Brazilian Coffee Guide – Everything You Should Know!

Brazilian Coffee Guide – Everything You Should Know!

If you love drinking coffee, you may already know that there’s a good chance it was produced in Brazil. As the number one coffee producer in the world, the drink that millions of people sip in the morning, is a part of the modern Brazilian heritage.

Why is Brazil such a large producer of coffee? What are the mechanisms that make coffee production work, and in turn, help you be more productive at work?

How ethical are production practices? And most importantly, what is the tastiest way to experience this Brazilian beverage? Let’s explore some of these questions:

Editor’s Note: For best coffee reviews, check out Jiale Coffee more in depth! We love bringing you daily updates.

Brazilian Coffee Country: A Deep, Rich “Brewing” History

First, realize that coffee doesn’t truly come from Brazil, at least not originally. It is said to have originated in Africa, and it wasn’t until the eighteenth century, when Europe took South America by storm, that coffee was imported to Brazil.

Coffee production soared as Brazil monopolized the market. Perhaps crucial to its success was the Boston Tea Party: with Americans boycotting tea, many turned to coffee instead, and the trend began around the same time in Europe.

After taking off at full speed, coffee continued strong all the way through the 1920s. But with the advent of the Great Depression, the reign of the Brazilian coffee bean fell out of grace. Only for a little while, though.

The bean has had a comeback, though not as brilliant as the blazing glory with which it began. It is still, however, supplying roughly a third of the world’s coffee.

You’ve got to hand it to Brazil: 1/3rd of the entire coffee pie, concentrated all in one country.

Does Brazil Have The Perfect Coffee Climate?

How did Brazil become so involved in the coffee business? Americas have many countries that European travelers could have introduced coffee to. Why Brazil? There actually is a good reason for this.

Brazil is located along the equator. That means its climate is perfect for growing coffee beans. The coffee plant thrives in the warm, equatorial tropics. Along the equator, it is usually hot and moist, which speeds up plant growth.

That’s why Brazil is blessed with its rain forests. It also happens to be why the country became the perfect place for the coffee trend to take off.

Brazil’s wet and dry seasons give the seedlings just the right balance of feast and famine. In addition to the rain forest, Brazil has many beautiful mountains. The high altitude is good for the coffee bean.

Since there is less oxygen in the highlands, the coffee plant will take its time growing. This means there will be a greater concentration of flavor in the bean, and an all around tastier product.

Unfortunately, Brazil’s perfect coffee climate might soon become a thing of the past, as temperatures continue to rise. This contributes to drought that will plague Brazil, which may only get worse in the years to come.

In addition to drought, some insects thrive on boiling temperatures. So, coffee plants will have to fight not only lack of water, but more hungry bugs, who apparently enjoy a caffeine buzz just as much as we do.

Enjoy your Brazilian coffee while you still can. It looks as if it might become a rare commodity. Heat isn’t the only enemy of the coffee plant, however.

Believe it or not, the plant must also stave off the bitter cold. Over the years, Brazil has experienced some extreme frosts that have harmed coffee production. All it takes is an early frost, and coffee farms suffer.

The land seems to be just as passionate as the people. Whereas Brazilians often show their passion through creativity, the Brazilian climate showcases it’s passion with crazy moods that swing from too hot to too cold.

How Much Coffee Does Brazil Actually Make?

There’s not too much to worry about, though. Coffee has not gone extinct yet. In fact, coffee is still a huge commodity in Brazil.

As of 2017, Brazil exported $4.6 billion USD of coffee in one year. They are estimated to make 49.2 million, 60-kilogram bags in 2018. With over 220,000 coffee farms, it’s no wonder they’re turning out java like crazy.

Brazil’s Three Largest Coffee Producing Regions

#1. Minas Gerias

Most of Brazil’s coffee is produced in the state of Minas Gerais, the country’s second most populated area. This is because the state has some of Brazil’s tallest mountains. In fact, Minas Gerais was, at one point, known more for its mines than its coffee. Remember, coffee thrives on tropical mountains.

