Brazil - MC Grecof

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Following three centuries under the rule of Portugal, Brazil became an independent nation in 1822. By far the largest and most populous country in South America, Brazil has overcome more than half a century of military intervention in the governance of the country to pursue industrial and agricultural growth and development of the interior. Exploiting vast natural resources and a large labor pool, Brazil became Latin America's leading economic power by the 1970s. Highly unequal income distribution remains a pressing problem.



Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean

Geographic coordinates:

10 00 S, 55 00 W

Map references:

South America


total  :  8,511,965 sq km
land   :  8,456,510 sq km
water :  55,455 sq km
note: includes Arquipelago de Fernando de Noronha, Atol das Rocas, Ilha da Trindade, Ilhas Martin Vaz, and Penedos de Sao Pedro e Sao Paulo


10 00 S, 55 00 W


mostly tropical, but temperate in south


mostly flat to rolling lowlands in north; some plains, hills, mountains, and narrow coastal belt

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Pico da Neblina 3,014 m

Geography - note:

largest country in South America; shares common boundaries with every South American country except Chile and Ecuador




note: Brazil took an intercensal count in August 1996 which reported a population of 157,079,573; that figure was about 5% lower than projections by the US Census Bureau, which is close to the implied underenumeration of 4.6% for the 1991 census; estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population and growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2001 est.)


noun: Brazilian(s)
adjective: Brazilian

Ethnic groups:

white (includes Portuguese, German, Italian, Spanish, Polish) 55%, mixed white and black 38%, black 6%, other (includes Japanese, Arab, Amerindian) 1%


Roman Catholic (nominal) 80%


Portuguese (official), Spanish, English, French


Country name:

conventional long form: Federative Republic of Brazil
conventional short form: Brazi
llocal long form: Republica Federativa do Brasi
llocal short form: Brazil

Government type:

federative republic




7 September 1822 (from Portugal)

Flag description:

green with a large yellow diamond in the center bearing a blue celestial globe with 27 white five-pointed stars (one for each state and the Federal District) arranged in the same pattern as the night sky over Brazil; the globe has a white equatorial band with the motto ORDEM E PROGRESSO (Order and Progress)


Economy - overview:

Possessing large and well-developed agricultural, mining, manufacturing, and service sectors, Brazil's economy outweighs that of all other South American countries and is expanding its presence in world markets. In the late eighties and early nineties, high inflation hindered economic activity and investment. "The Real Plan", instituted in the spring of 1994, sought to break inflationary expectations by pegging the real to the US dollar. Inflation was brought down to single digit annual figures, but not fast enough to avoid substantial real exchange rate appreciation during the transition phase of the "Real Plan". This appreciation meant that Brazilian goods were now more expensive relative to goods from other countries, which contributed to large current account deficits. However, no shortage of foreign currency ensued because of the financial community's renewed interest in Brazilian markets as inflation rates stabilized and the debt crisis of the eighties faded from memory. The maintenance of large current account deficits via capital account surpluses became problematic as investors became more risk averse to emerging market exposure as a consequence of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 and the Russian bond default in August 1998. After crafting a fiscal adjustment program and pledging progress on structural reform, Brazil received a $41.5 billion IMF-led international support program in November 1998. In January 1999, the Brazilian Central Bank announced that the real would no longer be pegged to the US dollar. This devaluation helped moderate the downturn in economic growth in 1999 that investors had expressed concerns about over the summer of 1998. Brazil's debt to GDP ratio for 1999 beat the IMF target and helped reassure investors that Brazil will maintain tight fiscal and monetary policy even with a floating currency. The economy continued to recover in 2000, with inflation remaining in the single digits and expected growth for 2001 of 4.5%. Foreign direct investment set a record of more than $30 billion in 2000.



