Written by Liam Miller from The Culture Division.
The south-eastern state of Minas Gerais is one of the largest, most captivating and most mysterious regions in all of Brazil. It’s a labyrinth of luscious green valleys, rolling fertile hills and marshy savannahs that stretch as far as the eye can see.
It sits at the forefront of Brazil’s culinary, art, and culture scene. There are fruits and spices found in Minas that you cannot find anywhere else on Earth. In recent years, there has been a widespread movement for the people of Minas Gerais to lean into its cultural legacy – to celebrate the uniqueness of its heritage and produce.
A storied futebol heritage
Minas has also been centre-stage for some of the most important characters in Brazil’s long footballing history. It’s home to two of Brazil’s ‘big 12’ teams: reigning champions Atlético Mineiro and Cruzeiro, both from the state’s capital – Belo Horizonte.
The great Edson Arantes do Nascimento, otherwise known as Pelé, was born in Três Corações, a small city in the south of Minas Gerais. His is a story we know well.
How about O Fenômeno, arguably the greatest striker the game has ever produced? While he was born in Rio de Janiero, he is an adopted figure in Minas’ football culture.
At 16, following his rejection by Flamengo, Ronaldo joined Cruzeiro at the recommendation of another Brazilian legend, Jairzinho. The Belo Horizonte club became quickly enamored with the teenager, who’s 44 goals in 47 games led them to triumphs in the Copa do Brasil and the Minas Gerais State Championship.
Or what about Tostão, who spent most of his career in his home state of Minas. His ‘little coin’ nickname pointed to his slight stature and delicate ability to turn and contort himself out of trouble with the ball.
With a footballing intelligence and creative flair ahead of its time, he complimented Pele greatly during the 1970 World Cup-winning campaign, which solidified his legacy as one of Brazil’s all-time greats.
His fingerprints are all over the history of Cruzeiro and Minas. To this day, he remains the club’s all-time leading scorer – notching 249 goals in his 11-year spell.
Café Bonito: A tribute to Minas Gerais
Kickoff Coffee’s latest single-origin coffee, Café Bonito, captures the essence of both the wondrous state of Minas Gerais and Brazil’s magical football history. The release is the latest in a long line of coffee tributes from Kickoff, celebrating the world’s most storied footballing nations like Colombia and Italy.
Around 500 kilometers from the city in which Pelé was born is Fazenda São João, an estate farm located deep in the Cerrado region of Minas Gerais. The Cerrado is primarily made up of forest savannah - perfect for cultivating unique coffee beans - and makes up about one fifth of the Brazilian landscape by mass.
Fazenda São João, with an elevation of some 1100 meters, is the birthplace of Café Bonito, making it a product of genuine Mineiro quality. The estate is one of the most sustainable in all of Brazil, with a Rainforest Alliance certification to highlight its environmental and economic sustainability.
What’s more, Kickoff Coffee has partnered with URECE, a non-profit based in the city of Rio de Janeiro, pledging to donate 10% of the proceeds from Café Bonito. Over the years, URECE have created a supportive community for those with visual impairments, bringing people together with the power of the beautiful game. Futebol is a unifying force in Brazil.
Café, Futebol e Música
We’ve teamed up with Kickoff Coffee to bring the sounds of Brazil to your morning coffee routine. Every order of Café Bonito contains a QR code linking you directly to our Spotify playlist; your ticket to The Culture Lounge.