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Brazilian Coffee Guide (Top Picks, Guide + Brewing Tips)

It’s not hard to find Brazilian Coffee – most of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil! But what is Brazilian coffee really known for? How is it grown and harvested? Will they always be the world’s largest coffee producing country?

And the most important question: How do find and brew amazing Brazilian coffee from your own home?

Read on to find out how coffee in Brazil got its start, where the industry is going in the future, what sets Brazil apart from other coffee producing countries, and the best Brazilian coffee brands available.

TOP PICK

Pact Coffee Planalto

The key to getting a good quality Brazilian coffee is a good relationship with the grower. And this is where Pact Coffee excels, using a direct-trade model to ensure farmers are paid well and can engage in sustainable farming practices.

IMAGE PRODUCT DETAILS
Best Overall Best Overall Pact Coffee Planalto Pact Coffee Planalto
  • Dark roast
  • Chocolate, malt notes
  • Ground and whole bean
click to check price
Best Value for Money Best Value for Money Clifton Coffee Suspension Espresso Clifton Coffee Suspension Espresso
  • Dark roast
  • Flapjacks, sultanas notes
  • Whole bean
click to check price
Budget Pick Budget Pick Thomson’s Brazil Red Ruby Thomson’s Brazil Red Ruby
  • Medium roast
  • Dried fruit, macadamia, red wine notes
  • Ground and whole bean
CLICK TO CHECK PRICE
Best Blend Best Blend Clumsy Goat Fairtrade Brazilian Super Crema Clumsy Goat Fairtrade Brazilian Super Crema
  • Medium roast
  • Nuts, caramel, dark chocolate notes
  • Whole beans
CLICK TO CHECK PRICE

Some Interesting Facts About Brazilian Coffee

Brazil is a massive country. The 5th largest country in the world by landmass (8.51 million square kilometres) and the 5th most populated country in the world (207 million).

Much of the country is still rainforest. It’s warm tropical climate make it great for growing coffee. So what makes Brazil such a unique coffee growing country?

Facts About Brazilian Coffee

Brazil Produces the Most Coffee of Any Coffee Growing Nation

For the last 150 years Brazil has been producing more coffee (1) than any other country in the world. In 2016, Brazil produced 2,595,000 metric tons of coffee beans, where as Vietnam, the 2nd largest producer of coffee stood at 1,650,000 metric tons. Ethiopia (#5 on the list) only produced 384,000 tons.

Brazil and Ethiopia are the only coffee producing countries that have a significant coffee consumption. Most other coffee producing countries export most of their coffee and hardly drink any themselves.

Brazilian fun fact: Brazil is also the largest consumer of coffee. Yet on a per capita basis it is the 14th largest consumer.

Slavery [Might Still Exist] on Coffee Plantations

Coffee arrived in the nation in the mid-1700’s by French settlers. As time passed, coffee eventually became Brazil’s largest export, passing sugar cane.

Guyana-and-Brazil

By 1840, Brazil was producing more coffee than any other country, and plantation owners became very wealthy. It wasn’t until 1888 that slavery was officially abolished (2). But even today, there are farms that still have slavery-like conditions (3).

Brazil has been very progressive in the coffee farming and production industry and protecting farmers, but sometimes farms can slide under the radar and treat migrant workers like slaves.

The largest farms are so advanced in their practices and technologies that they are frequently monitored by different agencies to meet certain certifications, and the smallest farms are typically run by families.

It’s the medium-sized farms that are at the highest risk of slave like conditions, such as long workdays, lack of proper shelter, and debt bondage.

Be aware of this when buying direct – you don’t want to be supporting that shit!

Growing Conditions

The coffee regions of Brazil (4) are nestled alongside the Atlantic Coast in the southeast region of the country. These areas receive moderate sunlight and rain with steady temperatures year round, which are great for growing both Arabica and Robusta beans.

brazilian-growing-conditions

What Brazil lacks, however, is the higher elevations, which tend to produce better coffee. Because of the lower elevations, farms can grow more coffee, faster. They can also grow Robusta beans. The result is more quantity, but not necessarily high quality coffee.

The country is investing time and money to produce better drying technologies to speed up the process and to protect the beans from prolonged fermentation.

Brazilian fun fact: Brazil also has the ideal weather conditions for dry (or natural) processed coffee. Therefore, most of the coffee produced in Brazil is processed naturally.

