One of every three cups of coffee consumed in the world is Brazilian. So it’s no surprise as the producer of a third of the world’s coffee (60m bags estimated in the 2018 season) that Brazil is also its number 1 exporter.
About 90% of those exports are high-quality Arabica. Brazilian Arabica is found in many of the world’s favorite espresso blends as it has a mild and balanced flavour.
While Brazil has the capacity to torrefy and export roasted, value-added coffee, today 90% of its exports are of green coffee beans. This is largely due to the massive tariffs imposed on roasted coffee by many importers.
It may surprise some to learn that a country that grows absolutely no coffee – Germany – is the world’s third largest coffee exporter. Increasing exports of Brazilian processed coffee would provide global consumers greater choice and access to unique Brazilian flavours.
Increasing exports of processed coffee would also allow global consumers to directly support Brazil’s 265,000 coffee producers, the majority of whom are smallholders. They would also be supporting sustainable coffee production with their choice.
The Brazilian coffee supply chain has deeply-rooted labour and environmental laws such as water and forest preservation that make Brazilian coffee among the most sustainable in the world. The hunt for high-quality, sustainable beans is global, and high-end coffee chains are increasingly emphasising not only where, but how, coffee beans are grown.
Brazil’s coffee-making regions are very diverse with different levels of altitudes, plant varieties and production systems. Some are in high-altitude, mountainous regions where coffee needs to be handpicked; others grow on flat farms where labour can be mechanised.
Much like wine varieties differ greatly based on the local terroir and climate, each coffee from every different region of Brazil has a specific taste, body, acidity and sweetness. Five Brazilian coffee regions have received protected Geographical Indication (GI) status that designates their characteristics unique to their origin.These are:
- Cerrado Mineiro
- Região de Pinhal
- Alta Mogiana
- Norte Pioneiro do Paraná
- Serra da Mantiqueira de Minas Gerais
Protected GI status provides the assurance that the coffee with the designation comes only from the region specified and has the qualities and taste expected of it.
Brazil’s coffee is planted on 2.2m ha and has an average productivity of 30 bags/ha. Producers today focus on quality rather than quantity. For example, the development of specialty coffee has been growing with the creation of a dedicated association that monitors and certifies the quality of coffee production.
Brazil’s specialty coffee association BSCA promotes quality control techniques, raising the standards of excellence of Brazilian coffee offered in the domestic and international markets.