Currency code:




total: 30,539 km (2,129 km electrified); note - excludes urban rail
broad gauge: 5,679 km 1.600-m gauge (1199 km electrified)
standard gauge: 194 km 1.440-m gauge
narrow gauge: 24,666 km 1.000-m gauge (930 km electrified)
dual gauge: 336 km 1.000-m and 1.600-m gauges (three rails) (1999 est.)


total: 1.98 million km
paved: 184,140 km
unpaved: 1,795,860 km (1996)


50,000 km


crude oil 2,980 km; petroleum products 4,762 km; natural gas 4,246 km (1998)

Ports and harbors:

Belem, Fortaleza, Ilheus, Imbituba, Manaus, Paranagua, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande, Salvador, Santos, Vitoria


Brazil: coffee giant. Largest coffee producer in the world. Largest producer of low grade arabica coffee, and Conilon Robusta. Brazil: there is some in almost every espresso you drink. In fact, some espresso is 90% Brazil.And now there's the big push on behalf of Brazilian coffee growing associations to re-create the image of Brazilian as exquisite and distinctive Specialty-level coffee. Well, a little bit of it is, and the majority is not, and never will be! There just isn't the extreme distinction from cup to cup that distinguishes one regional coffee from another. Attention to good farming and processing techniques has helped, but the coffee is grown at lower altitudes than most Specialty coffee, in non-volcanic soils, in non-forested areas that are sometimes originally grassland (a reason why the "shade-grown issue" really doesn't apply much to Brazil ---the coffee farming areas had little shade to begin with.) Am I saying Brazilian coffee is bad --heck no! I love these high-quality Brazilian coffees, and you should try it as a Full City or even Vienna roast: its great! And nothing touches a really good Dry-processed or semi-washed Brazil as a base in Espresso blends. They produce more crema and body, adding sweetness and providing a great backdrop for the feature coffees. Brazil can be nutty, sweet, low-acid, and develop exceptional bittersweet and chocolate roast tastes. The caveat is, Brazils are not dense coffee seeds: they are grown at lower altitudes than Central American coffees. Hence the very dark roasts of Brazils pick up ashy, bittering flavors. For espresso, you can roast Brazils lighter, separately, or keep the entire blend at a Vienna roast or lighter: Northern Italian Espresso. Most quality Brazil I have found comes from the state of Minas Gerais, or Sul de Minas. A coffee labeled Santos can be from anywhere, so it is nice to have one labeled Minas or Cerrado. Cerrado region is, apparently, not a name many Brazilians recognize ... at last not those I have spoken with. It seems to be a name used in the Brazil coffee trade to describe a sub-region of Minas, not used broadly outside the coffee world.When auction time rolls around, you will notice we usually have something to offer from the Cup of Excellence event (look for the Cup of Excellence logo).

International Organizations:

Member of the I.C.O. - "Unwashed Arabicas" group - Code W 2.

Cultivated Area:

3,480,000 hectares.

Harvested Area:

3,370,000 hectares.



Regions of Production:

Aproximately 13 states produce coffee but 4 states represent 88 % of production.


East of Londrina

Old coffee-growing area:

Zonen  Jacarazihno, Comelio Procopio, Sankt Mariana, Novo Fatima, Ibaiti, Vences-lau-Bras

Mediocre coffee.
Medium classification.
Good screens.

West of Londrina

Newer coffee-growing area:

Better cup qualities.
Better roast.
Superior screen.

30 firms export through Paranagua.

Number of coffee trees : 328 million.

Production : Arabica,
group 1 : 3,500,000 bags,

decreasing due to the old age of the trees. Growers who are discouraged by the low prices are not inclined to replace old trees or to maintain the plantations.


District of Alta Mogiana

Main coffee city: Ribeirao Preto

Excellent cup qualities
"Bourbon". High classification
"good to fine roast",
"mild" or "sweet".

District of Baixa Mogiana

Main coffee city: Sao Joao da Boa Vista

Excellent cup qualities,
between "Bourbon" and flat bean.
High classification and screening "good to fine roast".
Very fine "acidy" taste.
Maragogype : production decreasing (insufficient yield per tree).

District of Media Paulista:

Main coffee city: Bauru

Appearance and roast inferior to the coffees of Mogiana.
Cup medium to good "sweet".
"Bourbon" coffee medium screen.

District of Alta Araraquarense:

Main coffee city: Sao Jose do Rio Preto

Good cup qualities.
"Bourbon" bean.
Nice classification.
Superior screen.
"Sumatra" variety.

District of Baixa Araraquarense:

City Catanduva. Klassifikationen, screen Tasse und Qualitäten schwanken sehr entsprechend Region oder Farm.

