Brazilian Coffee: Everything You Need to Know

3 min

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Over the past 150 years, Brazil has remained the world’s largest exporter of coffee. Brazilian coffee accounts for about 33% of the world market. Plantations, with a total area of 27,000 km², are mainly located in the southeastern states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Parana. The country has a mild climate, there are many sunny days a year, and it often rains – these are ideal conditions for coffee trees.

Description. Classic Brazilian coffee has a sweet taste with caramel, nutty and chocolate notes, almost no sourness, full body, smooth velvety texture. Of course, a lot depends on the manufacturer, but most coffee brands have begun to pay more attention to quality, removing the emphasis from quantity.

brazilian coffee

Coffee Production

Brazilian coffee is mainly produced in 6 regions: Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo, São Paulo, Bahia, Rondônia, Paraná. In 2011, Brazil topped the top four in green (unroasted) coffee (followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia). The state is also a major exporter of Arabica and instant coffee.

brazilian coffee

There are more than 220,000 coffee farms in Brazil, mostly in the southeastern states, where the weather conditions are more suitable for the cultivation of this plant. 90% of Brazilian coffee is processed “dry” or “natural” – ripe berries are dried in the sun for 1-4 weeks, then the pulp is removed from them, and the beans are sent for roasting and further processing.

This method is cheaper than “wet” processing or “washing”, when the pulp is removed immediately, but it is also more difficult. In addition, dry processing makes the grains (and, accordingly, the drink) more full-bodied, sweet, aromatic, add velvet notes to the bouquet.

Types and varieties of Brazilian coffee

Like most countries, Brazil specializes in two varieties: Arabica (80%) and Robusta (20%). The latter is mainly concentrated in the northwestern state of Espírito Santo and slightly in Rondônia.

The share of Brazilian coffee in the international market is so great that a crop failure in this South American country could trigger a rise in prices for this invigorating drink around the world. For example, when frosts hit Brazil in 1976 and some of the coffee trees died, the cost of beans doubled.

In Brazil, espresso is highly respected, and, accordingly, local coffee is used mainly in blends for this type of coffee drink.

As for the types, Brazilian coffee varies in:

  1. region of origin;
  2. variety (Bourbon, Mundo Novo, Icatú, Catuaí, Iapar, Catucaí, etc., these are all varieties of Arabica);
  3. the size and color of coffee beans;
  4. cupping (characteristics of taste and smell).

The best coffee varieties

Brazil Santos is considered one of the best Brazilian varieties. This is Arabica with a slight sourness and a complex bouquet. Another “visiting card” of the country is Carmo de Minas, this variety is slightly more sour and fruity.

Also, the word “estate” on the packaging can serve as a certain quality mark – this means that the product is produced in one of the small farms and has unique characteristics.

Famous brands of Brazilian coffee

Well-known brands: Volcanica Coffee, Ferris Coffee, Fresh Roasted Coffee (don’t let the company’s name fool you, it’s actually green unroasted coffee).

Curious facts

  1. Brazil is not only the largest exporter of coffee but also one of the largest consumers – Brazilians are great connoisseurs of an aromatic and invigorating drink. Among other producing countries, only Ethiopia can boast of the same love for coffee.
  2. Instant coffee accounts for 10-20% of all Brazilian coffee exports. This product is made from the most unsuccessful beans that are not suitable for brewed coffee.
  3. Brazil is the only producing country to experience severe frosts affecting crops.
  4. Despite the fact that slavery in Brazil was officially abolished in 1888, on some coffee plantations in this country, working conditions are still close to slave-like conditions (long working hours, poor accommodation, bail, etc.).
  5. Occasionally, Brazilian coffee can have fresh citrus notes – this is mainly characteristic of beans grown in the hills.

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