Brazil is known as the giant of Latin America, not only because of its vast territory but also because of its economy. It is impossible to talk about the Brazilian economy without mentioning coffee. It is the largest coffee producer in the world, as its production accounts for about 60% of the world’s coffee production. In addition, Brazil is also the second-largest consumer of coffee in the world.
When it comes to good coffee, the origin of the coffee matters. That’s why here you’ll find a list of the best coffees from Brazil, as well as a detailed and complete guide to the country’s coffee-growing regions, the main varieties grown, the coffee’s characteristics, and much more.
What is Brazilian coffee like?
According to the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply, 80% of Brazilian coffee is Arabica beans. However, in some areas, such as Espírito Santo and Bahia, Robusta coffee, known as Conilon, is also grown.
Years ago, as in many other countries, the best Brazilian coffee was exported all over the world and in Brazil remained a portion of not-so-good quality coffee. But this has changed in recent years. Consumer interest in specialty coffee has increased and as demand has grown, so has supply.
Brazilian coffee is now known both for its production and for its quality. There is a program that ensures that the consumer receives as much information as possible about this coffee to ensure its quality. With this program, the customer is encouraged to know the aroma, flavors, body, processing of the bean, roast, and grind of this particular coffee.
Although it is impossible to accurately describe Brazilian coffee, one can generally say that it presents a soft, sweet, and balanced taste, with very pleasant fruity aromas. It is very similar to some African coffees, with the difference that it is less acidic and less bitter. This is exactly what makes it so special, as it is a characteristic that appeals to many palates.
However, don’t let this confuse you! Acidity is not a synonym for good or bad coffee. It’s a matter of taste, and there are even studies that show that the acidity of coffee is very important. That’s why Brazil is looking for ways to grow coffees with higher acidity. However, for someone who prefers mild coffee, this characteristic becomes a matter of quality.
You will find coffees with notes of chocolate and nuts. Meanwhile, there are a variety of fruity coffees that are very similar to geisha coffee. Of course, this is not true for the whole country. Due to the size of the country and the many growing areas, there are different coffees with different characteristics in each region.
Arabica coffee is more demanding and of better quality than Robusta – aka Conilon. The latter is mainly used for instant coffee. Arabica can have a variety of flavors and aromas, depending on the variety and the method of cultivation. In contrast, Robusta coffee is less acidic, contains more caffeine and all Robusta varieties taste very similar.
What makes Brazilian coffee so special?
For a long time, Brazilian coffee was known for its productivity, but not for its quality or taste. However, this has changed.
As we have already mentioned, Brazilian coffee is very special because its taste is smooth but full of different notes that delight. It has a sweet taste that harmonizes very well with its chocolatey and fruity characteristic notes. In addition, it stands out for its low acidity and bitterness. A flavor profile that goes well with any time of day.
Being a mild coffee due to its low acidity and bitterness, it is often used to blend with other, more intense coffees. It’s perfect for balancing out the flavor.
In addition, the coffee grown in Brazil is very productive and therefore has been at the forefront of the coffee industry for many years. On top of that, the coffee culture has developed relatively quickly due to the millions of people who work in this industry.
Top 10 best coffees from Brazil
Now let’s see which are the best Brazilian coffee beans, ground coffees, and instant coffees, so you can enjoy their best features in each one. Here we go.
Morning Hills Coffe Mogiana Green Coffee
Coffee bean variety: Arabica
Tasting notes: Nuts
Grown in Mogiana, a region in the state of São Paulo. This coffee, with its sweet taste, creamy body, and flavor notes is one of the best coffees you can roast to your personal taste. It is perfect for people who want to live the whole experience from roasting the coffee to enjoying it in the cup.
The brand recommends starting with a light roast to discover all the flavors of origin. In addition, this coffee has two important certifications that make it even more attractive. It has the Fine Cup and Strictly Soft certifications, which guarantee excellent taste. Customers rate it 4.3 stars out of 5 on Amazon.
Hayman’s Brazilian Coffee Beans
Coffee bean variety: Arabica, Catuaí
Flavor notes: Floral, vanilla, cocoa, caramel, and jasmine.
Degree of roasting: Customer’s choice
This coffee bean was one of the winners of the 2019 Cup of Excellence competition in Brazil. That alone is an indication that it is one of the best Brazilian coffees you can find on the market. The Hayman brand was founded in London in 2014 and offers a wide range of coffees.
This export coffee, grown in Bahia at an altitude of 1,337 meters (4386 ft) above sea level, stands out for its taste and quality.
