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The lively and vibrant Brazil is the world’s leading exporter and producer of coffee, producing over one-third of the entire world’s coffee supply, a title that the country has retained for the last 150 years. To give some perspective on how much of a global powerhouse they are in this industry, Vietnam, the world’s second-largest coffee producer, only produces half of what Brazil does. This massive industry supports an estimated 3.5 million people, most live in rural areas where the environment and climate provide optimum coffee-growing conditions. Coffee from Brazil will generally have sweet flavoured, well-balanced, full-bodied characteristics.
History of Brazil’s Coffee Industry
Brazil’s coffee industry began in 1727 when the first coffee tree was planted in Para, a northern state in the country. From Para, coffee travelled down to Rio de Janeiro in 1770. After 43 years, coffee had made it’s way to Rio de Janerio, however, was still a relatively small industry, with the market solely for domestic consumption. It was in the 1800s that Brazil’s coffee industry picked up the pace with American and European markets showing more interest, creating a “coffee boom” of sorts which allowed the country to account for 20% of the worlds coffee production by the 1820s. It reached the 30% mark and earned the ‘largest exporter’ title by the 1830s and in the 1840s reached a staggering 40%.
Another boom happened from 1880-1930 when both milk and coffee were leading industries. These two industries together grew the areas of Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais, and within less than 50 years the local population grew from 30, 000 in the 1850s to 240, 000 in the 1900s. The number further jumping to 1 million in the 1930s. The exponential growth meant that by the 20th century, coffee made up three-fourths of export earnings, leading it to become so powerful that farmers and exporters became highly influential in Brazil’s political system.
In 1906, in an attempt to raise the value of coffee after it’s slow devaluing due to overproduction, the government took control of the pricing through purchasing an abundant number of harvests and selling it to the international market. It expanded the industry further, however, led to an oversupply of coffee at a worldwide level and subsequently contributed to the Great Depression.
It was during the Great Depression that Brazil sent a team of 82 athletes to Los Angeles to participate in the 1932 Olympic games. To fund their trip, they travelled to America via a coffee cargo ship where they sold coffee at various ports along the journey. Because of the funding, a total of 66 men and one woman, Maria Lenk (the first South American woman to participate in the Olympics) were able to compete!
Brazil’s coffee exports reached its peak in the 1920s where it accounted for 80% of the word’s coffee supply. Slowly those numbers have declined due to competition from global production, yet still in 2020 remains #1 for coffee production.
Main Growing Regions
When coffee first entered Brazil, the optimal climate and landscape led to its immediate success and ultimately set it up for the industry expanding as rapidly as it did. Due to a combination of the environment, high altitude and volcanic soil which produce rich coffee flavours, most of Brazil’s coffee production is located in the south-east regions in Brazil. These regions include Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo (Where our amazing Fazenda Rio Verde coffee beans, available for August only are grown!). Other large producers include Espirito Santo, Parana, Bahia and Rondonia. All of which minus Rondonia and one region in Espirito Santo, produce Arabica coffee.
Challenges of Brazils Coffee Industry
Nearly all coffee industries around the globe suffer from two extremely devastating challenges; climate change and plant diseases, and Brazil is no exception. In 2014 Brazil suffered a severe drought and abnormally high temperatures, leading to lower yields, impacts to bean quality and a change in flavours.
Its rank as the largest exporter of coffee in the world has its advantages, though, allowing the industry to work through those challenges and adapt to the new conditions. This is mainly due to many coffee sectors in Brazil investing in research, development and training programs that share knowledge on how to navigate such challenges.
Another challenge that Brazil is facing currently is the catastrophic coronavirus. Currently, there are 2.48 million confirmed cases, 1.72 million recovered cases and sadly, 88, 634 deaths. In a country where 3.5 million people rely on coffee as their employment, if many are unable to work due to the virus, it causes a considerable impact to the operation of the farms and the industry that will take many years to recover from. On a brighter note, Brazil is an innovative and persevering country and has overcome challenges before. Though the road to recovery for both people and industry will be difficult if there is a country that can evolve to fit the time, it is undoubtedly Brazil.
Brazil Fazenda Rio Verde Single Origin
Contributing to over a third of the entire world’s coffee bean production, Brazilian coffee will always deliver exceptional results. These Brazilian beans are grown at the centre of Mantiqueira mountain range on the Fazenda Rio Verde farm, which has been operating for over 100 years!
Surrounded by virgin forests, waterfalls, scenic hiking trails and beautiful springs, this farm is a true natural sanctuary. Standing at 1300 meters above sea level, the mountainous landscape is home to red mineral volcanic soil that allows the coffee to develop rich flavours that are unparalleled. These flavours include; spritzy lime, upfront stone fruity acidity, creamy sweet caramel, and a pink lolly finish.
If you want to try out these fantastic beans, click here!