Last Updated on September 28, 2021 by John Moretti
With Brazil’s perfect coffee plant growing climate to their traditional coffee bean processing methods, Brazilian coffee is defiantly a coffee to try. Here is everything you should know about Brazilian coffee.
Brazilian coffee is grown along the Atlantic coast of Brazil; this offers steady temperatures and moderate rainfall. The coffee beans are usually strip picked, then processed through one of three ways, wet processing, dry processing, or semi-dry processing. Each method affects the coffee’s flavor.
What do these processing methods entail? What is the classification system that Brazilian coffee has to go through before it gets packaged? What are the six best Brazilian coffee beans? Let us find out.
The History Of Brazilian Coffee
A man named Francisco de Mello Palheta introduced coffee to Brazil in 1727 from Cayenne in French Guiana. Since then, Brazil has now grown into the largest coffee-producing country in the world, and they are now fast becoming a significant player in the industry of specialty coffees.
But after coffee was introduced to Brazil, the Brazilian Institute do Café (IBC) and the International Coffee Organisation (ICO) began to set quotas for the exportation and importation of coffee to and from Brazil, the quality of the Brazilian coffee began to decline. As quotas were set, large volumes of coffee were expected.
This then shifted the Brazilian coffee manufacturer’s focus to quantity instead of quality. These Brazilian coffee manufacturers started to mix together high-quality coffee beans with the lower quality ones so that they could make their quotas and supply the demand.
However, in the ’90s, the Brazilian government broke the quota laws for the coffee industry, which then caused a revolution in how coffee from Brazil would be exported. This revolution brought a reform throughout the entire coffee production process; everything was changed from growing to treating the coffee bean.
From this, many coffees were born, and Brazilian coffee producers started experimenting with specialty coffees once again. Brazilian coffee beans today are not only used for mixing coffee blends. This gives the end consumer more variety and the ability to mix their own coffee beans to enhance the flavors they enjoy.
Coffee Production In Brazil
Coffee in Brazil first starts out with perfectly grown coffee beans, and each coffee plant will have its own way of growing the beans for the specific coffee that they produce. Then the coffee cherries are harvested either mechanically or by the strip picking method.
From there, the coffee is processed by either a dry, wet, or semi-dry method, depending on the flavor profile the manufacturer is going for.
A large majority of the Brazilian coffee beans today are processed through the dry method as Brazil has the best weather for this method to be done successfully. Even if some of the coffee processing is done mechanically in Brazil, they seem to have one of the world’s most well-cared-for coffee processing systems.
Their coffee is defiantly prepared with love. Let us have an in-depth look at the dry, wet, and semi-dry processing methods that Brazil uses for its coffee.
The Dry Processing Method
The dry process is a natural method to help process the coffee beans. This method requires the beans to be dried while they are still in the coffee cherry. In this method, the coffee cherries with the beans are left in the air to dry out.
This is the most complex drying method as the drying times are long, and there is a possibility of the cherries fermenting which will ruin the coffee beans processed in this method. So, the coffee is watched carefully throughout the entire drying period.
When coffee is processed using the drying method, the coffee will have a heavy body, and will be smooth, and have a complex flavor. The coffee will also have a slightly sweet flavor due to the coffee beans being dried in the coffee cherries.
This dry processing method is the traditional method of processing coffee beans in Brazil, which is why this method is the one that is used the most in Brazilian coffee production.
The Wet Processing Method
This method is a relatively new one when compared to the dry processing method, but it does add a different dynamic and flavor profile to the coffee that is processed in the wet method. In the wet processing method, the four outer layers of the coffee cherry are removed from the coffee bean.
The coffee cherries are soaked and mixed around to get the layers off of the coffee beans; this can also be time-consuming. When the coffee beans are processed in this method, the resulting coffee is brighter, cleaner, and has a fruitier flavor as the coffee beans sit in the water with the four layers of the coffee cherry.
The Semi-Dry Processing Method
The semi-dry processing method is also called the pulped natural method. This processing method consists of pulping the coffee and allowing the fermentation stage to occur slightly to help remove the silverskin off the coffee.
This processing method can only be done in countries that have low humidity. The semi-dry processing method results in the coffee have characteristics of both a wet and a dry-processed coffee.
This coffee is sweeter than wet-processed coffee, and it retains some of the body of a dry-processed coffee while keeping a bit of the acidity of a wet-processed coffee. Brazil has made the semi-dry processing method famous as they produce some of the best semi-dried coffee beans in the world.
So much so that all twenty of the winners in the year 2000 in the Brazilian competition called Gourmet Cup were processed using the semi-dry method.
Coffee Growing Conditions In Brazil
Brazil has the best climate and weather conditions compared with any country for the growth and production of coffee beans. Most of the coffee-growing farms in Brazil are located in the southern part of Brazil along the Atlantic Coast.
This is the best place to grow the coffee as the temperatures are steady throughout the year, and the area receives moderate rain and sunlight that is perfect for coffee plants.