You can buy it as green beans, roasted beans, ground, or in Nespresso-compatible capsules. So, you have a wide range of options to enjoy it whenever you want. You get a freshly roasted coffee to your taste, so you can appreciate all the aroma and freshness.
Orús Gourmet Coffee Beans Collection Origins
Coffee bean variety: Arabica, Cerrado Mineiro
Tasting notes: Dried fruits, chocolate, and wood
Cafés Orús is a Spanish company that has been roasting coffee since 1900. It recently launched the “Origins” collection, which brings together the best coffees from around the world. Of course, Brazilian coffee could not be missing.
This coffee is characterized by a soft and delicate taste with a high body and low acidity. It is grown at an altitude of 800 to 1,200 meters above sea level in the Cerrado de Minas and is a coffee with Designation of Origin (DOM). This area produces the best Brazilian specialty coffees. Therefore, it is a good way to know the best taste and aroma of the South American country.
Fresh Roasted Coffee LLC Dark Brazil Coffee Beans
Coffee bean variety: Arabica, Cerrado Mineiro, Mundo Novo and Catuaí.
Tasting notes: Cocoa, nuts, and wood
Degree of roasting: Medium-dark
The coffee is grown in Minas Gerais at high temperatures and during rainy seasons, resulting in a traditional coffee with a strong flavor. Dark Brazil is harvested between April and September and dried slowly and naturally in the sun. Its degree of roasting does not leave a bitter aftertaste. On the contrary, it has a soft aftertaste with the low acidity typical of Brazilian coffees.
The company is very committed to environmental protection and therefore uses the most advanced technologies in all processes to offer you the best coffee without damaging natural resources. Undoubtedly, this coffee is suitable for people who like an intense coffee without a very bitter taste. Customers rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon.
Consuelo Coffee Beans
Coffee bean variety: Arabica
Flavors: Chocolate, hazelnuts, and vanilla
Degree of roasting: Medium
Café Consuelo is an Italian brand that exports coffee from different countries of origin such as Colombia and Ethiopia, as well as a wide range of organic coffees. Brazilian coffee is one of their most outstanding coffees. It is a blend of several Arabica coffees that stand out for their taste.
With this coffee, you can enjoy espressos with a sweet taste. It has an intense aroma and a subtle touch of acidity. An essential characteristic of Brazilian coffee.
Amador Natural Ground Coffee
Coffee bean variety: Arabica, Mundo Novo
Flavors: Dried fruit, caramel, and chocolate
Degree of roasting: Medium
Casa Amador is a Spanish brand that offers a variety of coffees from Ethiopia, Guatemala, Kenya, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and many other countries. Some of their most famous coffees are from Colombia and Brazil. This 500g finely ground coffee is ideal for espressos and Italian coffee makers.
This Mundo Novo is a specialty coffee from São Paulo, characterized by its sweetness and low acidity. Being a rather artisanal company, the roasting is also artisanal. You will get the best freshness in each pack, as the coffee is roasted every day as needed. A coffee that is guaranteed to surprise your senses.
Their customers rate it 4.8 out of 5 stars on Amazon. If you want to get closer to the traditional taste of Brazilian coffee, be sure to try this product.
Moka Clube Irmãos Moscardini Ground Coffee
Coffee bean variety: Arabica, Tupi
Flavors: Chocolate and citrus
Degree of roasting: Dark
Irmãos Moscardini are two well-known producers of specialty coffees in Brazil. This Brazilian coffee is grown at an altitude of 980 meters above sea level in the Alta Mogiana region and offers a full-bodied product perfect for an intense espresso.
This coffee has a medium acidity that, combined with its flavor notes, offers an excellent taste if you are looking for a slightly different coffee.
3 Corações Extra Strong Coffee
Coffee bean variety: Arabica
Tasting notes: Dark chocolate and citrus notes
Degree of roasting: Dark
This 100% Arabica coffee is one of the most traditional coffees in Brazil. It has an intense body, flavor, and aroma as it is particularly strong. Its 500 g packet is vacuum-sealed to preserve its quality and freshness longer. If you are a lover of strong coffee, you must try this one.
However, if you don’t like strong coffee and prefer a milder one or one with different flavors, you’ll find a wide range of coffees in this brand. There is even a section with gourmet coffees from the top Brazilian growing areas. Without a doubt, you can’t miss drinking a coffee from the 3 coraçōes brand.
Their customers on Amazon rate it 4.6 out of 5 stars.
Pilão Traditional Ground Coffee
Degree of roasting: Dark
This is also one of the most traditional coffees in Brazil. It is perfect for daily use and is made with a combination of different beans from the best growing areas of Brazil. You have several references from which you can choose your favorite depending on the method of brewing. Traditional, intense, extra strong and roasted at 252 degrees Celsius.
