A South American country, Brazil boasts of a wonderful tropical climate with parts of the country experiencing periodic rainfall and warmer temperatures.
Neither was Brazil the first to start commercially growing & distributing coffee nor does it have higher altitudes compared to other regions in the bean belt.
So, how did this country dominate the global coffee market, starting in the early 1800s and has been at the top for over 150 years?
Some attribute it to the capacity Brazil has for producing & exporting coffee at a large scale, but surely there’s more to their success.
Coffee was first brought into the state of Pará in 1727 by a French settler. But it wasn’t until a few decades later when the coffee plant started growing in Rio de Janeiro, that the country saw the vast potential of commercially growing coffee.
Europe was the first international exporter of Brazilian coffee.
At the turn of the century, around 1720 pounds of coffee were being exported. But guess what? By 1820, the quantity had multiplied more than a thousandfold.
Sugarcane which was once the nation’s most exported crop was replaced as coffee exports boomed in the 1820s.
During this period, the country’s tie with slave labour coupled with fierce agricultural pursuits allowed Brazil to keep up the momentum and meet the demand.
Even after slavery was abolished in the country, the increased immigration and the rapid expansion of coffee farms across Brazil meant that they could produce 10 times as much coffee as certain other coffee-producing regions in the world.
Soon, the coffee growers had government support. In 1973, the Brazilian Coffee Industry Association (BCIA) was established.
They would regulate the coffee trade and empower the coffee growers through a variety of measures meant to aid them holistically.
What’s inspiring to observe is that even after nearly two centuries at the head of the table, Brazil shows no signs of slowing down. They made an impression at the start, and they continue to up their coffee game year-on-year.
The technological advancements that Brazil employs in its coffee production are noteworthy. From the use of ground sensors to coffee drying mechanisms, there’s a lot to take away from the country’s coffee production systems.
Moreover, Brazil has been keeping up with trends in the industry. They are actively engaged in the specialty coffee movement and also win awards at the Cup of Excellence ceremonies.
You can see how the volume of coffee produced in Brazil is not the only reason they’ve been leading the global coffee market.
The system Brazil uses to grade their coffees is comparatively more detailed than that of several other countries. The grading system is called the Brazilian Official Classification or COB.
According to the COB, coffee producers sort the coffees based on the size and shape of the bean, sensory qualities, bean colour, and the presence of any defects.
The sweetness of Brazilian coffees comes partly from one of the processing methods they use called honey processing or pulped natural processing.
This method presents the best of both worlds. It has characteristics of both wet-processed coffees and dry-processed coffees. And so, you just might find it to have an irresistible flavour profile.
- Traditional Brazilian coffee is called Cafezinho. It comprises a small cup of filtered coffee that is sweetened with sugar. Cafezinho is often served piping hot.
Brazilian coffees are for those who love full-bodied coffee. Having a smooth texture that glides over your tongue, these coffees are rich with a caramel and chocolatey flavour profile.
They are typically sweet, after all, many of these coffees are dry-processed with some being semi-washed.
Sometimes you might even find faint hints of nuts in coffees from Brazil.
If you enjoy coffees with comparatively low acidity, you must pick up a Brazilian single origin.
The regions in Brazil where most of the coffee is grown are Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo, São Paulo, and Bahia. About 75% of Brazilian coffees are arabica.
Brazil single-handedly produces one-third of the world’s coffees.
With nearly 4 million of its population being employed in the trade, it’s no surprise that they have dominated the global coffee market for years.
Even if Brazilian beans were once used as blends because of the low cost and ability to take on a dark roast to produce a bold espresso flavour, more and more people are realizing that Brazil also has some quality single origins to offer.