This area of Brazil is located at a high altitude that is between 400 and 1600 meters above sea level. This is important as this altitude is considered to help the coffee plant grow faster and bigger.
Brazil prides itself in producing top-quality coffee beans, and to do this; they ensure that all the ingredients they use are as natural as possible. Natural ingredients mixed with traditional processing methods help bring out the beautiful and natural flavors of the coffee. So, most coffee manufacturers in Brazil will still follow this proven recipe.
Almost all Brazilian coffees are natural, meaning unwashed, or pulped natural, meaning semi-washed. This means that the processing of their coffee is a natural process. After the coffee cherries are picked, they are dried exactly as they are, so the skin and the mucilage are not removed before the drying process begins.
This is an essential aspect of Brazilian coffee. Even though the natural processing methods can be more difficult to carry out without damaging the coffee beans, they add more sweetness, body, complexity, and smoothness to the coffee taste profile that Brazilian coffees are known for.
The Diverse Coffee Of Brazil
Brazil has very diverse coffee with a wide array of options to choose from. Brazil has fourteen major coffee-producing regions that are spread over seven states. These coffee regions are considered the main ones in the country, but there are far more than these specific ones. This allows for the coffee to be as diverse as it is because many factories have different ways of producing their coffees.
With all these factories producing coffee, you can find a wide variety of traditional, experimental, and specialty coffees cultivated in different Brazilian coffee farms. With everything that is on offer from the Brazilian coffee producers, it will not be challenging to find a Brazilian coffee that you love.
Brazil’s Complex Classification System For Coffee
Brazil is known for its high-quality coffee beans, and there is a process in place to ensure that only the best coffee beans are packaged for customers to purchase. This process can take a long time as many factors are checked, and there are multiple tests for the coffee beans to go through for them to pass and be considered quality coffee beans.
Brazil has a very complex and highly detailed coffee classification system when compared to other countries. In Brazil, coffees beans are ranked based on several factors, including the color of the coffee, screen sorting, as well as the cupping of the coffee.
When the coffees have to go through the above ranking, they are then rated from best to worst and are given a rating of either soft, softish, or hard in terms of flavor. This complex classification system provides the end coffee user more information about the coffee they purchase, which allows them the determine a particular coffees’ quality and flavor profile to ensure they get the best one for their tastes.
Taste Profile Of Brazilian Coffee
Brazil has produced specialty-grade coffee beans time and time again. Not only do they offer great espresso blends, but their single origins coffee beans are of a higher standard than most other countries. Brazilian coffees are always distinctive and of high quality.
Brazilian coffee has low acidity with bittersweet flavors allowing for a smooth drinking experience. The primary flavors that are generally found in most Brazilian coffees are chocolaty and nutty flavors that can range from a milk chocolate taste to a bitter cocoa taste, with a toasted almond flavor. Some Brazilian coffees may also have a lovely smooth caramel flavor to them.
Some coffee beans that are processed in the traditional method will have a fruiter taste to them as the coffee cherry is kept on the coffee beans for a large chunk of the process.
The low acidity in Brazilian coffees is the reason why some people underestimate the quality of the coffee, but the more you drink it, the bolder the flavors become, and you will find a surprisingly good flavor profile for all Brazilian coffees.
Fun Facts About Brazilian Coffee
We all know that Brazil produces the most coffee out of all the countries in the world, but what else is there to know about Brazilian coffee? Now that we have gone through how Brazilian coffee is produced, we can now go through some little-known and surprising facts about Brazilian coffee.
- Brazil has planted almost 6.7 million acres of coffee bushes
- Brazil produces thirty percent of the world’s coffee supply
- Brazilian coffee beans are harvested from May to September
- About eighty percent of the coffee made in Brazil is a coffee known as Arabica
- Brazil has taken the second prize for the most expensive coffee produced on record with a whopping $49.75 per pound for one particular coffee brand
- The coffee industry in Brazil generates around 8 million jobs
- Brazil not only makes a large amount of coffee, but they also consume a considerable amount as Brazil is the second-largest coffee consumer in the world
- Brazil is the number one coffee supplier to the USA
- Unprocessed coffee beans are exported from Brazil to Japan, The US, and the UK duty-free
The 6 Best Brazilian Coffee Beans
With the amount of coffee on offer from Brazil nowadays, it can be very challenging to figure out which coffees bean you should buy to try out. Below is a list that covers what we think the best Brazilian coffees are.
The coffee beans on this list offer a variety of flavors as well as roasts, so there is something for everyone’s tastes. Let us go through the list so you can find the best Brazilian coffee beans for you.
1. Volcanica Brazil Peaberry Coffee, Fresh Roasted
Volcanica Brazil Peaberry Coffee is a freshly roasted coffee that is pack immediately after being roasted to make sure you get the freshest taste possible in your cup of coffee. This coffee is also packaged in a resealable bag for better convenience.
These coffee beans are 100 percent pure Brazilian Peaberry coffee beans that are farmed in the Santana estate in Brazil. These coffee beans offer a full and rich-bodied cup of coffee that has a smooth flavor that makes for a lovely drinking experience.