Their coffee is very popular in Brazilian households. Now it’s available in capsules, so you can enjoy the best taste in seconds. Its customers on Amazon rate it 4.7 out of 5 stars.
Iguaçu Traditional Soluble Coffee
Coffee bean variety: Arabica
Degree of roasting: Dark
Another traditional blend that represents Brazilian coffee very well. Although instant coffee has always received bad reviews, this coffee is perfect for those who are short on time but still want the versatility of a quickly brewed coffee, sometimes with milk.
Most instant coffees are Robusta or a blend of the two. The big difference between this instant coffee and others is that it is 100% Arabica coffee. This is the reason why this coffee stands out in its category. It is very creamy and dissolves very well even in cold water. You can choose the traditional or the extra strong flavor for more intensity.
It comes in different packaging: 50g bag, 50g granulated coffee bag, and 200g tin. Customers call it the best instant coffee and rate it 4.3 out of 5 stars.
How is Brazilian coffee grown?
According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Mapa), Brazilian coffee is one of the best when it comes to sustainable production. Brazil has environmental laws that bind coffee production to certain environmental and social standards. For example, slave or child labor is among the most severely punished transgressions.
As the largest coffee-growing country, Brazil also strives to maintain a balance between flora, fauna and coffee to ensure the preservation of the country’s biodiversity. As such, it is known for meeting the needs of demand without compromising its natural resources.
According to a 2017 report, 2 million hectares are cultivated in Brazil. Most of these crops are located at low altitudes and in open or sun-exposed cultivation. Thanks to the tropical climate, year-round sunshine and regular rainfall, high-quality Arabica and Robusta coffee can be grown here.
Coffee harvesting is done manually or mechanically, depending on the size of the farm. After harvesting, the cherries are washed in a tank and cleaned of leaves, twigs, and other residues. Some farms then make a second manual selection of the best cherries. There they remove berries that are not fully ripe or do not meet the quality requirements.
This is followed by the drying of the beans. An important aspect of Brazilian coffee cultivation is that most farms dry the coffee naturally in the sun. This is due to the good climatic conditions in the country, which allow the coffee to dry in the open air. Although it is a longer process, this is where the beans take on the best flavors that are characteristic of Brazilian coffee.
The longer the coffee is dried, the better it takes on a sweet flavor with hints of nuts and little acidity. Some farms prefer to dry the coffee unwashed with the mucilage, while others prefer to dry the coffee already washed. This depends on the cup profile they want to achieve.
Finally, comes the roasting process. As for the preferred roasting in Brazil, you will find mostly medium and dark roasted coffees. With medium roast, the sweet flavors stand out. And with the dark roasts, you have a more intense flavor for other preparations.
Coffee growing regions in Brazil
There are 14 coffee growing regions in Brazil with different climates, altitudes, and soil types, which allow the production of a wide variety of high quality coffees with characteristics specific to each region in terms of taste, aroma and body. However, there are 6 areas that stand out for their production.
Location: The city is located in the southeast of the country. It borders São Paulo to the south, Bahia to the north, Goiás to the west and Espírito Santo to the east.
Altitude: 1,193 meters above sea level
Temperature: Between 25 and 29 °C
Harvest period: June to September
This area is the largest coffee producer in the country, accounting for about 50% of Brazil’s total production. They grow only Arabica coffee there, which is characterized by its full body with aromas of chocolate, wood, fruit and some citrus and nutty notes.
The coffee from this area is taken to the port of Santos, Rio de Janeiro and Vitória to be exported all over the world.
There are four main growing areas in Minas Gerais:
- In Sul de Minas, there are several small farms with a cultivated area of 10 to 100 hectares. In this part of the country, the main varieties grown are Catuaí, Catuaí Rubi, Icatu and Mundo Novo, which are characterized by their lemon flavor and very fruity aromas.
- Cerrado de Minas is the largest coffee growing region in Brazil. It therefore has its own designation of origin, Cerrado Mineiro. In this region, the farms are larger, about 2,300 hectares. The climatic conditions here give rise to the best specialty coffees in the country. The main characteristic is that the coffee grown there has a higher acidity and a sweet taste.
- In Chapadas de Minas there are several mountainous areas that are ideal for manual production. The varieties grown here are Catuaí and Mundo Novo.
- Matas de Minas is characterized by small farms with less than 20 hectares. The warm and very humid climate is ideal for growing specialty coffees. The coffee from this region is characterized by flavors of caramel, chocolate and some citrus notes.
