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If you’ve ever sat down with a cup of coffee and wondered exactly where it came from, the likelihood is that its beans were grown, processed and produced in Brazil. Home to approximately 300,000 plantations that produce around 2,592,000 metric tonnes of Brazilian coffee a year*, Brazil grows more beans than any other country on the planet and not by a small margin either. The second biggest, Vietnam, produced 1,650,000 metric tonnes in 2016, falling short of Brazil's output by almost 1,000,000 tonnes! Considering Vietnam still produced 840,000 tonnes more than Colombia, which comes in at third place, you could say that the Brazilian farmers are true connoisseurs of the coffee bean.

The Demand Grows...

The 1700s saw the rise of coffee production in Brazil, with it quickly gaining in popularity and spreading across the region. Increased demand from North America and Europe - England, France, the Netherlands, and Germany in particular - helped to drive this growth. In fact, it was so popular in Germany at the time that Johann Sebastian Bach composed 'Schweigt Stille, Plaudert Nicht', which quickly became known as the "Coffee Cantata". Though the title actually translates to 'Be Still, Stop Chattering," coffee plays a major role in this comic opera as it tells the story of a father trying to get his daughter to kick her coffee addiction.

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Brazil grows more beans than any other country on the planet and not by a small margin either.

The Ideal Environment...

Brazil’s tropical climate provides the ideal environment for coffee bean cultivation, with Arabica coffee the most highly produced. The busiest time for farmers is between May and August – harvest season – when production is at its peak. Almost half of Brazil’s entire coffee output stems from Minas Gerais – a south-eastern state. The richness of the soil and high altitudes result in the perfect conditions for coffee crops. Robusta, a Brazilian coffee bean, is largely produced in the sub-region of Espírito Santo. This area offers medium temperatures and elevations, and it is these environmental conditions that produce mid-range coffee with fruity and acidic notes.

Contrastingly, the region of Cerrado de Minas is well-known for producing high-grade Brazilian coffee. With higher altitudes of up to 1,300 metres, humid Summers and dry Winters, the result is of an acidic nature with hints of sweetness. Similarly, the coffee produced in the southern region of Sul de Minas is fruity and full-bodied with citrus notes, thanks to the high altitudes and mild temperatures.

Producing The Perfect Java...

The methods in which Brazilian coffee is produced varies between regions. The natural method (i.e. the drying technique) is one of the oldest methods of production in Brazil and involves leaving the coffee to dry in an un-pulped cherry – resulting in fruity, sweet and fermented flavours. This method is used for most of the Arabica coffee produced in Brazil. Farmers have to be careful when using this method, though – if they forget to regularly turn the cherries, undesired flavours will begin to emerge. Brazil’s pulp-natural method, however, is a more recently used method of Arabica coffee production that’s increasing in popularity. This involves the skin being removed, thereby creating a more aromatic and superior quality coffee.

Brazilian coffee plantations are now smaller and more specialist due to farmers receiving higher wages. This allowed farmers to shift their focus from producing coffee in quantity to focusing on quality. This has certainly paid off within the region, as Brazil is also known to be one of the largest nations of coffee drinkers in the world. Brazil is also now known as a speciality coffee producer, with countries such as Belgium and Italy being amongst the many countries who purchase Brazilian coffee beans in their local supermarkets.

To browse some of our Fairtrade, high-quality Arabica coffee, please click here.

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