Coffee, as dark and thick as oil, yet exudes sweetness and aroma, it is fascinating. Brazil is a fascinating country that has nurtured the coffee industry, where “coffee addiction” is not only related to personal preferences, but also to a country’s economic lifeline.
Not long ago, my friend and I had an unforgettable “coffee journey”. Due to work needs, my friend was fortunate to visit Minas Gerais, Brazil’s coffee state, and I went with him. Brazil’s coffee crops are planted with an area of 2 to 3 million hectares, of which the states of Minas Gerais, Santo Spirito, São Paulo, Bahia, Rondônia and Paraná are the most cultivated in Brazil. 6 states. The state of Minas Gerais, located in southeastern Brazil, has a population of more than 20 million. It ranks second in Brazil in terms of population. It has more than 800 cities and is the state with the most cities in Brazil. We first landed in Belo Horizonte, the seat of the state government, which has more than 2 million residents. After a short stop in Belo Horizonte, we set off for Brazil’s national treasure-class coffee estate-Datra Estate.
Datra Manor is a large coffee production group established in the 1970s, located in the Patrocinho area of Cerrado in the central west of Minas. The business model here is advanced. The 6 coffee estates under the group are distributed in 5 production areas in Cerrado and Mogiana. At the beginning of its establishment, Datra Manor was mainly engaged in the production of avocados and concurrently engaged in cattle breeding. It was not until the 1980s that the group devoted itself to the production of coffee.
When we got off the plane, Garnett, the staff of Datra Manor, greeted us warmly. On the way from the airport to the hotel, he was fully engaged in his work and kept introducing us to the situation of Datra Manor: “You know Are Datra’s “Four Kings”? They are all fine products blended according to a certain proportion. The different processing methods used are the valuable experience Datra has summed up over the past decades. It is ours to create superb espresso recipe beans. The expertise here is the coffee technology that all Brazilians are proud of.” Datra Coffee selects the most suitable varieties according to the altitude, climate, soil quality and “microclimate” of each planting area, so that each variety has the best growth The environment, and then after layered tests and comparisons by scientists, decide which processing method to use to extract the essence of each variety.
In a compact and fulfilling work schedule, we were fortunate to get acquainted with the agronomist Joseph Cordero, who exudes the typical “fire of Brazilian passion” and is very talkative. “My niece is 4 years old and has already started drinking coffee. I started drinking coffee when I was 6.” Joseph Cordero said. His family has a farm that has been passed down from generation to generation. His father has been engaged in coffee plantation for 25 years in the family plantation of Minas Gerais, Brazil’s “coffee state”. “When I worked on my own farm, I drank every day. A lot of coffee, now I only drink 6 cups a day. When I don’t drink coffee, it’s before the sun rises. The only thing that can force Brazilians to give up drinking coffee is death. How can I not drink coffee while I’m alive?”
97% of Brazil One cannot imagine life without coffee. Brazilians drink 81 liters of coffee each year. The first thing Brazilians do when they wake up in the morning is to reach for a coffee cup. Even the word “breakfast” is “morning coffee” in Brazilian. In short, Brazilians feel uncomfortable without coffee, from day to night, as long as they have a chance to drink a cup. And no matter where you are, in the office, barber shop or gas station, or even in the hospital, you can find a place to sell coffee. Coffee in many university cafeterias is free. In the supermarket, we also met product promoters who enthusiastically invited us to taste coffee for free.
”Whether you go to a clothing store, a shoe store, a bookstore or a 4s store, someone will give you a cup of coffee as soon as you enter the door. Drinking coffee is our tradition,” 31-year-old agronomist Gustavo Rodriguez Si said that he has specialized in the identification and marketing of coffee for the past 14 years. “The coffee that Brazilians often drink is very cheap and of low quality. But this quality is suitable for most Brazilians, and many Brazilians only Recognize this. Usually, this kind of coffee is made of’coffee grounds’, and about 20% of the coffee beans are defective: deformed, broken, pests, underripe or overripe coffee beans can not be exported, can only be transferred Domestic sales. In order to cover up the defects, they are roasted black. This kind of coffee is very bitter, so you need to add a lot of sugar when drinking. Most Brazilians like to buy six or seven Brazilian reals a pack of coffee, higher quality coffee needs It’s one to three times more expensive, but Brazilians prefer traditional flavors. Brazilians are used to drinking coffee in small doses: boiled water is filtered through a filter, added with sugar, and served in a short teacup.”