Location: The region is located in the southeast of the country. It borders Paraná to the south, Minas Gerais to the north, Mato Grosso do Sul to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Altitude: The average altitude is 514 and the maximum altitude is 2,798 meters above sea level.
Temperature: Between 13 and 28 °C
Harvest period: Between April and May
This state is the financial center of Brazil. It is home to the most populous cities in the country. It is also one of the most traditional coffee growing areas. It is important to know that in this area is located the port of Santos, a very important port for the export of this bean.
They produce only Arabica coffee and are known for their specialty coffees. The two growing areas of São Paulo are:
- Mogiana has an irregular terrain to offer sweet and balanced coffees. The varieties grown in this region are Mundo Novo and Catuaí.
- The central-western region of São Paulo is mountainous and very similar to the Mogiana region. Medium and small-sized farms are found here.
Location: The city is located in the southeast of the country. It borders Rio de Janeiro to the south, Bahia to the north, Minas Gerais to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Altitude: The average altitude is 756 meters above sea level.
Temperature: Between 25 and 30 °C
This state is the second-largest producer of Arabica coffee in the country and the first in the production of Conilon coffee, that is, Robusta. In this area, you can also find several specialty coffees. The regions that stand out in this area are:
- Montanhas do Espírito Santo, as the name suggests, is a mountainous region with irregular terrain. In this part of the country, coffees with higher acidity and fruity aromas are grown.
- The Conilon Capixaba region is responsible for the cultivation of Robusta coffee in small farms. It is characterized by low altitudes.
Location: The city is located in the northeast of the country. It borders Espírito Santo to the south, Piauí to the north, Goiás and Tocantíns to the west, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Altitude: The average altitude is 838 meters above sea level.
Temperature: Between 21 and 30°C
It is a relatively new coffee-growing area, where cultivation began around 1970. However, it has positioned itself among the most important areas by taking advantage of technological improvements in coffee cultivation. About 75% of the coffee production in this zone is Arabica.
The most important regions of this zone are:
- Cerrado and Planalto da Bahia is the area with the most technological developments in crop production in all of Brazil. For this reason, it has the highest yield level in the whole country. Thanks to an irrigation system, the cherries ripen evenly and produce more coffee. Here you can find sweet coffees with low acidity. In 2015, a coffee grower from this area won the Brazilian award for the best Cup of Excellence.
- The Atlantico Baiano region is responsible for growing Conilon coffee in this area. Here there are small farms located at low altitude.
Location: The city is located in the southern region of the country. It borders Santa Catarina to the south, São Paulo to the north, the Paraná River to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.
Altitude: The average altitude is 672 meters above sea level.
Temperature: Between 25 and 30°C
It is the southernmost coffee-producing state in Brazil. Only Arabica coffee is grown here, and the farms in this region are characterized by high productivity and dense plantations.
Location: The city is located in the northern region of the country. It borders the Republic of Bolivia to the south and west, the Amazon to the north and Mato Grosso to the east.
Altitude: The average altitude is 277 meters above sea level.
Temperature: Average temperature is 27°C
In this area, only Conilon coffee is grown. It consists of small family farms that are traditionally responsible for the cultivation of this coffee. These farms are located at low altitudes with high temperatures.
Coffee varieties grown in Brazil
Now that we have talked about the main coffee-growing areas in Brazil and their main characteristics, let’s take a look at some of the most common varieties grown in Brazil.
- Arara: This is a relatively new variety introduced in 2012 by the Procafé Foundation and is on the rise. It has received up to 95 points in several coffee tastings. It is characterized by being resistant to various pests and diseases, such as coffee rust and some fungi making it more productive. The cherries of this variety are not red as we usually know them. They are yellow and large. This tree is very adaptable and resistant to different climatic conditions such as lack of water or very heavy rains.
- Yellow Bourbon: This variety features sweetness and complex body. Its origin dates back to 1930 and since then its quality and taste are its main attractions. Also, this variety is very productive and is therefore widely grown.
- Caturra: A variety that is very common in several Latin American countries such as Colombia, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Caturra trees are small, which makes them even more productive in terms of yield per hectare. This variety is characterized by a very balanced acidity.
- Mundo Novo: This coffee variety stands out for its sweetness and low acidity. Two of the most important characteristics that distinguish Brazilian coffee. It is the result of a natural cross between Tipica and Bourbon. It is very productive and has a good cup quality.
- Catuaí: This variety is grown not only in Brazil, but also in Costa Rica, Honduras, Cuba and Hawaii. Catuaí is a sweet coffee with high acidity. It is a very productive plant, the result of an artificial crossing between the varieties Caturra and Mundo Novo. The plant is small, so more trees can be planted per hectare of crop.
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