More and more we see the new generations taking over their families’s businesses looking to add value to the production, not only to ensure new markets and better prices, but also to leave their mark.
AgriBrasils interviewed the founder of Café Condessa, Maria Carolina Freire Roberto de Lima. Maria Carolina, 47, graduated Architect and Urbanist, guest teacher in the Agribusiness MBA of Audencia Business School in France, descends from a long tradition of coffee farmers and decided to create the brand Condessa to link the tradition of the family business to her ingenuity.
Café Condessa is a business of roasted coffee, both in beans and grounded. The company is innovative with a high-level product for luxury markets, allying quality and design.
AgriBrasilis – Your Family has dedicated itself to growing coffee for more than 150 years. Could you tell about this story?
Maria Carolina de Lima – It is a collection of stories intertwined, interspersed, entangled. From my mother side, I’m the 5th generation of coffee farmers, from my paternal grandfather I’m the 8th, and from my paternal grandmother I’m the 9th.
It’s always important to recall that tradition is not to be lived, but to be celebrated. I like to mention that, because people who live daily a tradition seem to be chained, with no free will, anachronistic, stuck in a situation or time that doesn’t exist anymore. The function of my company is to carry coffee with all it’s tradition to the future.
It is a tenuous line that divides living from celebrating tradition. It is needed to have repertoire, information, and culture and to opt for personal development. Using human sciences such as philosophy, anthropology, sociology, history and see form the outside. Then everything works out, because culture and tradition, when used properly make anything special.
AgriBrasilis – How did the idea of industrializing coffee came about?
Maria Carolina de Lima – Because I’m the heir of a coffee farm I’ve decided to do something that had more to do with me. Instead of belonging to coffee, with my company, coffee belongs to me.
AgriBrasilis – Is the coffee processed 100% self-cultivation or is there also third-party suppliers?
Maria Carolina de Lima – The product Champagne is from the region of Champagne, and Cognac is from the region of Cognac. Condessa coffee is from Serra dos Lima, a set of hills in the south of Minas Gerais State, which is named after my family. Today the coffee comes only from my farm, but I could expand and buy from other farms within this terroir. Special coffees are not raw ones, but high quality final products.
AgriBrasilis – How is the quality control, from harvest to sales? Does the production adopt sustainable measures?
Maria Carolina de Lima – When I decided to create my company, I wanted it to be a bridge that linked the farm to the customer. It would be correct to call my activity branch of “Bridge” or “Umbrella’, because it encompasses several activities and processes.
I didn’t create the company for profit, but aiming the processes, because profits would come if process was accepted.
What I looked for was Fair Trade, because despite nowadays many companies bet on this model, in practice it is different. So, since nobody wanted to make Fair Trade with me I decided to make it alone. And it worked!
The characteristic of Café Condessa is having its value in itself, and communicating that in an elegant way, with calm and respect. We are a Brazilian company, internationally awarded, that launches trends and a new look to what is ours and how it is done.
AgriBrasilis – What are the challenges to enter the market of industrialized coffee, where competitors are big companies?
Maria Carolina de Lima – Café Condessa is an innovative company, because it knows how to use strategy to celebrate its culture and tradition building a product that despite apparently the same as everyone else’s, can’t be copied. It innovated because created an unprecedented product through a new way of looking at coffee. We also align dialog, exchange of information and transparency as basis for innovation.
“Be yourself and become a trend” is one of the phrases that define the company. We never copy what other companies do, maintaining a pioneer position.
AgriBrasilis – What are the flavor characteristics of Condessa coffee?
Maria Carolina de Lima – Condessa coffee is balanced, full-bodied and has nuances of almonds.
AgriBrasilis –What is your message to other entrepreneurs?
Maria Carolina de Lima – Idea is what you have on your mind, invention is materializing your idea and innovation is when the public accepts the idea you materialized. I try to explain that Picasso didn’t become a famous painter because of the paint, but he used it to paint his pictures. Condessa Coffee isn’t innovative because of coffee, but uses it to be so. Because to me, my company is a platform to express my ideas and opinions.