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Brazilian Coffee

How did coffee become the drink of choice for Brazilians? What are the origins of its culture and traditions? Get an idea of the blend that’s made from robusta beans.

Brandon Pierce
August 17, 2022

As a top coffee producer, Brazil accounts for one-third of all coffee beans grown, the largest coffee producing country for over 150 years.

Did You Know? It's no shock that Brazil is known as one of the best on the world coffee stage. 

 The coffee cherries grown on Brazilian plantations are mostly Arabica, with some Robusta production on its western side. The country has impressive coffee!

Many enthusiasts claim that high-quality whole bean coffee from Brazil is the best as its

  • Smooth
  • Low in acidity
  • Medium in body

Read on to find out more about Brazil's coffee history, culture, and know what to look for in coffee from Brazil.

People who know of Brazilian coffee brands often note that they deliver much better than almost any of the top coffee brands popular at the local supermarket.

Coffee from Brazil makes for a great bean.

A Brief History of Brazilian Coffee

Brazil has a rich history of coffee bean production and consumption. Though, in Brazil, coffee plants are not native.

The eighteenth-century brought the plant in Brazilian soil. Seeds were imported from French Guiana and introduced to Para, in the North of Brazil. 

brazilian coffee history

The Brazilian coffee industry quickly began to flourish. It didn't take much time before Brazil was accountable for the beans that went into one out of every five cups of coffee made worldwide.

It was also that coffee became Brazil's largest in terms of exports. Coffee was soon a popular choice for farmers.

At the height of Brazilian coffee production in the early twentieth century, Brazil accounted for eighty percent of the world's coffee production. Brazil's smooth, medium-bodied coffee was a great choice to be produced as a blend.

As a dark roast, it became one of the best coffee beans for finer ground brewing methods. For Brazil, coffee was a massive industry from growing to processing to export.

Brazil Coffee in More Recent Times

In the latter half of the twentieth century, Brazil's coffee industry focused heavily on delivering high coffee beans quantities. Quality in coffee became a second priority. Brazil was at risk of being well-known for low quality coffee.

Before the turn of the century, Brazil introduced the Cup of Excellence program, prestige within the Brazilian coffee industry, to recognize high-quality brews produced within the country.

Brazilian coffee beans continue to be a high-demand export for dark and French roast coffee globally. These roasts impart chocolate and caramel flavors, as a single origin or in complimenting blends.

The claim of producing some of the world's best coffee was now returned to Brazil's regions, coffee continuing to be the country's gift to the world.

A Taste of Brazil

Brazil produces a genuinely unique bean. With such massive coffee production, it's no shock that there is regional variation. As a general rule, though, Brazilian coffee has low acidity, with a big, powerful body.

It has a distinct aroma supported in taste by chocolate, even caramel notes delivering a humble sweetness that resounds through the palette and provides a nutty flavor.

For this reason, it's mellow flavor has its ideal when used for a dark roast espresso. Low in acidic influence and well rounded, the Arabica from lower altitude regions can also deliver a high-quality coffee as a medium roast choice.

Many areas claim to have the best beans in Brazil for providing a well rounded and tasty coffee; Brazil delivers some of the best in the world.

Diversity

Geographically, Brazilian coffees carry the tremendous regional variation. The prevalence of local producers allows inter-regional blending to occur. Brazil is the world's largest producer, where many arabica coffees originate. 

The largest coffee-growing state of Minas Gerais lies in the southeast of the country.

It accounts for half of the country's total bean production. So it's very likely that your Brazilian coffee comes from this area.

brazilian coffee

Arabica is the species of choice in Brazil. As far as the varieties go, Bourbon, Catuai, Acacia, Mundo Novo, Icatu, and many others are grown in Brazilian coffee bean plantations. 


A favorite within the Brazilian coffee industry is the Bourbon Santos variety, known for reliable yields, low acidity, and subtle sweetness. It also thrives in higher altitudes, which is perfect for the Brazilian coffee industry's geographic requirements.


When blending beans within South America or from other origins worldwide, it's this low acidity and sweetness that make Brazilian coffee desirable in a blend.In Brazil


Brazil Coffee Used in a Blend

Every geography produces coffee that has different advantages when used in blends. Cafe Brazilian is no different, bringing its briskness and acidity similar to other South American coffees such as Columbian and Costa Rican coffees.

Brazil's actual difference compared to its neighbors is the higher altitudes and proximity to the coast, which allows for a combination of higher-density beans, ideal for fine grinding.

Coffee beans from Brazil are in high demand the world over.