Brazil also processes a significant amount of their coffee via the pulped natural method, which combines the best characteristics of wet and dry processed methodologies.

Due to the low humidity, Brazil has mastered this processing method and produces the best pulped natural coffees around the globe.

Thirteen out of the 27 federative states of Brazil that produce coffee including Rio de Janeiro, which has the second largest economy in the country. The 3 largest and most prominent coffee growing states in the country are:

  1. Minas Gerais – Meaning General Mines, this is the biggest coffee-growing state where 4 coffee-producing regions are located. It houses half of Brazil’s coffee production farms. High-quality Obatã, Icatu, Catuaí, Catuaí Rubi, and Mundo Novo coffees are grown here.
    • Cerrado de Minas – This region was the first to be awarded the Designation of Origin status. With elevations reaching 800 to 1,300 meters, this region produces high-grade coffees.
    • Chapada de Minas – This region of valleys and highlands grows Catuai and Mundo Novo varieties.
    • Matas de Minas – The area is mostly composed of small coffee farms. This emerging coffee-region’s landscape is uneven and the coffee varietals that are produced here are known to have chocolate or caramel notes.
    • Sul de Minas – With mild temperatures and average altitude of 1000 meters, this region has been producing 30% of the country’s coffee. Coffees produced in Sul de Minas are known to be full-bodied with fruity notes.
  2. Espírito Santo – This state mainly grows Robusta coffee beans. It’s home to the coffee growing regions Montanhas de Espirito Santo and Conilon Capixaba.
  3. São Paulo – This state is where you’ll find Port Santos, which is the port known for coffee exportation. It is home to the coffee subregions Mogiana and Centre-Oeste de São Paulo coffee farms.
    • Centro-Oeste de São Paolo – This region covers four cities. Its coffee farms are mostly small to medium in size. It has quite a craggy, uneven terrain.
    • Mogiana – With land areas sitting 900 to 1,100 meters above sea level and mild temperatures, this region is able to produce high-quality coffee beans.

Flavour Characteristics And Tasting Notes

Brazilian coffee tends to be low in acidity, smooth in body with sweet flavours.

Brazilian-Coffee-Flavor-Profile-1

These flavours are primarily chocolatey and nutty. These can range from milk chocolate to bitter cocoa and toasted almond.

Some of the higher quality, speciality grade coffees that grow at higher elevations can contain subtle citrus notes and other brighter fruit characteristics. It’s very rare to find a Brazil with a bright, juicy acidity.

>>> Click Here To Try Authentic, High Quality Brazilian Coffee Beans

Honourable Mentions

Don’t miss beans from the following regions of Brasilia:

Brazil Santos coffee is the most well known speciality grade coffee from the nation. The name Brazil Santos comes from the port that the coffee of this region travels through.

Bourbon Santos is arguably the best coffee Brazil has to offer. Bourbon Santos coffee is known for its smooth and mild flavours, and is often described as nutty and sweet. Most of these beans are grown in São Paulo or Minas Gerais.

Carmo de Minas is another wonderful coffee from Brazil. Carmo de Minas is located in the southern part of Minas Gerais state, which has fertile soil and slightly higher elevations than much of the country.

Coffee-harvest

The coffee produced here may have a bit more acidity with some soft fruit notes, backed by a sweet chocolatey body. Estate coffee’s from Brazil are those grown at specific, high quality farms in the country. When you see the word “estate,” it can be traced back to that specific farm and family. Many of these coffees are those that win awards, so if you see one, be sure to pick it up.

The Current State of the Brazil’s Coffee-Growing Industry

As far as technology and sustainability is concerned, Brazil is one of the most developed nations (5) in terms of coffee production. Despite coffee production facing so many obstacles these days, Brazilian coffee farmers continue to adapt and improve their practices.

Brazil is continuously investing in new technologies to increase efficiency and quality on the farms and is trying to ensure coffee farmers are well cared for, paid right and given ample opportunity.

70-80% of the coffee produced in Brazil is Arabica. The rest is Robusta.

Brazilian coffee industry

For a country that produces so much coffee, with a relatively low growing elevation, not all coffee is great. In fact, most of the coffee produced is not good. But it all serves a purpose: Most speciality roasters purchase Brazil’s for their blends.

