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Coffee from origin Brazil

The exciting and vibrant country of Brazil produces some 40% of the worlds coffee, over 2 million tons! Brazil is the largest producer of coffee by far with Vietnam coming a distant second. The production of coffee in Brazil is done on a massive scale - understand that coffee is the second largest industry in the world by value so 40% of this us big, very big!

The economics of scale and the proximity of Brazil to it’s largest, the USA, means that very few mass produced coffees “DON’T” have a Brazil bean in the bag. Is this good or bad? There isn’t a simple answer to this…many will argue that a typical Brazil bean is soft or that it lacks the density of slow grown beans typical of those grown at higher altitudes. This might also mean lower levels of acidity (a characteristic needed from a good bean) and a slightly smaller but sweeter bean. The most common varietal is Bourbon and the best selling Brazilians will probably have “Santos” somewhere in the name. This is not a bean type but it refers to the harbour from which most beans are shipped. It would be unfair to classify all Brazilian beans as the same, this is far from accurate. There are indeed some very good beans coming out of Brazil - in particular some of the dry or naturally processed beans.  

Brazil Cerrado

At EL Coffee, we draw our Brazils from the well known Cerrado region. The coffee plantations are massive and very mechanised. Unlike in East Africa, there are no shaded growing areas and while organic farming is practiced as much as possible, economics will prevail and few beans are grown 100% naturally. The soil needs a little help and most Brazilian beans are very “farmed.”


Brazil coffee typically boasts a good body and this is very important in any blend. As roasters we strive to achieve a good balance and we find that the Brazils need to accompany other complimentary beans when used in a blend. What we feel is important is to select the larger screen sizes, 17/8 if available and to blend carefully to ensure that the Brazils play their role but do not dominate in the cup. As a single origin coffee? There are, in our opinion, better coffees available for just a few cents more…we don’t generally offer the Brazils as a single origin option but when we come across one that “shouts” we’ll certainly give it a try. This said, one can expect a choc-nut flavour, typical of many South American coffees. We prefer the taste of a Full City Brazil (as compared to a medium roast), this seems to bring out more flavour and to dilute the somewhat dusty flavours we found evident in the lighter roasts. The varietals are often mixed and predominantly Bourbon; Typica and Caturra.

Dry Processed: Yes

Altitude: Meters 800-1200

Introduced: Seeds brought by the Dutch from Java to the Botanical Gardens of Amsterdam where sent to Surinam in 1714, and then the French brought them to Brazil a few years later.

Harvest Times: May-Aug

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Coffee blending

There are two primary reasons for blending (i) To combine favourable individual characteristics of one bean with complimentary characteristics from others to achieve a well balanced flavourful coffee with a good body (mouth feel); aroma; taste and after-taste and (ii) to do this is such a way that a good coffee can still be affordable to a discerning market at an affordable price. Many of the Brazil beans help blenders to achieve both these objectives. They are relatively speaking inexpensive, and do have a role to play in a blend. This said, too much; too cheap; too bad.