“A Few Questions With…” is a series featuring some of Ally’s partners across the globe. Our goal is to get to know the people who make coffee happen a little better, to talk about their work, and to look forward toward their vision of where coffee is headed. We’re thankful for these relationships that we get to be a part of, and excited to have the opportunity to let these folks tell you about themselves in their own words.
The following responses have been edited for clarity.
Simone Carneiro de Morais Sousa is a fourth generation coffee producer operating Fazenda Santa Quitéria in Cambuquira, Minas Gerais, in the Mantiqueira de Minas region of Brazil. Simone’s involvement in the farm and her passion for coffee has always been strong, where she assumed management of the farm with her husband in 2001, thus changing the long tradition of the property being led by the patriarchs of the Carneiro family dating back to 1889.
Her more than 45 years of experience have helped her to become a pioneering coffee producer in her region—not only did she lead the transition of Fazenda Santa Quitéria to specialty coffee production beginning in 2008, but she also established the AMECAFÉ Mantiqueira (The Association of Coffee Women Entrepreneurs in Serra da Mantiqueira) organization in 2017 with the purpose of supporting women producers through Mantiqueira de Minas.
Today, Simone continues to work alongside her husband, Artur Queiroz de Sousa, and their daughter and son-in-law, Sylvia Morais de Sousa Tinoco and Carlos Fasane Tinoco, guiding them as producers and passing on the passion and dedication for coffee growing to the fifth generation. We began working with Simone in 2017, and are proud to be able to share her work with coffee lovers around the world.
Simone Carneiro de Morais Sousa speaking at the AMECAFÉ Mantiqueira quality competition, October, 2021
Ally: Where does your farm name come from?
Simone: The name of the farm comes from its location, the place where I live is called Santa Quitéria.
A: What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
S: When I have free time, I like to go for a walk in the coffee plantation.
A: What’s your favorite food to have with coffee?
S: When I go for coffee, I really like to accompany it with cheese bread - Pão de Queijo.
Coffee trees at Fazenda Santa Quitéria
A: What does coffee mean to you?
S: The meaning of coffee for me is passion and financial support for my family.
A: What inspired you to start Amecafé Mantiqueira?
S: Starting the Amecafé association as one of the founders, our ideology is to have a group of women with a united purpose to be able to strengthen coffee growing in the region, [and] improve the quality of coffee and life for [their] family members.
A: How has your work changed as a result of your relationship with importers and roasters?
S: Having the opportunity to establish a relationship with the exporter and roasters was important to get to know the coffee that the market and consumers of each country were interested in.
Golden hour falls on young coffee plants at Fazenda Santa Quitéria
A: What has changed in your perspective as a coffee grower over the past five or ten years?
S: It is to value our work as producers. What has changed in recent years [for me] as a producer is understanding the consumer market better. And [we] produce better quality coffee.
A: What is one message you’d like to share with the coffee community?
S: A message of resilience, a lot of faith and work to get good results in coffee production.
Simone with AMECAFÉ producer member Claudia Maria Carneiro Bustamante (left) at the 2021 AMECAFÉ Mantiqueira quality competition
A: What do you hope to see for the future of your farm?
S: At Santa Quitéria we hope to have a better climate for coffee production in the future. And may our family and collaborators always be united to carry out good harvests.
A: What do you hope to see for the future of Amecafé?
S: In the Amecafé association I hope for a lot of unity in the future and that women and their families will always be participants in our challenges and dreams.
A: What do you hope to see for the future of coffee more broadly?
S: I hope in the future that the market will always value the work of coffee growers.