These coffee’s are full bodied, sweet and low in acidity, so they can blend them with coffee’s that have a light body and brighter flavour notes to achieve a balanced cup or the perfect espresso.

Brazil is also the world’s largest exporter of instant coffee (6). Between 10-20% of all coffee exported by Brazil is instant coffee. Instant coffee is usually made up lower quality coffees.

In 1960, coffee was Brazil’s top export, accounting for nearly 60% of all of the country’s exports. In 2006, coffee accounted for 2.5% of the country’s exports.

Brazilian fun fact: While Brazil’s dependence on coffee has come down quite dramatically, it’s the most significant player in the industry today.

The Best Way To Brew Methods for Brazilian Coffee

The best Brazilian coffee beans can produce a drink with a full body, low acidity and notes of sweet chocolate and toasted nut. There are multiple ways of enjoying this type of coffee to the fullest. Whichever brew method you prefer, just make sure that the ground coffee is in the ideal fineness or coarseness.

Best Brew Method for Brazilian coffee

French Press

The French Press is known for brewing coffee with a full, heavy body. Because the French press is a full immersion brewer, the ground coffee sit’s in the water for up to 5 minutes.

This doesn’t do so well with highly acidic coffee, as it can taste sour and muddy. But It is perfect, however for coffees that are naturally lower in acidity. It also helps to pronounce the sweet chocolate notes of the coffee.

Espresso

Almost every traditional espresso blend has Brazilian coffees in it. Why? These beans are just made for espresso. Again, it’s the full, sweet, chocolately character that helps to make the perfect shot of espresso.

Cold Brew

Brazil’s do great as cold brew for the same reasons listed above. Most people want their cold brew to be smooth and refreshing. Brazilian coffee excel and smooth and refreshing, especially when brewed cold.

Where to Buy The Best Brazilian Coffee Brands

>>> My Choice: Brazilian Peaberry Coffee. Check The Price Here!

It’s not hard to find Brazilian coffee. But it can be relatively difficult to find an excellent coffee from Brazil. In fact, it can be hard to find ANY good coffee bean. Check out these roasters for the best Brazilian coffee brands.

1. Pact Coffee Planalto – Best Overall

Specifications

  • Roast level: Dark

  • Tasting notes: Chocolate, malt
  • Ground or whole bean: Both

The key to getting a good quality Brazilian coffee is a good relationship with the grower. And this is where Pact Coffee excels, using a direct-trade model to ensure farmers are paid well and can engage in sustainable farming practices.

One of the brand’s longest partnerships is with the Planalto Estate in the Sul de Minas region. Here the Mantovanini family plant Mundo Novo and Red Catuai, as well as this Yellow Catuai coffee. They’ve maintained 350 acres of natural forest across the estate, and recycle the coffee pulp for use as fertiliser.

Pact’s Planalto beans have the chocolatey flavours that characterise Brazilian coffees. With a dark roast, they’ve developed rich, malty tastes, with a smooth and creamy mouthfeel. Try brewing as an espresso or with a French press.

2. Clifton Coffee Suspension Espresso – Best Value for Money

Specifications

  • Roast level: Dark

  • Tasting notes: Flapjacks, sultanas
  • Ground or whole bean: Whole bean

If sustainability is one of the key things you look for when buying a coffee, Clifton Coffee’s Suspension Espresso will pique your interest. The beans come from the Fazenda Pinhal in Sul de Minas, which was named the most sustainable farm in Brazil in 2019. 

Sixth generation farmer Pedro Gabarras has made a commitment to preserving at least 40% of the estate as natural forest, has eliminated the need for irrigation, and also installed solar panels to make the farm self-sufficient for energy. There’s also a nursery on the farm to rehabilitate and release native birds.

As for the coffee itself, these are Mundo Novo beans that have been natural processed on-site. In the cup, you’ll get a full-bodied brew with low acidity that’s very easy to drink. Flavours are sweet, with tastes of dried fruit and treacle.

3. Thomson’s Brazil Red Ruby – Budget Pick

Specifications

  • Roast level: Medium

  • Tasting notes: Dried fruit, macadamia, red wine
  • Ground or whole bean: Both

Thomson’s Coffee has the claim to fame of being the oldest coffee roastery in Glasgow, with a history that dates back to 1841. The founder David Thomson even patented the Napier Coffee Apparatus – a precursor to the syphon brewer.