#2. Espirito Santo

A small coastal state, peppered with tropical beaches, Espirito Santo is Brazil’s second largest coffee producer. Known for its family-run coffee farms, the state focuses on lower elevation harvests, and grows mostly robusta beans.

While the majority of its coffee might not be as high grade as the coffee from Minas Gerias, it still has that authentically Brazilian taste.

#3. Sao Paulo

Sao Paulo is one of the largest cities in Brazil. Like New York City, Sao Paulo is part of a larger state with the same name. This is where the Port of Santos is located, where much of Brazil’s coffee is exported from.

Within this state, known for its mammoth metropolises, are also some beautiful rural lands, wherein coffee is farmed. Within its borders is the Mogiana valley, with its famed Mogiana coffee, grown from lush volcanic soil.

Brazil’s Abundant Assortment Of Coffees

From Minas Gerias comes some of the world’s finest arabica variety. The high altitudes allow the fruit to grow slowly and richly.

Arabica is the most common type of coffee bean cultivated in Brazil. The next most common is Robusta, which is not as high-end as arabica.

Espirito Santo produces the largest amount of Brazil’s robusta. Although Sao Paulo also contributes to robusta production, of note is its delectable Mogiana coffee.

These are very lucrative varieties, and can be found in coffee shops around the world.

How Brazilian Coffee Is Made

Coffee beans don’t start out as beans, but rather as coffee cherries. In Brazil, most of the coffee is processed using dry processing.

Ripe, red cherries are picked and laid in the sun to dry. The cherry shrivels up, forming a shell around it’s seed (the coffee bean). All the flavor from the cherry has been transferred to the bean, through the drying process.

The shell is then separated from the bean. The beans are then sorted by size, and are ready to be exported and turned into coffee grounds.

The coffee beans are then roasted, brewed, and served piping hot. Coffee, brewed Brazilian-style, is called a Cafezinho. It usually involves adding sugar to water, and bringing it almost to a boil before adding coffee grounds, and pouring them through a cloth filter. Usually, it is served nice and black.

The Best Brazilian Coffee To Try

delicious brazilian coffee in mug

It’s hard to say what is the best Brazilian coffee, because there are so many great brands to choose from. When it comes down to it, it’s a simple matter of taste.

One of the most popular brands is Cafe Pilao. Cafe Pilao provides a strong taste and is bitter, but not overpowering. Brazil Cerrado coffee is a sweet and savory favorite, known for being creamy with hints of hazelnut and chocolate.

Cafe Caboclo is another popular brand. It is said to have a more traditionally Brazilian flavor, and is often described as fresh or smooth.

What kind of coffee do you like? Whatever the case may be, there is something for everyone when it comes to Brazilian coffee.

The Ethics Of A Brazilian Cup Of Joe

Unfortunately, working conditions aren’t always great for coffee farmers. Some workers are even treated like slaves. Big brands, such as Nestle, struggle to ensure that all the coffee they buy and sell are sourced ethically. If this angers you, consider this. It’s hard for us as consumers to tell which businesses are using ethically produced goods. Sometimes, companies even have trouble tracking where all their own goods come from.

All is not lost, however. There are sites online that try to track different organization’s business records. If you are concerned, that might be a good place to start.

Another good idea is to familiarize yourself with the “Fair Trade” label. If this label is displayed on a product, it means that the company has committed to ethical employment practices. Even better, it means the company has been held to that commitment standard, by undergoing regular evaluations. Some Fair Trade Brazilian coffee brands to consider are Fresh Roasted Coffee, or Wilderness Coffee.

Fair Trade brands often support good causes. Cafe Femenino, for example, is a Brazilian coffee brand that empowers women, by giving them a more active role in running their farms.

Brazil’s Fading Treasure

Many Brazilian farmers are ditching coffee, due to the ever worsening drought conditions. So enjoy your coffee while you still can.

Whether you like fancy gourmet arabica, or a casual cup of robusta, there is nothing like good old fashioned Brazilian coffee. The Brazilian people have a rich history, spanning centuries of providing us with amazing coffee.

Say thank you by supporting the farmers, and buying ethically. That way, your morning coffee will make you feel good in more than one way.

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