Single-Origin Coffees

Since there are so many different coffee growing regions and bean varieties in Brazil, it is hard to pinpoint a specific flavor you might notice from a single-origin coffee.

It's this regional variation that can make it exciting to find different tastes across the country. They also produce some of the best coffees in the world. These regions are known for processing coffee beans to market some of the most highly demanded coffee brands.

Brazil's dry climate areas and natural higher altitudes may be perfect for processing some of the best coffee available.

Minas Gerais

Minas Gerias is a significant state of Brazil that accounts for half of Brazil's beans growing; 

The dry climates make for some excellent coffee growing conditions.

Three regions, in particular, are known for great single-origin specialty coffee. 

You will also be pleased to know that most areas in Minas Gerais grow Arabica beans.

minas gerais

Sul de Minas

Is responsible for nearly one-third of Brazil's total coffee production. This region produces a full-bodied coffee with a profile that delivers subtle citric and fruity notes. Products from Sul de Minas make for a great brew, and being so popular means they are easier to obtain.


Cerrado de Minas

This region produces more specialty regions for Brazil's coffee production, aided by a humid summer and dry winter. These coffees are usually more acidic, medium-bodied, and slightly sweet, but they are also smooth and well-rounded. You can utilize Brazilian coffees for almost any roast, with natural flexibility conducive nearly any brewing method.

Mastas De Minas

Has many bespoke, smaller farms and is therefore known for much of Brazil's specialized coffees. The warm and humid climate means making coffee that is sweet with citric, caramel, or chocolate notes. The growing conditions combined with these bespoke farms provide some of Brazil's most refined coffee products.

Sao Paulo

While Minas Gerais produces the most coffee by volume, Sรฃo Paulo makes a Brazilian single-origin brew that is the industry's pride. It is also close to the Port of Santos, where the bulk of the coffee beans get exported.

Brazilian Santos coffee grown in the high altitudes of Sรฃo Paulo with its natural hilly terrain and ideal coffee bean growing conditions makes for one of the smoothest and finest Brazilian coffees.

Cerrado

The Cerrado region of Brazil, sitting 850 meters above sea level and with it's a dry climate, has a single origin that is truly unique.

This region delivers beans with a good body, a creamy mouthfeel, and low acidity. The nutty flavor with subtle caramel notes gives this coffee region a great liveliness. 

The beans brew a fantastic drink even as a light roast. You'll never forget this smooth cup of Brazil.

A coffee made from single origin Cerrado leaves very little to want, delivering satisfaction. It is also often processed into a blend to take advantage of the body.

Bahia

When it comes to single-origin coffee, Bahia has the best natural terrain for production, sitting a kilometer above sea level and having state of the art equipment and facilities.

It's been only fifty years that the region has produced coffee. During that time, producers have perfected the process, delivering slightly sweet, full-bodied coffee with lower acidity than other areas.

Brazil's Coffee Culture

As well as being the largest volume producer of coffee beans, Brazil is also the largest market for coffee after they overtook the United States in coffee consumption.

Brazil's coffee culture is entirely different from other parts places around the world, evolving separately from much of the European influence coffee has had in many countries.

Brazil's long and vibrant nature with coffee and cultural heritage that goes along with it. 

brazlian coffee culture

If you haven't already, once you read about the sweet offerings of Brazil's love of coffee, you may want to try and get ahold of one of their brands for your next brew.

Locally Consumed Pride

The locals are incredibly proud of Brazilian coffee and consume it as pure as possible. They generally avoid the overly milky versions and don't commonly drink espresso.

Suppose you're in Brazil and you order a coffee in a cafรฉ. In that case, Brazilian coffee will usually arrive black, and you'll notice a lot of sugar.

ย The locals use a lot of sugar since most of the coffee in Brazil is grown at low altitudes, giving the coffee a bitter taste. High-quality beans often wind up as exports.

Note: Baristas serve this coffee, filtered but appearing as an espresso. Locals call this a "cafezhino."

 Ordering Brazilian Coffee

Suppose you happen to find yourself in Sรฃo Paulo hunting for a cup of whole bean Brazilian Santos. There are four principal coffees that you can order in a Brazilian cafรฉ.

The language can also be tricky in the cafe, as Brazilian coffee is processed differently across the country.

Cafezhino / Espresso / Cafe Curto 

This is a smaller coffee drink served in an espresso cup, usually filtered. If you would like an espresso specifically, you will need to order a "Cafezhino Espresso." If you want the best Brazilian coffee experience, order this.