District of Noroeste:

Main coffee cities: Aracatuba, Lins

Mediocre to medium cup.
Superior screen.
Average to fairly good classification "good roast".

District of Alta Paulista

Main coffee city: Marilia

Coffee similar to that of Media Paulista.

District of Media Paulista / Sao Paulo Goias

Main coffee city: Olimpia

Coffee similar to that of Noroeste.

District of Baixa Paulista

Main coffee cities: Araquara, Campinas

Poor to good cup.
Screens superior to the Alta and Media Paulista.
Good average classification "good to fine roast".

District of Alta Sorocabana

Main coffee city: Presidente Prudente

Medioce coffee.
Average cup qualities and classification.
Appearance similar to that of Baixa Paulista "good roast".

District of Media, Baixa Sorocabana

Main coffee city: Sorocaba

Very mediocre cup except region of Sao Manuel and Botucatu. Proper screen and classification `good roast'.

District of Santos Jundiai and Central do Brasil

Main coffee city: Sao Paulo

Coffees similar to those of the districts of Media and Baixa Paulista.
Caffeine Content: "Fancy" 1.13 % - "Extra Prime" 1.17 %.

56 firms export through Santos.
Number of coffee trees : 434 million.
Production : Arabica, group I : 4,300,000 bags, decreasing for the same reasons as in the state of Parana.
Medium bean, good roast, strictly soft.
- Santos Peaberries, good to bold bean, good roast, strictly soft.
- Bourbon good to bold bean, good to fine roast, cup tested, strictly soft, very desirable quality.
- Bourbon good bean, good roast, strictly soft, cup tested, desirable quality.


Zona da Mata

"Rio" (hardish cup) sometimes "free from Rio Flavour".
In goods years, certain washed lots are "striclty soft".

Western Minas

Flat bean.
Poor roast. Medium cup.
Certain coffees from the plateaus are washed.

Sul Minas

Excellent coffee (the best of Brazil).
Majority flat bean.
A little Bourbon in the South.

Exportation through Rio, sometimes Santos.

Caffeine Content: Arabica 1.15 %.
Number of coffee trees : 1,515,000,000. .

Production : Arabica, group 1 : 7,450,000 bags
group II : 1,800,000 bags
9,400,000 bags Cultivation is expanding.


Very pronounced typical "Rio" cup,
suitable for Northern France.
Production is decreasing.
Number of coffee trees : 31 million.

Regions of Production:



Colatina District
Flowering September/October.
Picking May/June. Good bean "greenish".

Northeast and Center:

Sao Gabriel da Palha, Nova Venecia, Valeria, Fartura, Linhares:  Conillon.


Flowering November.
Picking July/August. "Green to greenish". Iodized taste. Exported through Victoria.
Number of coffee trees : 643 million.

Production : Arabica, group 1 =  200,000 bags   
group 2 : 1,100,000 bags
Robusta : 3,500,000 bags
Conillon : Caffeine Content 2.1 =  4,800,000 bags %.


Chapada region

Unwashed and washed Arabica.
First shipment August/September.
Production is expanding slightly.
Very little exportation.
Quality Unwashed: average
Quality Washed: very good cup depending on the altitude.

Exported through Salvador de Bahia.
Number of coffee trees : 150 million.                        Production : Arabica, group I = 442,000 bags
roup 2 = 60,000 bags
Robusta . 200,000 bags


Garanhuns region

First shipment:      Unwashed: September
Washed: November.
Stable production.
Local consumption is increasing.
Small amount of exports.

Quality Unwashed: average
Quality Washed: good cup depending on the altitud.

Exported through Recife.
The following other states are mentioned despite their lesser importance



Number of coffee trees: 147 million Conillon.



Number of coffee trees: 40 million Conillon.



Number of coffee trees: 22 million Conillon.


Frost-free regions where coffee cultivation could be revived.