Volcanica Brazil Peaberry beans are medium roasted to allow for the authentic flavor of the coffee to come, though, making for a great cup of coffee. These coffee beans offer flavor characteristics that are nutty and sweet tasting hazelnut, with a hint of raspberry.
There is very little to not like about these coffee beans, that is why they are number one on this list, but if you prefer a lighter roast with light coffee flavors, then these coffee beans may not be for you. But it would be best if you kept reading down the list as mentioned earlier; there is something for everyone.
2. Volcanica Low Acid Coffee Blend
Volcanica low acidity coffee blend is a full-bodied coffee that is a medium roast, which allows the authentic flavor of this coffee to come through, offering a great tasting cup of coffee. This coffee is only available in whole beans, but this lets you choose the grind of the beans yourself, meaning you can adjust the strength of the flavor to your specific taste.
Volcanica Low Acid Coffee Blend offers a PH level of between 5.3 and 5.3; this makes this coffee less acidic than most coffees on the market today. This low acidity allows for a smoother drinking experience with less tartness in the aftertaste.
These coffee beans are processed using the wet processing method, offering a different and unique taste compared to other coffees. These coffee beans have a fruitier flavor to them, with some notes of tangerine coming through, along with some notes of chocolate and nuts.
These coffee beans are freshly roasted and then immediately packaged to assure a fresher taste, and they come in a handy resealable bag.
3. Coffee Bean Direct, Dark Brazilian Santos
The Dark Brazilian Santos from Coffee Bean Direct is a lovely dark roasted coffee with a full and rich flavor with a low acidity level. This stunning coffee has smooth and tart flavors that are complemented by an eye-opening aroma.
These Dark Brazilian Santos coffee beans have a surprising but delightful note of a cinnamon flavor, along with a hint of dark chocolate and dried cherries. These are really premium coffee beans with a deep flavor, but they are a dark roast, so they are not suited for people who like lighter coffee.
4. Tres Pontas Brazilian Gourmet Coffee
Tres Pontas Brazilian Gourmet coffee is made with 100 percent pure Arabica coffee beans from Brazil. These Brazilian arabica coffee beans are known for being the Merlot of coffee beans. This Gourmet coffee will produce notes of dark chocolate, with a lovely smoky caramel flavor followed closely behind.
These coffee beans are meant for the Premium coffee drinker that does not skimp on taste. These Gourmet coffee beans are grown and harvested from one single coffee farm that is located in Tres Pontas, Brazil.
These coffee beans are hand-roasted in small batches, using a labor-intensive method to ensure farm-to-table quality. This method also preserves the unique flavor of these coffee beans.
A percentage of every Tres Pontas Brazilian Gourmet coffee bag that is sold gets donated to the town’s education system to help increase the standards of learning offered to children in the town.
5. Cooper’s Cask Espresso Cremoso
Cooper’s Cask Espresso Cremoso is available in both a pre-ground espresso grind option as well as in a whole bean option, which is excellent for people who do not want to grind their beans themselves. This fantastic Brazilian coffee is a creamy single-origin, dark coffee.
Cooper’s Cask Espresso Cremoso does Brazilian coffee justice as it has the typical chocolate characteristic that is found in most Brazilian coffees. But this traditional chocolatey flavor is not all the flavors that this coffee has to offer. This coffee roast has lovely notes of orange and cherry, with a light touch of brown sugar. This coffee also gives off an enjoyable and intense aroma.
This coffee is a medium-dark roast coffee that does a great job of letting you experience the delightful and interesting flavors of Brazilian coffee. Even though this is a medium to dark roast, the coffee is much lighter than you would expect, especially from an espresso.
6. Volcanica Brazil Yellow Bourbon
This coffee bean is everything you want out of a Brazilian coffee bean. Volcanica Brazil Yellow Bourbon is made from a strain of Arabica coffee beans, know as bourbon beans, and these coffee beans are considered rare.
These coffee beans offer a mellow and smooth cup of coffee, with some interesting notes of almond and lemon flavors. This coffee bean is well suited for coffee drinkers that prefer an all-around good cup of coffee as this coffee is delicious. However, if you prefer a cup of coffee with a lighter single-origin, then these medium roast coffee beans could be a bit too dark for your tastes.
These Volcanica Brazil Yellow Bourbon coffee beans are grown at a high altitude, and it is highly aromatic, moderately acidic, but full-bodied. Not only does this Yellow Bourbon coffee have a great flavor profile, but it also looks fantastic and is packaged in a lovely-looking, resealable bag.
The only issue with Volcanica Brazil Yellow Bourbon coffee is the price tag. This is a gourmet coffee that has a gourmet price.
Brazilian coffee has a vast history, and the coffee went from not the best to being some of the best coffee beans on offer in the world today. Brazilian coffee is now considered to be premium coffee, and some of them have the price tag to prove it. But no matter your taste, you are more than able to find a lovely Brazilian coffee that suits you. Have fun on your Brazilian coffee journey!