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Brazilian Coffee: History, Production Regions, and Flavor Profile

brazilian coffee: coffee cup with cream in the shape of Brazil

There’s something about sipping a delicious cup of coffee that just makes each day a little bit better. For new coffee drinkers, all coffees may seem the same. The reality is that coffee tastes different depending on where it is produced. That’s why we’ve taken the time to break down coffee profiles based on where they’re grown. Here, we’ll focus on Brazilian coffee.

Brazil is the largest country in South America. Located on the Atlantic ocean, it’s famous for its Amazon rainforest and incredible cups of java. The unique growing environment in the country makes it suitable for producing and harvesting some of the highest-quality beans on the planet. Plus, Brazil is home to a massive coffee-growing region. That means there are thousands of producers and thus thousands of different ways to enjoy a cup of Brazilian coffee.

Want to know more about coffee from Brazil? Read on to learn how producers craft Brazilian coffee, where it grows, and what it tastes like.

The Basics of Brazilian Coffee 

brazilian coffee: coffee beans with a bag saying Brazil

Like many tropical nations, Brazil offers the perfect growing environment for coffee beans. The warm climate, rich soils, and rainforest make it the perfect spot to grow flavorful beans. In fact, Brazil makes some of the world’s best coffee. Read on to learn more about Brazilian coffee including the growing regions, its flavor profile, and the best brands. 

History of Coffee Production

Brazil cultivated the first crops of coffee in the 18th century. According to legends, Sergeant Major Francisco de Melo Palheta went to French Guiana where he obtained coffee seeds and plants. He used these to form the first coffee plantations in Brazil.

By 1840, Brazil was one of the world’s largest coffee producers — a title they still maintain today. Slave labor largely drove this huge increase in coffee production. Brazil brought an estimated 2.5 million slaves from Africa to Brazil. The slaves worked in coffee and sugar cane production in addition to mining. Slavery officially ended in 1888 across the country. However, poor labor practices and working conditions affected laborers for decades. This is sometimes called “second slavery”.

In 1990, Brazil deregulated its coffee industry. This led to increased experimentation and a burgeoning coffee research industry. As a result, there are more unique blends and lab-created varietals that influence the taste of Brazilian coffee today.

Coffee Growing Regions

Brazil is one of the largest coffee producers and coffee exporters in the world. The Brazilian coffee industry accounts for close to one-third of the world’s coffee. In fact, Brazil produces most of the world’s espresso blends. 

The country is home to more than 200,000 coffee farms that use both arabica and robusta beans to produce decadent coffees. Almost 70% of the coffees produced in Brazil are made with arabica coffee beans. These beans have a higher quality and better flavor profile. Coffee farmers grow the beans at 400 to 1,600 meters above sea level.

Brazilian coffee growers cultivate plants in 14 regions spanning seven different states. Some of the most popular coffee production regions are Minas Gerais (including Cerrado Mineiro and Sul de Minas) as well as São Paulo (Mogiana). Producers are grow coffee in the Rio de Janeiro, Espirito Santo, Bahia, and Parana regions.

Coffee Production Process

The coffee production process begins on coffee plantations. Farmers harvest coffee cherries from May to September in most of the growing regions. There are several different varietals, but the most common include bourbon, catuai, Mundo Novo, caturra, typica, and acaia.

Most Brazilian coffees are unwashed. That means producers harvest and dry the beans without removing the skin. This creates a better body and fullness in addition to greater sweetness. Brazilian coffee beans then undergo a dry processing method to remove moisture from the beans. 

Some small producers create wet-processed beans. That involves removing four layers of organic material that surround the coffee bean. These coffees offer a fruity flavor and crisper finish, but they aren’t as common as unwashed beans.

Finally, producers sort the beans as part of a complex classification system. This is based on color, size, and texture. This classification process makes it easy for consumers to buy their desired roast and coffee type based on taste preferences. Brazilian coffee is called cafezinho in Brazilian Portuguese.

Flavor Profile

The flavor profile of Brazilian coffee depends on the varietal and how it’s grown. There is a wide range of specialty coffees and single-origin coffees. The flavor can also vary depending on the roasting level — light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. Light roasts tend to have nuanced flavor profiles while dark roasts feature one main tasting note. In general, Brazilian coffees are full-bodied and have low acidity. These coffees have notes of bourbon, caramel, and chocolate. They can also be fruity and nutty.

Popular Brazilian Coffee Brands

With so many producers, there are tons of high-quality Brazilian coffee brands. Among the most popular are Cafe Pilao, Cafe Caboclo, and 3 Coracoes. At these roasters, you’ll find freshly roasted coffee, ground coffee, and whole beans for your brewing needs. 

Discover the Best Coffees on the Planet

coffee plantation with worker standing in front

Brazil produces some of the best coffee on the planet. With a huge Brazil coffee-growing industry, there are a wide variety of beans for all coffee drinkers. Whether you like a light roast with layered tasting notes or a dark roast featuring nutty hints, there’s a Brazilian coffee for you. From ground coffee to gourmet coffee with hints of hazelnut, Brazil delivers caffeinated goods.

Looking for your next cup of coffee? Head over to Cup & Bean to learn more about what’s in each cup. We offer guides to coffee produced across the globe — from Costa Rica coffee to Bali coffee. You’ll learn what makes each growing region unique and what you can expect when it comes to flavor.

Plus, you’ll find practical advice on enjoying coffee. Whether you’re a  beginner and want to know more about the different types of coffee drinks or are a seasoned connoisseur looking to discover rares blends. 

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