Before the conquest of Brazil, coffee had been grown in Asia, Africa and Central America. In the 17th century, the Dutch secretly smuggled coffee from Yemen to the Dutch East Indies and established the first coffee processing plant in its colony. The French also established coffee plantations in their colony of the West Indies in the early 18th century. Later, the mayor of Amsterdam also presented coffee as a gift to Louis XIV.
A long time ago, coffee as an imported product was regarded as a precious drink, and illegal import and export was prohibited. However, there are still profit-seeking people who take risks and smuggle coffee across the border. In 1727, Brazil was still under Portuguese rule. The governor of French Guiana invited Francis di Mello Paletta, a Brazilian official in Portuguese territory, to help resolve the border dispute. According to legend, after the Brazilian official went to French Guiana, he seduced the wife of the local governor in order to obtain coffee seeds. When he left, the governor’s wife gave Paletta a bouquet with coffee seeds hidden inside, and he finally got it. The coveted coffee seeds. After returning to China, he planted coffee trees, but at that time they should be limited to drinking at home, and they had not yet become an important crop. It wasn’t until the coffee planting area began to extend to the south and the coffee plantation developed into a coffee farm.
”Inexpensive labor is an important factor in promoting the development of the Brazilian coffee industry. The source was originally slaves. After the abolition of slavery (1888), cheap labor immigration,” explained Alan Boller, coordinator of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association “When coffee was brought to Brazil, Brazil was still a colony. It was the Portuguese who established the plantation system and expanded the scale of the plantation industry within a few years. A century later, Brazil’s coffee production far exceeded sugar cane and cotton, becoming Brazil The most important export commodity.” In the 1840s, Brazil’s “green gold” exports accounted for 40% of the world’s total exports. Thanks to this cash crop, Brazil built a developed rail network of 7,000 kilometers in just 25 years in the second half of the 19th century.
From the 1820s to the 1930s, the Brazilian coffee industry began to flourish. Because the output exceeded the domestic market’s needs, it began to be exported to foreign markets, and a large number of wealthy coffee merchants began to appear. In the 1840s, a substantial increase in Brazilian coffee production led to a decline in global coffee prices. The Brazilian coffee industry relied on cheap labor. At that time, millions of slaves were brought into Brazilian coffee plantations. After the complete abolition of slavery, people worried that the coffee industry would be depressed, but that was not the case. After that, coffee was still harvested smoothly because of a large number of laborers .
”Coffee has become the engine of China’s economic development,” said Edward Aaron Santos, director of the Brazilian Coffee Export Association. “Today, we grow coffee in 15 states, accounting for 1/3 of the world’s coffee exports. Brazil has a large area of Tropical climate zone, so cold and drought are not the main factors affecting coffee cultivation. For example, the abnormal frost in Paraná in 1975 reduced coffee production by 1/2, but natural disasters did not affect the production of other regions. Brazil coffee cultivation area Therefore, natural disasters cannot destroy all coffee plantations overnight. At the same time, the vast planting area also allows us to cultivate a variety of varieties and different qualities of coffee to meet market demand.”
Santos talked with us, while heading to the plantation On the way, we admired the beautiful scenery along the way, and Santos recalled the bumpy history of Brazil before it became the “land of coffee”.
“Different from other small coffee plantations in the Americas, Brazil’s initial coffee industry was a large-scale production model. Nowadays, the industrialized coffee production mode has become exclusive to Brazil. But in the past, large-scale production meant that a large amount of labor was required for each slave. Approximately 5,000 coffee trees must be taken care of, and once the soil on the site is excessively depleted, the entire farm will be moved to a new area for replanting.” Santos said. In the 1920s, 80% of the world’s coffee beans were produced in Brazil, and the coffee industry also promoted the country’s many infrastructures. But coffee production exacerbated the damage done to Brazil by the global economic depression in the 1930s. The Brazilian government had no choice but to burn nearly 80 million bags of coffee, hoping to restore coffee prices to normal, but the results were not satisfactory. During the Second World War, in order to stabilize coffee prices, countries agreed to adopt a coffee quota system and signed agreements. Coffee prices began to rise until the 1950s. The prices remained stable. But in the 1980s, Brazil refused to accept quota reductions, which broke the agreement. The result of the failure of the International Coffee Agreement was the formation of an unregulated market, and the price of coffee fell sharply in the following five years, triggering a coffee crisis. From the 19th century to the present, from traditional plantations to modern production models, Brazil has experienced historical turbulence, but our production technology is also constantly improving, and Brazilians’ enthusiasm for coffee has continued unabated. ”
Until recent years, Brazil began to use quality and credibility to make up for the loss of national brands from the previous pursuit of quantity. Brazil’s two major coffee brands in the world are Santos and Rio-named after their largest shipping ports.
