The first coffee bush in Brazil was planted by Francisco de Melo Palheta in the state of Pará in 1727. By 1770, coffee had spread from Pará and reached Rio de Janeiro. Coffee was initially planted only for domestic consumption. In the 19th century, the demand for coffee started to increase in America and Europe, and by 1820, coffee plantations began to expand in Rio de Janerio, São Paulo, and Minas Gerais, representing 20% of world production. By 1830, coffee became Brazil’s largest export, accounting for 30% of world production.
From 1880 to 1930, Brazil increased their production of coffee, creating a greater need for labor than what could be found in Brazil. During this period, millions of immigrants moved to São Paulo, transforming it from a small town to the largest industrial center in the developing world. In 1850 the population was 30,000 people, and by 1900 it increased to 240,000. By 1920, Brazil was supplying 80% of the world’s coffee.
Brazil occupies almost half the landmass of South America and is the only Portuguese- speaking country in the region. The sheer size of the country and the mix of ethnic origins – mainly Indigenous, African and European – has given Brazil a diverse cultural identity. Brazil is the 10th largest economy in the world and in recent years there has been a strong expansion into agro-industry with a whole range of agricultural products being added to traditional exports such as coffee.
Today, Brazil is famously the world’s largest coffee producer, supplying nearly 60% of the total production. About two-thirds of domestic production is arabica with one-third robusta (conillon as it is known locally). Traditionally, most arabica coffee produced has been natural dried coffee, but more recently quality improvements have seen a growth of pulped naturals and washed. Brazilian coffee is preferred by many as a base for espresso blends as it offers low acidity and a smooth sweetness.
Size: 8.516 million km2, the fifth largest country
Capital City: Brasília
Population: 207.7 million
Average farm size: Varies, between 1 hectare to 10,000 hectares
Annual production: 30 million bags
Bags exported annually: 15 millions bags
Annual domestic consumption: 15 million bags, Brazil the world’s second largest consumer of coffee in the world after the US
Growing regions and sizes: Minas Gerais (1.2 million hectares), Espírito Santo (433,000 hectares), São Paulo (216,000 hectares), Bahia (171,000 hectares), Rondônia (95,000 hectares) and Paraná (49,000 hectares)
Varieties: Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Catuai, Catimor, Maragogype
Processing Methods: Washed, Semi-washed, Natural
Bag Size: 59 or 60 kg, Ipanema 30 kg
Harvest Period: June to September
Shipment Period: July onward