The company has extensive experience making blends, particularly darker roasts, but their more modern offerings include micro-lot coffees that highlight the natural flavour profiles of the beans.

The Brazil Red Ruby coffee is sourced from a small farm found 900-1300 metres up in the Sul de Minas region. Here, Red and Yellow Catuai, Mundo Novo and Acaiá coffee has been planted among patches of natural forest and fruit trees. This offering produces a smooth but strong coffee with the sweetness of dried fruit and red wine, and some of the nuttiness you’d expect from a good Brazilian coffee.

4. Clumsy Goat Fairtrade Brazilian Super Crema – Best Blend

Specifications

  • Roast level: Medium 

  • Tasting notes: Nuts, caramel, dark chocolate
  • Ground or whole bean: Whole beans

It’s often lower-grade Brazilian beans that are added to espresso blends, but this blend from Clumsy Goat uses quality beans to accentuate the best things about the country’s coffee. Rather than a mix of regions, it’s a 50/50 blend of Arabica and Robusta beans.

Like all Clumsy Goat offerings, this coffee is Fair Trade and sustainably sourced. Both parts of the mix come from the Coocafe Cooperative, a group of around 6,000 farmers growing coffee in Minas Gerais and nearby Espirito Santo.

The Brazilian Super Crema blend delivers a coffee with a smooth mouthfeel, with a strength of flavour and aroma coming from the Robusta beans. On the palate, you’ll find deep Brazilian flavours of nuts, caramel and dark chocolate.

Most Suitable Roast type for Brazilian Coffees

Brazil coffee can handle whatever you prefer.

  • If you like a lighter roast, you will get a smooth, low acid, chocolatey and nutty cup of coffee. It will be easy drinking.
  • If you like a darker roast, these beans can handle that as well. The dark roast will really highlight the full body and the toasted nut character.

The chocolatey notes may go from a milk chocolate sweetness to a bitter sweet cocoa.

These coffee beans are versatile and you can enjoy them anyway you like.

Best Roast Types

Brazil coffee beans tend to have a low bean density which may make roasting a bit trickier than other coffees. You simply need to pay attention while roasting and not go too fast.

Since these beans are softer, applying lower heat for a longer period of time will make for a balanced roast, as opposed to high heat quickly, which may just scorch the beans.

Aproveite, Meu Amigo! (Enjoy, my friend)

Brazilian coffee is technically the most popular coffee in the world. It’s everywhere, especially in the United States. We get most of their exports. Chances are, there are some good Brazilian coffee brands out there for you.

This single origin coffee has it’s own unique profile and its characteristics will only be improving as time goes by and Brazil invests more and more in their industry.

Have a favourite coffee from Brazil? Where’d you get it?

  1. Top Coffee Producing Countries – WorldAtlas.com Retrieved from https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/top-coffee-producing-countries.html
  2. Brazil Coffee Industry – The Brazil Business Retrieved from https://thebrazilbusiness.com/article/brazilian-coffee-industry
  3. In Brazil’s CoffeeIndustry, Some Workers Face ‘Conditions Analogous to Slavery’ – Foreign Policy Retrieved from https://foreignpolicy.com/2016/04/13/in-brazils-coffee-industry-some-workers-face-conditions-analogous-to-slavery/
  4. Brazil’s Coffee Regions – Brasilbar – Brasilbar Retrieved from https://www.brasilbar.com/blog/archives/brazils-coffee-regions
  5. Challenges of world coffee production: Brazil in the right direction! – Cecafé Retrieved From https://www.cecafe.com.br/en/sustainability/articles/challenges-of-world-coffee-production-brazil-in-the-right-direction-20160913/
  6. World’s Largest Coffee Producer and Exporter: Brazil Retrieved From https://www.morethanshipping.com/worlds-largest-coffee-producer-and-exporter-brazil/
Jovana D
I come from a country where people drink domestic coffee (what the rest of the world knows as Turkish coffee) and where Nescafe designates all instant coffees ever made. So, imagine my first encounter with, say, Hario V60...Yes, it was love at first sight.  Today I’m a moderate coffee connoisseur and a huge coffee lover. My favorite brewing methods are the V60 and traditional espresso-making. Yet, despite my country’s long tradition of Turkish-coffee-adoring, I somehow cannot stand it. That’s just too dark, even for me.

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