mousse in the cup. Marmalade sweetness and a creamy body.

Fazenda São Judas Tadeu lies outside the small town of Piatã in Bahia’s Chapada Diamantina region, at an altitude of 1,300 to 1,380 metres above sea level. Chapada Diamantina translates to ”Diamond Plateau” in Portuguese, and for 100 years this area was mined for the gemstones embedded in its cliffs. Today the region is famous for its specialty coffee.

Piatã is a very unique and privileged coffee growing region in Brazil. The area has high altitudes up to 1,400 meters above sea level, which is very high for Brazil. In winter, the temperature ranges from 2°C to 18°C, and these factors, combined with the area’s rich soil and growing conditions, present favourable conditions for the production of high-quality coffee. The coffees from this region are very different to other Brazilians and tend to be very bright, transparent, floral and distinctive. This region has only recently started to become recognised internationally for its high quality since the 2009 Cup of Excellence, where five of the top 10 spots came from Piatã. The region’s dominance in the awards has continued every year since and incredibly, in the 2016 Cup of Excellence Pulped Natural competition, an astounding 19 of the 24 winning lots came from Piatã!

One producer that has done exceptionally well in the Cup of Excellence and been in the top ten countless times is Antônio Rigno. Antônio owns Fazenda São Judas Tadeu along with his wife Terezinha and has been farming coffee in the region for more than 40 years. Antonio owns a number of farms in Piatã and is very well respected in the community, with many farmers in the area looking to him for advice and mentorship as well as processing their coffee at his wet mill located at São Judas Tadeu.

Antônio and Terezinha are incredibly warm and always welcoming, and considered important pillars in the community. They regularly bring the coffee community together at the town’s clubhouse and also runs a café in town, where they showcase the regions exceptional coffees. Cup of Excellence and other quality awards cover the walls. Over the years the pair have worked tirelessly to produce great coffees – and have helped their neighbours and surrounding community do the same by helping them implement improved agricultural practices to improve quality

Sharing his knowledge and expertise gives Antônio a great sense of purpose and pride. “There are no secrets” he explained to us. “Here, the people in Piata are like my family. I want to help them produce great coffee. It’s my duty and my joy”.

Antonio’s coffees have placed in Bahia’s state-sponsored Coffee Quality Competition countless times, including winning 1st place in the first 3 consecutive years the competition was ever run (2004 – 2007). He also has many Cup of Excellence awards including 2nd place in 2014 (with a score of 93.65 points) and first place 2015, (with a score of 91.22)

Fazenda São Judas extends over 35 hectares, of which 15 are under coffee. The farm is mainly planted out with Catuaí varietal trees, although Antônio is also trialling some Bourbon trees and will continue planting these if his trial is a success.

Antônio tries to farm in the most sustainable way as possible, keeping his use of chemical pesticides to a minimum and recycling coffee pulp to use as fertiliser. Large shade trees protect the coffee from the sun and prevent erosion throughout the coffee plantation, and the rest of the farm is covered by natural forest, which Antônio both protects and extends by regularly planting trees.

Antônio looks after and rewards his workers, providing them with job security and good working conditions and sharing the fruits of his success—after the win in the 2011 Cup of Excellence, he purchased a motorcycle for each of his full-time employees. Most of his staff have been with him for over 20 years. “They are like family, and care as much as I do about quality” he explained. “I am very lucky”. They are also, Antônio claims, the secret to his success. “Many people ask me how I have been so successful in the Cup of Excellence competition. The terroir is important, but the real reason is my people.” 


Antônio has invested in modern processing facilities, including a wet mill and both conventional and covered patios. He ensures cherries are picked by hand only when fully ripe, with two passes a day during the peak of the harvest. This job is mainly conducted by women (called ”panhadeiras de cafe”), who are extremely disciplined and ensure only the very best cherries are selected. The cherries are then taken by tractors to the wet mill (located right on the farm). A dedicated team of ten processes the coffee at the mill with great care. “We treat every single lot like it has the potential to be a 90+ coffee” he explained.

This coffee has been processed using the pulped natural process. After pulping the beans are then sun-dried on patios with their mucilage still attached—spread in layers of about four centimetres and raked several times a day. Finally, the beans are separated into numbered lots which are stored and rested in parchment in a purpose-built warehouse and then cupped for quality control prior to export.

Great care is required in order to produce coffee of the quality that São Judas Tadeu consistently produces, from preparing the land appropriately, growing and planting seedlings, all the way through to processing. Antônio ensures that his processes are reviewed and guided annually by technicians from AGRIPEC, an agricultural support community, and is highly attentive to new technologies or methods that will improve quality.

We feel incredibly lucky to represent such unique and delicious coffees from Antônio and Terezinha and share them with you. We hope you enjoy this coffee!