Soccer, Carnival, and coffee!
When one thinks of Brazil, there are probably many images that come to mind. The colorful favelas, the striking Christ the Redeemer statue, the Amazon, the list goes on virtually forever!
But among the images that come to mind when one imagines this fantastic South American nation is coffee! Brazil is the number one producer of coffee with the number two spot held by Vietnam, not coming in close. Brazil produces 40 percent of the world’s coffee on its own. And with a coffee market that big, Brazil must have an exciting coffee history too, so let’s check out Brazil’s illustrious and intriguing coffee legacy!
The first coffee in Brazil arrived via French Guiana. It was brought to Brazil in 1727, by the Portuguese Lt. Col Francisco del Melo Palheta. A popular story suggests that del Melo Palheta worked his magic of seductive charm on the governor of Guiana’s wife. She was so smitten that she helped him smuggle the lucrative cash crop from the rival French colony to the Portuguese one. Or so the story goes.
Coffee was then mainly used as a cash crop to be consumed by colonists locally. But by the 1800s, the demand for coffee in the United States and Europe saw an explosion of the Brazilian coffee market. Brazil quickly rose to one of the major coffee producers in the world, with Brazil making up about 30% of the globe’s coffee crops by 1820.
This also coincided with the coffee crop plagues and coffee rust pandemics that ravaged the Asian coffee market. This allowed coffee producers in the Americas to fill in space once occupied by the Asian coffee industry. By 1910, Brazil produced not 30, not 40, but 80, yes 8- percent of the world’s coffee. And Brazil has not just been a leader in producing coffee.
In the 1990s, the Brazilian government deregulated a ton of different agricultural fields. Coffee was one of them, which led to coffee farmers gaining autonomy, liberty, and independence they did not have before. Now, coffee producers could sell to who they liked and could experiment, test, innovate, and develop coffee. This also led to increased research in the field of coffee and nuanced processing methods and techniques.
And because Brazil’s coffee market is so huge and provides a diverse landscape for biodiversity, Brazil is also home to a myriad catalog of different plant and cultivar types. Many of which are entirely unique to Brazil. Caturra, Mundo Novo, Bourbon, Maragogype, Santos, and many others were either discovered, developed, or have thrived in Brazil.
And processing methods have been developed, too. Pulp natural is a style of processing that was developed in Brazil and allows the coffee cherry to dry along with its fruity interior that leads to a fruity and acidic coffee experience. Brazilian beans are also known to be processed following the natural, the honey, and the washed styles.
As for the flavor of Brazilian coffee? That, too, is as wide, rich, and diverse as this spectacular country. With such a multitudinous natural landscape, biodiversity, and plant types, Brazilian coffee is hard to pin down entirely. However, some common traits of Brazilian coffee include a few keen characteristics. Adjectives like earthy, spicy, sweet, slightly acidic, wine, lime, floral, complex, and gentle all can be encountered with Brazilian beans.
The regions for growing coffee in Brazil include Sao Paulo, Bahia, Espirito Santo, and Minas Gerais, where many commercially sold beans are produced from.
Brazilian beans, a samba of flavor
Brazil is a country for coffee. Since the 1800s onward, Brazil has reigned as the ruling monarch of coffee par excellence. Maybe someday Brazil will be eclipsed by another coffee nation. But until that day we say, long live the king. May you continue to produce unique and novel coffee for ages to come!
- “Coffee Production in Brazil.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Sept. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Brazil.
- Costa, Bruna. “5 Things You Should Know About Brazilian Specialty Coffee.” Perfect Daily Grind, Perfect Daily Grind, 23 July 2020, perfectdailygrind.com/2016/04/5-things-you-should-know-about-brazilian-specialty-coffee/.
- Vassau, Matt. “Brazilian Coffee: Get To Know Your Coffee Origins.” Driven Coffee, 17 Sept. 2019, www.drivencoffee.com/blog/brazilian-coffee-origins/.