Brazil is the world's biggest coffee-producing nation, with beans being cultivated by large estates and smallholder farmers throughout the country. With a total area of approximately 8.5 million sq km, this naturally means there is significant diversity throughout Brazil's coffee industry.
Here at DRWakefield, Brazil is just one of the many locations we source quality beans from. Earlier this year, our coffee trader Priscilla Daniel visited the origin to continue sourcing new beans and to build a stronger relationship with our current suppliers.
Priscilla explains in her field trip report: "In the last few years, Brazil has started to offer a large diversity of flavours and is building its quality reputation thanks to its first semi-washed coffee process."
The vast variations in lot sizes – which can consist of anything from just two hectares to thousands of hectares of land – result in huge differences in the way coffee is harvested and processed throughout Brazil.
For instance, larger coffee-growing estates are more likely to use specialist machinery, such as mechanical harvesters (as used in the wine industry), to harvest their crops, before processing the beans in their own onsite mills. These farms tend to have a strong management structure, allowing the entire harvest process to run smoothly.
However, in contrast to this, farmers working on micro lots are more likely to grow, harvest and process their coffee themselves, often with only very basic equipment.
These coffee producers tend to pick their crops by hand, although the wealthier ones may use mechanical rakes, before sending them to a nearby mill to be separated.
Alternatively, they may simply leave them to dry out on the tree, or manually separate them into groups on the floor to dry.
While this may be a much more basic process, it allows for a unique flavour to be created, adding to the country's coffee diversity.
Despite the vast diversity in the Brazilian coffee industry, there is a specialty market that ensures to export beans of the highest possible quality, meaning traders like us at DRWakefield are provided with some of the world's most exotic and exclusive coffee to sell on to our roasters.