Coffee has not always grown in Brazil ! In 1727, the Portuguese who then colonized the region imported the first plantations from Guyana. Over the years, coffee growing has spread over the territory. In 1920, the country provided 80% of international coffee production. Today, it remains the 1 st producer in the world. What are the reasons for this supremacy? Why is coffee from Brazil so popular? Let's discover the culture of black gold on Brazilian lands .
Coffee production in Brazil
Some key figures :
- 1 st world producer of coffee.
- 32% of the international market.
- 2.7 million tons produced each year.
- 300,000 farms dedicated to coffee growing.
In order to ensure this production, the country has many agricultural properties devoted to the cultivation of coffee: the fazendas . These farms, equipped with modern machinery and technology, allow increased industrial output. Conversely, other farms decide to favor a more artisanal, organic or even biodynamic culture. This approach echoes the development of specialty coffee, which relies on product traceability and quality.
Coffee is grown mainly in the south-eastern regions:
- Sao Paulo;
- South of Minas;
- Minas Gerais;
- Spirit of Santo;
- Bahia (further north).
The climate is conducive to coffee growing. In addition, the slightly steep reliefs allow the use of machines for harvesting ( stripping ). The latter takes place once or twice a year: between May and August.
Once picked, the fruits of the coffee tree, called cherries, are dried. Traditionally, the drying is done in the open air: the cherries are then spread out on the ground or installed in raised beds. This method is adapted to the Brazilian climate which offers a marked dry season. Wet and semi-wet lanes can also be used to extract the coffee beans from the fruit.
The diversity of production and cultivation methods explains the immense variety of aromas that can be found in Brazilian coffee.
Brazilian coffee varieties: a wide aromatic panel
Coffees from Brazil are appreciated for their low acidity and their note of nuts. Brazilian Arabica is sweet and indulgent and can exhibit flavors of vanilla and hazelnut. For these reasons, it is often used as a base in coffee blends, such as our signature “16h37 – Brazil • Indonesia” blend .
Arabica represents 70% of production and Robusta the remaining 30%. The main cultivated varieties are:
- Typica : this is the oldest variety of Arabica. It is renowned for its aromatic complexity.
- Mundo Novo : we discovered it in the 1940s in Brazil. She is prized in her home country, but is sometimes criticized for her lack of sweetness.
- Icatu : it is a hybrid variety of arabica and robusta.
- Bourbon : this coffee is appreciated for its finesse and lightness.
- Caturra : it takes its name from the city in which it was found in Brazil. Caturra reveals flavors similar to Bourbon.
Altitude plays a major role in the flavors of coffee. Indeed, the higher the coffee tree grows, the more the acidity will be pronounced and the aromas complex. From 1,500 to 2,000 meters, the final drink will be spicy and fruity.
The recognition of Brazilian coffee: the Cup of Excellence
The Cup of Excellence was created in Brazil in 1999 with the aim of promoting the quality of Brazilian coffee and attracting buyers. This competition aims to reward and promote the best producers in the country. The coffees awarded by the jury are then auctioned online in limited quantities.
Today, the competition has been exported internationally, particularly to Africa. It has made it possible to highlight specialty coffee, in Brazil and around the world, which is part of a more transparent and more sustainable approach. The “Cup of Excellence” label is a guarantee of product excellence for the consumer. It also guarantees fairer remuneration for farmers.
The reputation of Brazilian coffee is second to none. Thanks to its reliefs and its rich botanical varieties, the country offers beverages that appeal to most palates. Long used as a base in blends, Brazilian coffee is now asserting its character and excellence. Specialty coffee, supported by the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association (BSCA), takes its place in order to promote the work of producers.