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Learn a little more about coffee from Brazil.
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Last month we focussed our attention on Guatemala and hopefully gave you some interesting insights into the range of coffees on offer from this origin.  If you haven't yet read this newsletter you can do so here.

This month we focus on the largest coffee producing country in the world, Brazil.  Producing 43.2 million bags (60kg) of coffee per year, Brazil grows around one third of the world's coffee.  It's closest rival, Vietnam, produces 27.5 million bags of coffee.  Brazilians are also pretty good at drinking coffee with each person drinking around 5.9kg per year, which is twice as much as that drunk by a person in the UK (2.8kg per year).
Coffee is not native to Brazil and was introduced in the 1770s by the Portuguese.  Within 60 years coffee cultivation had grown to such an extend that it was Brazil's largest export, accounting for 30% of the world's production.  The early coffee industry was highly dependent upon slavery and in the first half of the nineteenth century, 1.5 million slaves were imported to undertake the work.  Slavery was final abolished in 1888 but Brazils monopolisation of world coffee production continued to grow, reaching a peak in the 1920s when it accounted for 80% of the world's supply.  In the intervening years the country's market share has declined gradually due to an increase in production in other countries.  
Brazil has a huge influence on the global price of coffee.  An impending frost or drought in the country, which can reduce the quantity of coffee produced, can influence whether the price of coffee goes up or down.  A drought in 2015 has reduced the size of the recent harvest and traditionally this might have pushed global prices up.  However, this drop in production has been countered by an increase in other countries: over the past twelve months we've seen a steady drop in the coffee market, which may be due in part to a surplus of coffee in the world.
The Coffee C (or coffee futures market) has been on a downward trend over the past 12 months.
We've used coffee from Fazenda Passeio on a number of occasions, primarily as a component in our espresso blends.  We're currently using a pulped natural coffee from this farm.  The farm is located in the Minas Gerais region, one of Brazils most well known coffee producing areas.  The Vieira Ferreira family has specialized in coffee production for three generations and the farm is now headed by Adolfo Vieira Ferreira.
 
Coffee Exports 2015 (60kg bags)
Coffees from Brazil exemplify why traceability is not necessarily linked to quality.  For many years we've come across coffee marked as Santos, and marketed as a high quality coffee.  In reality this term refers only to the port from which the coffee was exported and has nothing to do with where the coffee was grown.  That said, a good coffee from the region will be traceable to a specific farm or Fazenda.
We used coffee from Fazenda Cruzeiro in another of our espresso blends.  We chose a naturally processed coffee in this instance: coffee cherries are dried in the sun (see image) and the coffee beans removed mechanically.  Naturally processed coffees can have fruity, earthy and fermented tones.  We'll be offering a very special naturally processed coffee in April - more details below.
Paraná is the most southerly of the coffee growing regions in Brazil.  The region produces around 2 million bags of coffee but the low altitudes prevent really high quality coffees being grown.
São Paulo contains one of the better known coffee growing regions in Brazil, Mogiana.  The altitude here ranges from 800 to 1,200m
The state of Minas Gerais has some of the highest mountains in Brazil and accounts for around half of the country's production.
One of the northernmost coffee growing regions in Brazil, Bahia's reputation was enhanced in 2009 when 5 of the top ten lots in the Cup of Excellence competition came from Bahia.
At the end of March we'll be taking delivery of our very first Cup of Excellence coffee, which just happens to be a naturally processed coffee from Brazil.  We're very excited about this particular lot as it will be the first of some very special coffees we hope to release this year.
We've only committed to a very small amount of this coffee and will make it available for a short period of time in April.

If you'd like to try this coffee, simply follow these steps:
  1. Register your interest here
  2. About a week before this coffee goes on sale we'll send you an email
  3. You'll receive another email when the coffee becomes available
  4. Only customers who have pre-registered their interest will be able to buy this coffee, giving you the best chance of getting a bag
References
In compiling the above information we needed to refer to a number of sources:
Data on coffee production in Brazil came from the International Coffee Organisation, www.iso.org
For the short history on Brazil coffee and information on coffee growing areas we referred to 'The World Atlas of Coffee' by James Hoffmann
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