Brazil has been the world's largest grower and exporter of coffee for well over 150 years. Approximately one third of all the coffee in the world is grown in Brazil. The country produces a combination of high quality robusta and arabica coffees. Because Brazil is such a dominant supplier of coffee across the world, any factors affecting production in the region has almost always had a knock on effect on pricing of coffee globally.
Brazillian coffees are traditionally low altitude coffees, low in acidity, heavy in body and sweet with chocolatey and nutty flavours, however, there is a small amount of high altitude, juicier, acidic coffees found in the region (such as our Pessego filter coffee).
Coffee was introduced to Brazil from French Guiana. Interestingly, the coffee was introduced thanks to an affair between Portuguese Lt. Col Francisco del Melo Palheta and the Guianan governor's wife while Brazil was still under Portugese rule. The lieutenant began the affair to gain assistance in smugging seeds across the border, which worked, as she secretly gave the lieutenant bouquet's containing cuttings of coffee plants to carry with him. At first, ccoffee was only popular with European colonists but popularity in the United States and mainland Europe grew and in 1820 production boomed for the coffee industry in the wider global market. Those who controlled production profitted massively from the massive explosion in popularity and soon became known as "coffee barons". Thier influence would have significant impact on the government's policies and support of the coffee industry. By 1830 Brazil became the coffee giant it is today.
As one of the world's largest producers of green coffee, Brazil is home to a large assortment of coffee growing regions:
- Bahia - One of the northernmost regions in the east of Brazil. A young region that only started growing in the early seventies but has become renowned for its quality and innovation in production, in fact, in the 2009 Cup Of Excellence, 5 out of 10 lots awarded were from Bahia.
- Cerrado de Bahia (West Bahia) - The most high tech producer in the country, lending itself to large scale production. The region has high altitudes, and warm climates with dry Summers and rainy Winters that result in full bodied, sweet coffees.
- Planalto de Bahia - A smaller growing region in Bahia that produces higher quality coffees due to higher altitudes and cooler climates.
- Chapada Diamantina - A beautiful region of Brazil, well known for its national parks. The region is well known for its valleys and mountains that make up the beautiful landscape. The higher altitudes and cooler climates lend it the nickname "Coffee In The Clouds", producing bold, acidic flavours.
- Minas Gerais - Lies in the southeast of the country and has some of the highest mountains in Brazil, perfect for growing coffeee.
- Cerrado - Translates as "Tropical Savannah". Cerrado is a large region with 55 municipilaties with farms ranging from medium sied to large estates. You'll find varietals such as "Mundo Novo" here that produce high acidity and a medium body with lots of sweetness. This is the region our Brazilian filter Pessego is sourced from.
- Sul De Minas - Home to a large portion of Brazil's coffee production efforts, this region is responsible for 30% of the country's coffee found mostly on small farms. The coffee you find here is full bodied with citric sweetness and fruity aromas.
- Chapadas de Minas - Further north than the other regions clustered ion the south, this region takes advantage of the flat landscape and mechanizes most of its production.
- Matas de Minas - One of the earliest producers in Brazil that became rich on coffee between 1850 and 1930. This region is characterised by its undulating landscape and small farms typically only 20 acres on average, handpicked by farmers. There are plenty of farms producing great coffee here, that is typically sweet with caramel or chocolate notes.
- Sao Polo - Brazil'smost iconic coffee growing state, that's also home to the Port of Santos; Brazil's main coffee exporting port.
- Mogiana - The most popular growing region in Sao Polo that produces high quality coffee with sweet and balanced cupping profiles due to its balance in altitudes, temperature and terrain.
- Esporito Santo - While it is relatively small compared to the other regions in Brazil, this region produces the second largest chunk of the anual harvest, however 80% of the coffee it produces is from Conilon Capixaba, producing robusta while the rest is arabica from Montanhas do Espírito Santo, producing a cup that is high in acidity and fruitiness.
- Mato Grosso & Mato Grosso Do Sul - This region produces only miniscule amounts of Brazil's annual harvest and is better suited for raising cattle and growing soybeans due to its large highlands.
- Parana - One of the most important agricultural areas in Brazil. This region produces 25 percent of Brzil's agricultural output despite only having 2.5 percent of the country's land. Coffee was once the largest crop here but a frost in 1975 caused the farmer's based here to diversify their crops. However coffee farms here are still quite dense and produce large outputs. Lack of altitudes in this region do prevent the production of very high quality coffee, however.