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 agroindustry with a whole range of agricultural products being added to traditional exports such as coffee.
Brazil is famously the world’s largest coffee producer, accounting typically for over one quarter of world production (an average of 30 million bags). About two-thirds of domestic production is arabica with one-third robusta (conillon as it is known locally). Coffee is produced mainly in the states of Minas Gerais, Espirito Santo and Sao Paulo. Traditionally most arabica produced has been natural dried coffee, though more recently quality improvements have seen a growth of pulped naturals (effectively a semi-washed process) and washed arabicas. Brazilian coffee is preferred by many as a base for espresso blends as it offers low acidity and a smooth sweetness. Brazil is rare as a producer in that it consumes about 45-50% of its own production (15 million bags). This makes Brazil the world’s second largest consumer of coffee in the world after the US. The harvest for arabicas starts in June.