Brazil - The Industry Leader
What makes Brazilian coffee so special?
Brazil is famous for its iconic carnival festival, its talented soccer players (Neymar, hello!), and, of course, tropical beaches and the captivating Amazon rainforest. But there is one more thing that sets it apart from other countries in the world – Brazil is the leader of coffee production. So how did the gorgeous country develop its coffee industry? What is special about coffee beans in Brazil? We've got answers for everything!
The history behind the cup
The first coffee plantation in Brazil was established in 1770 in Rio de Janeiro. That is when a relatively small export trade to Europe began. The coffee plant was brought to the country by French settlers. At first, farming took place in the North, after that, it spread along the coasts. During that time, sugar cane was Brazil's biggest crop, but as Caribbean sugar became a leader in production, the country could not compete. Due to this, Brazil turned its focus to coffee production.
Things got a lot more serious in the 1800s as coffee production reached new heights. At the beginning of the 19th century, 1720 pounds of coffee were exported, while in 1820, the number was already 12 896 000 pounds. 20 years passed and the export reached 137 300 000. As the 19th century came to an end, Brazil was selling more than a billion pounds of coffee every year, making it a leader in the whole industry.
Thanks to the enormous growth of production, Brazil's society and economy changed as well. Coffee farmers had an impact on the proclamation of Brazil as a Republic (in 1889). Due to the striving industry, many Brazilians became wealthy, and that, of course, had a positive effect on the whole country. Coffee attracted investments that allowed to improve the railway infrastructure, credit expansion, as well as the development of banking infrastructure.
But not everything was as lovely and easy as it sounds. To Brazil's coffee era, there was also a dark side. Back then, slave labor was a huge part of the industry. The abolition of the slave trade in 1888 had a dramatic impact on the coffee market in Brazil. Furthermore, the industry was almost destroyed as slaves were freed. Then the country's government created new programs that invited Europeans to come and work in the coffee farms. That proved to create a stronger link between Europe and Brazil and the people who consumed their coffee. Of course, these actions also made the country even more multi-cultural.
Brazil – still the largest coffee producer in the world
Although Brazil managed to adapt after the major changes in its workforce, a new challenge stood in its way. The USA was the primary buyer of Brazilian coffee. So, when Great Depression occurred, the whole market took a huge hit. Prices went down, trade diminished. Thousands of bags of Brazilian coffee were destroyed, and some of the producers never recovered from the enormous losses. Until the end of the 20th century, Brazil had to struggle quite a bit, but fortunately, the coffee industry did not disappear. Despite many hardships, Brazil still remains the largest producer of coffee in the world. Furthermore, the beautiful country produces almost three times as much as the second-largest producer – Vietnam.
A large part of the coffee is exported all around the world. However, Brazilians themselves enjoy coffee. In fact, it is the most consumed product by individuals over 10. Therefore a lot of coffee stays within the country as well.
Much like wine may differ greatly based on the local terroir and climate, each coffee that is made in a different region in Brazil can have a particular level of acidity, sweetness, as well as a specific taste and body. In Brazil, regions that produce coffee have received protected Geographical Indication status. These are: Alta Mogiana, Cerrado Mineiro, Norte Pioneiro do Paraná, Serra da Mantiqueira de Minas Gerais and Região de Pinhal. This special status means that the coffee with designation comes only from the area specified, and the drink has certain qualities and taste.
Innovations in the coffee-making process
Nowadays, coffee farmers and producers in Brazil have the luxurious chance to focus more on the quality – rather than quantity of coffee. Our coffee is made in Parana and Sao Paulo, Brazi, and is guaranteed to have excellent flavors. In Sao Paulo, you will find the infamous Port of Santo. However, the altitude is one of the highest in Brazil, ranging from 900 to 1100 meters above sea level. As you may know, when it comes to making coffee, altitude is one thing that really matters.
One of the most interesting aspects of coffee making in Brazil is the fact that it has introduced a variety of new plants. Some are hybrid mutants, and some are cultivated in a lab so that it would be perfect for the country's weather conditions. If you are a coffee lover, perhaps you have heard of plants such as Caturra, Maragogype, and Mundo Novo. They were all discovered in Brazil.
Another innovation that the South American country has come up with is the “pulp natural” processing method, which is what also we use. With this method, coffee plants are pulped and allowed to dry while the fruity mucilage is still a part of the bean. That means that the usual fermentation process is skipped. That creates a crisp acidity and also a heavy body and sweetness that is usually characteristic of natural processed coffee.
How does a cup of Brazilian coffee taste like?
Brazil is a big country. Therefore it has a diverse geography, which means that coffee can also have different flavors and notes. In Brazil, you may also find Robusta beans that are grown in grassland. They typically have mild earthy notes and a bit of bitterness. As you rise in elevation, you may notice flavors that are more delicate and sweet. Sometimes you may feel floral and fruity notes. Some blends may even feature spicy, nutty, and earthy beans. Our coffee has elegant cocoa notes.
What sets Brazil apart from other producing countries is its coffee classification systems. In the gorgeous country, coffee is classified based on small details – color, cupping, and screen sorting. Later it is rated, from best to worst, as strictly soft, soft, softish, hard, Riada, Rio, and Rio zona. For coffee lovers, that is good, of course. Brazil offers a lot of information that can help determine what the quality of the particular coffee is.
Fun facts about Brazilian coffee:
- In Brazil, children also drink coffee, and that is considered to be completely normal.
- The total land area that is used for growing coffee plants is almost the size of Belgium.
- In 1932, Brazilian athletes were planning to go to Olympics. To pay for their trip, they had to sell coffee.
- Small coffee farms (that have less than 25 acres) take up the most prominent part of the production process (they account for 71% of coffee farms)
- It is forbidden to import raw coffee in Brazil.
- Cafezinho, a small cup of black coffee, is a popular drink in the stunning country.