Brazil produces more coffee than any other country on Earth. This list includes some traditional and popular, best coffee brands that either sell their coffee in Brazil, the United States, or both. Most of these best Brazilian coffee brands are consumed regularly in Brazil, and the others are more expensive coffees for coffee lovers to try.
What is Brazilian Coffee?
What is Special About It?
The high altitudes and warm climate enriches the beans with a sweetness, full body, and low acidity.
What Makes Brazilian Coffee Different?
Now, let’s see what 5 DID make our list (especially if you prefer single origin high quality coffee):
Five Best Brands & Beans for you to try:
#1. Café Pilão
A very flavorful top brand, Café Pilão is a nutty, smooth-tasting and traditional option. Pilão coffee dates as far back as 1753, with the beans being harvested from the most fertile coffee planting regions in Brazil.
It is marketed as “forte”, the Brazilian word for ‘strong’, so if you are new to this coffee, one of the tamer coffees on the list could perhaps be a starting point.
Furthermore, it is the closest to an “authentic” tasting coffee that Brazilians would consume at home.
Café Pilão is arguably the most well-known coffee brand in Brazil, and the company has also had widespread success throughout the rest of the world since the 1970s.
#2. Brazil Santos
Brazil Santos, so-named because it is shipped from the Santos port in Brazil, has chocolate and nut flavored varieties available. It smells very sweet, with hints of cocoa. This is a premium Brazilian coffee brand, which is well-known throughout the country for being one of the highest quality on offer. The quality is accentuated if it is freshly roasted.
Brazil Santos regional coffee is deep and rich in taste. If you want to give it a shot, Amazon has Community Coffee Brazil with over 100 reviews for a great price, as well as it is #2 on our recommended list.
Freshly roasted Brazil Santos is widely regarded to be one of the best coffee drinking experiences of all coffees. The light flavor makes it an excellent starting choice for someone who is just beginning to get into drinking coffee.
And also, like several other coffees on this list, Brazil Santos is a coffee tradition that has lasted over a century. Enjoy the hints of citrus notes!
#3. Brown Gold 100%
Brown Gold’s ethos is to bring the pure taste of South American coffees, including Brazil, Colombia and Peru, to western markets, without combining them with other flavors.
If you’re interested in Brazilian coffee in its “pure” form, without having other elements of western coffee added to them, then Brown Gold 100% will be perfect.
A very dark roasted coffee, its flavor could be defined as “bittersweet”, and it is very robust and complex. Brown Gold coffee comes with additional benefits, if you’re interested in humanitarian efforts. They are investing a certain percentage of their profits toward providing better access to water for over 250,000 Ethiopian residents.
Ultimately, if you like rather dark, traditional coffee, then Brown Gold’s 100% is one of the best Brazilian coffee brands that should be right up your alley. In fact, we consider it our gourmet coffee recommendation
#4. Illy Whole Bean
Probably the most acidic coffee of those mentioned in this article, Illy Whole Bean Brazilian has a very intense flavor, with a caramel aftertaste. Intended for coffee connoisseurs, according to manufacturer Illy, their goal is to create poetry in coffee bean form. The coffee beans are grown at a high-altitude, and are sustainably sourced from southeastern Brazil.
It is also noted to have a very full and intense aroma. This Brazilian coffee brand is sold directly in the form of beans, rather than being pre-ground before shipping.
#5. Café Melitta
Café Melitta is a finely ground, roasted Brazilian coffee, and is regarded as something of a jack-of-all-trades coffee. It offers medium acidity, with a slight fruity taste, medium bitterness, medium sweetness, and a fairly mild aroma, combined with some boldness.
This one might not necessarily be for the coffee aficionado, as it is a fairly commercial, pre-grounded coffee, which is intended for the mass market in Brazil. However, that should not stop you from giving this blend, which is one of the two best-selling coffee brands in Brazil, a try.
Melitta also offers a comprehensive range of other South American coffee products, if you’re thinking of trying another type of South American coffee.
They also offer many authentically made Brazilian coffee products, such as paper filters, and coffee that is ready-made.
You’ll really enjoy Melitta extra strong coffee as a cold brew option as well.
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 beans fell out of grace. Only for a little while, though.
Brazilian coffee beans 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 and is attributed towards Brazil’s thriving coffee industry.
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, which may affect its coffee quality. 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 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.
Some common coffee producing regions in Brazil include Rio de Janeiro, Espírito Santo, and Sao Paulo.
How Much Coffee Does This Country 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 and the coffee industry there is thriving overall.
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.
There are a number of prime coffee growing regions in Brazil, and each confer a particular characteristic on the beans it produces. Certain regions are affected by microclimates, which have an amazing effect on the quality of coffee that can be produced.
Here’s a rundown of the main coffee growing regions of Brazil, and the characteristics of the beans they produce.
#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.
Translating to “General Mines,” Minas Gerais is the largest coffee growing state in all of Brazil, and produces around 50% of the country’s coffee beans.
With a consistent climate, a lot of Brazil’s specialty coffee is produced here, within its many regions.
Sul de Minas is a high altitude region of Minas Gerais, and produces 30% of the total coffee production of Brazil, within its numerous small farms. Coffee from Sul de Minas is generally full bodied, with fruity notes.
The region of Cerrade de Minas is considered to be one of the finest coffee producing regions, spreading across Minas Gerais with large farms and estates.
The humid summers and dry winters, which are characteristic of this region, means that the coffee produced here is of special quality, with a higher acidity and fuller body than other regions.
The two other main regions within Minas Gerais are Chapada de Minas and Matas de Minas. With their undulating landscapes and humid climates, these regions produce sweet flavors, with caramel and chocolate notes in their coffee.
#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 Brazilian 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.
Sao Paulo is one of more historical coffee beans producing states. The Port of Santos, which is Brazil’s main coffee exporting port, is located here.
Mild temperatures and optimal altitudes mean that the coffee produced here is extremely balanced, with sweet notes, and a well rounded flavor profile.
There are coffee producing regions within Sao Paulo, some nestled high above sea level, and some are home to many small farms across hilly landscapes.
Bahia is located in the northeast part of Brazil, and is the baby of the established coffee producing regions.
Having started cultivation in the 1970’s, it has since become famous for the quality of the beans produced, and the technology used to produced them.
The region uses irrigation to ripen the cherries, giving it a high yield each year. Coffee is harvested mechanically, which results in a highly efficient production process.
The high altitudes and warm climate enriches the beans with a sweetness, full body, and low acidity. In fact, the quality and characteristics of this region has resulted in award-winning coffee.
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 these Full Bodied Beans Come to Fruition
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 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.
Comparing To Other Coffees Of The World
Compared to other coffees of the world, Brazilian coffee is known for being mild, and easy to drink.
Other countries, such as Africa or Asia-Pacific, produce coffees with bold flavors that pack a punch.
Coffee from Brasil is much more well-rounded, and is often used in blends to balance the flavors of these bolder coffees.
Where Asia-Pacific coffees are steeped in spices, and African coffees are more citrusy and floral, coffee from Brasil is full of warm, chocolaty notes.
The Ethical Side of Producing Brazilian Beans
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.
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 brand that empowers women, by giving them a more active role in running their farms.
Many Brazilian farmers are ditching coffee, due to the ever worsening drought conditions.
Whether you like fancy gourmet arabica, or a casual cup of robusta, there is nothing like good old fashioned Brasilian 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.