Brazil is undoubtedly the most advanced country in the world that also relies on industrialized coffee production. Due to its focus on production, Brazil has a low reputation for producing high-quality coffee. Most farms use very crude harvesting methods, such as direct peel harvesting, where the entire branch and coffee berries are peeled off. If the plantation is large and flat, the producer will use machinery to harvest the coffee berries by shaking them off the branches. Both methods do not consider the ripeness of the fruit, so there are a lot of unripe fruits in the final harvested coffee beans.
Farmers bring their harvest to the cooperative and don’t have to worry about quality, because in the past, the buying chamber directly mixed coffee from different producers and packaged it. “Sometimes farmers mix roasted corn or other impurities in coffee in order to make more money,” said Edgar Bresani, head of the Brazilian Coffee Industry Association. “In 1991, the Brazilian Coffee Industry Association was established to test coffee quality. Later, farmers can directly export coffee by themselves, and we are more focused on investing in coffee quality, and the demand for Brazilian coffee is also increasing.” The Brazilian Coffee Industry Association was established to create a professional coffee production line and create a one-stop service for planting and processing.
“Currently, only 2,000 of Brazil’s 300,000 plantations process high-quality coffee,” Bressani continued. “Most manufacturers use traditional methods to process coffee-drying the berries directly on the tree or on the ground without the need Expensive equipment. This is the easiest way to dry berries. Brazil’s climate also provides unique conditions, but rain or excessive sun will affect the quality of coffee. For a long time, most of the coffee berries in Brazil It is dried in the courtyard after harvesting. In the 1990s, the half-sun treatment method was introduced to Brazil, and the quality of coffee was improved. For many years, Brazilian specialty coffee producers have used manual harvesting and washing methods to process coffee. Special coffee varieties are grown at high altitude.”
Manufacturers that process high-quality coffee are more inclined to laborious but reliable processing methods. For example, “semi-moist” berries are dried until they are peeled and still have pulp, and coffee processed with this berry has its own sweetness. The “full wet” berries have their pulp removed and placed in a container with water for 18-22 hours. After removing the sugar, the coffee becomes sour. The professionally processed “coffee percentage score” must be at least 80 points, and those with a score below 80 are called commercial coffee.
The Brazilian coffee industry is responsible for the economic development of Brazil, and it also affects the development of the international coffee industry. The vast majority of instant coffee in the world uses Brazilian coffee as the main raw material. There are many varieties of Brazilian coffee. There are no varieties with outstanding advantages, but there are no varieties with obvious disadvantages. Most of them are medium-acid taste, smooth, smooth and full-bodied. Its softness makes it easy to mix with other coffee beans and is oily. Rich in quality. Therefore, Brazilian coffee beans are most suitable to be mixed with other coffee beans to make espresso, which can form golden foam on the surface with a slightly acidic aftertaste. Just as many coffee roasters will add some bird feces coffee produced in Brazil to the blended coffee.
“Brazil has planted about one-third of the world’s coffee trees, with a global coffee market share of up to 80%. It is the world’s largest coffee producer and exporter, and the world’s second largest coffee consumer after the United States. 300,000 Brazilian farmers are engaged in coffee farming, which is worthy of being the “coffee kingdom.” But unfortunately, Brazil has few cutting-edge coffee. Brazil’s terrain is too flat for coffee cultivation and lacks the “microclimate” that can give coffee a rich flavor. “Said Douglas Carl Martins, a coffee taster at a major coffee supplier.
”Every kind of coffee needs a suitable’microclimate’. Soil and’microclimate’ are the main factors that affect the taste and aroma of coffee,” Martins said. “My job is to find the most suitable growth for each variety of coffee. Environment and processing methods. For example, for a plantation that wants to grow 5 varieties of coffee, we need to try various processing methods first, and finally taste one by one. Sometimes we have to taste 100-150 samples a day. But so far I I haven’t met the perfect coffee yet. Most Brazilians don’t have the opportunity to drink many kinds of coffee. They prefer to drink the most common cheap coffee on the domestic market. If I give my parents a good cup of coffee and advise them not to add sugar, They will think I’m crazy. Most Brazilians don’t need high-quality coffee. Five years ago, Brazilians would spend money on alcohol and whiskey, but they would not spend money on coffee because they think coffee is everywhere like soil. Yes.”