Media / Cafe Com Leite 

This is usually a teacup-sized coffee with more milk than coffee, most similar to a latte or a flat white. If you order a medium and get a strange look, the Brazilian cafe will probably call it a Cafe COM Lite and visa-versa.

Cafe Duplo / Pingado

This is similar to a media or Cafe Com Leite, but bigger. The same thing happens with the two different names too. If you say one and they don't seem to understand what you are after, just use the other name!

Cappuccino

A cappuccino means a cappuccino; enjoy it! However, some places will serve a cappuccino with chocolate, making it a nice tasty treat.

Making Cafezhino

The easiest way to make a good cup of cafezhino is to filter four cups of boiling water through one-third of a cup of finely ground coffee. Filter into a pour-over device, and then combine with a lot of sugar. 2/3 cup of sugar should be enough. 

This method, done with a medium roast, will most definitely produce a smooth, sweet, well rounded if made using Brazilian Arabica beans.

However, processing beans into coffee is not exactly an art in Brazil.

cafezinho

There are several different ways to do it, and coffee is slightly different as you move between the states.

Note: Choose a roast that is light or medium-bodied for the full authentic experience.

It's good to try this unique method, at least.

Introducing Children to the Brew

Coffee culture is so strong in Brazil; it's not uncommon to introduce young children to the cafรฉ.

However, they do exercise considerable caution. It's not as though they serve them an espresso from day one. They introduce children to coffee by combining a small amount of coffee in a glass of milk.

At what age do they start? As soon as they can hold a cup, of course. Some may think it strange to share a cup of coffee with a toddler, but in Brazil, it's fair game.

Then again, when is the right time for the first coffees?

Buying Brazilian Coffee

There are many Brazilian coffee brands, but the question is, what are the best beans to purchase? There are many brands on the market. Coffee's often a difficult choice without first tasting.


Hopefully, the following should offer guidance on brands before you buy them. All are fantastic products and easy to find, usually processed and roasted in Brazil.

Cafรฉ Pilao

One of the most traditional Brazilian coffee brands; it is grown, roasted, ground, and packaged all in Brazil and famous as an export. Its profile boasts having flavors of chocolate and spice, with a strong fruit-driven sweet finish.

Cafรฉ do Ponto

This top coffee brand delivers a strong flavor, medium-bodied coffee. Brazilian coffees often sell as a medium or dark roast. Still, the pick for these coffee beans is lightly roasted and full of natural full flavor and body.

Brazilian Santos

This coffee producer commands respect; its dark roasted beans represent the pinnacle of Brazilian coffee's espresso offering.

Brazil Santos is a popular choice among coffee lovers and a great option to buy if it is your first time trying coffee from Brazil.

Dark roasted Brazil Santos is the preferred choice for quite a few baristas because it delivers a full-bodied coffee experience.

Cafรฉ Melitta

This finely ground and roasted bean produce a coffee with medium acidity, pleasant fruit notes, slight bitterness, and a pleasant aroma. Cafe Melitta is a coffee made for all people to enjoy. This product is whole bean, smooth goodness, and is at the top of many lists for a reason.

Cafรฉ Bom Dia

Cafe Bom DIA is a versatile coffee made available as a medium, dark, or French roast. This brand works directly with coffee-growing farms and has a strong environmental and ethical conscience regarding all aspects of producing the best coffee beans.

Cafรฉ Caboclo

Cafe Caboclo is medium roasted and finely ground, produced since 1930, and is ideal for daily use. This finely ground coffee is suitable for espressos or filtered coffee.

3 Coracoes

This Brazilian coffee brand has a wide variety of ground coffee, instant coffee, and filtered coffees. It is incredibly accessible for all tastes and well-loved in Brazil.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The best Brazilian coffee is the one that is in your handโ€”starting with the best beans grown in the best conditions.

Tried and true methods go into processing Brazilian coffee, sometimes taking advantage of world-class technologies that accompany the farm. Brazil's coffee-producing regions may be the perfect partner for any occasion.

You'll love the range of different roasts, from a full-flavored light-roasted coffee with a high-altitude Brazil Santos coffee espresso made from the Bourbon varietal.

It's no wonder that smooth blends you will find whenever searching for top quality coffee often relate to Brazil's coffee-producing regions.


Brandon Pierce

About the author

My name is Brandon and I love cold-brew coffee. If you're a fan of everything homebrew, then we'll get along just fine. I also enjoy riding my Onewheel around town, and going on adventures with my future wife! As an online work-from-home advocate, it's important that I stay connected to the world while being able to maintain a healthy work/life balance.

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