Classification :

by Botanical Species

Robusta (Conillon).

by Botanical Variety

eg. Maragogype.

by Geographic


by Port

eg. Santos

by State

eg. Sao Paulo

by Region

eg. "Alta Araraquara" ('Alta" does not refer to the altitude). In the very vast state of Sao Paulo, it is not easy to specify the zones. The Paulists (inhabitants of Sao Paulo) named the spread out sections of its territory after the rairoads that served them. As the railroad lines were gradually extented, the names of the furthest territories were preceded by the adjective "Alta ".

by number of Defects

Type 2 to 8, there are at least three methods of classification
- Brazilian:
C.O.B. (Classificacao Official Brasileira).
- New-York :
Coffee & Sugar Exchange Inc. - Le Havre        (France).


Table of Equivalences (number of defects per 300 grammes sample)


Official Brazilian Classification

(full imperfections)

Type New-York, LE HAVRE Classification


4 defects

6 defects

8 defects


8 defects

9 defects

12 defects


12 defects

13 defects

17 defects


19 defects

21 defects

23.5 defects


26 defects

30 defects

30 defects


36 defects

45 defects

58.5 defects


46 defects

60 defects

87 defects


64 defects


123 defects


86 defects


158 defects


The count of defects correspond to the following table

Diseased bean




Stone, twig or hull (large)

5 defect for 1


2 defect for 1

Stone, twig or hull (medium)

2 defect for 1


1 defect for 1

Stone, twig or hull (small)

1 defect for 1


1 defect for 2 to 3

Black bean

1 defect for 1

1 defect for 1

1 defect for 1


1 defect for 1


1 defect for 1

Large husk

1 defect for 1


1 defect for 1

Half-black bean

1 defect for 1

1 defect for 2

1 defect for 2

Sour bean

1 defect for 2


1 defect for 2

Small husk

1 defect for 2 to 3


Parchment bean

1 defect for 2


1 defect for 2


1 defect for 3

1 defect for 3

1 defect for 3

Unripe bean

1 defect for 5



1 defect for 5


1 defect for 5

Broken bean

1 defect for 5

1 defect for 5

1 defect for 5

Eaten bean

1 defect for 2 to 5

0.5 % of weight

1 defect for 10

Dried-out bean


1 defect for 5

1 defect for 5

Undesirable bean


1 defect for 5

1 defect for 5


Internationale Klassifierungstabelle (Englisch)

Classification as per USA/Europe

Fancy : good appearance, no black beans = + type 213 N. Y.
Extra Prime : type 213 N. Y.
Prime : type 314 N.Y.
Superior : type 415 N. Y.
Good : type 516 N. Y.
Regular : type 617 N.Y.
Ordinary : type 718 N.Y.
Halfway between slightly under or slightly over.
 By points: The assignment of points is an old method. They were given a value
in Cruzeiros. Thus it was possible to quickly establish the value of all lots of coffee, whatever the varied and detailed number of defects.


By size of bean
By screen (expressed in 11641h of an inch), on this subject see the table of equivalences after the « Glossary- at the end of the book.
By name: eg. "large bean".
- screen 20  very large bean
- screen 19
extra large bean
- screen 18 = large bean Tolerance of smaller beans = 10/15 °ln.
- screen 17 = bold bean If expression "milled over" is used -- p
- screen 16 = good bean tolerance of 5 %.
- screen 15 = medium bean
- screen 14/13 = small bean
Example: good to large bean: screen 16 to 18 - An average of screen 17. Observations

Good to large bean

70 % screen 17. 30 % screen 16. Le Havre Classification Good bean : 80 % screen 16. 20 % screen 15. Medium to good bean : 40 % screen 16. 60 % screen 15. Peaberry
- screen 12 - large bean.
- screen 11 = good to large bean.
- screen 10/ 11 = good bean.
- screen 10 = small to medium bean.
- screen 9 = small bean.

By color

- green, new crop. - green.
- green, to greenish. - greenish.
- light green. - lightish.
- lightish to greenish. - light colour.
- greenish to yellowish. - lightish to yellowish. - yellowish.
- yellow.
- even color.
- uneven color. Observations Color varies according to: the age of the coffee, the degree of dryness, the times of exposure to air and sunlight, the storage conditions,
the method of preparation.
In other words, it is possible to buy coffee of an older harvest and ask at the same time that it be "greenish" if the coffee is stocked in a dry location, not in the ports but in the interior, where "unwashed" is stored in cherries and "washed" in parchment.

By taste

Brazilian Classification American Classification Approximate interpretation
Estritamente mole Strictly soft : Sweet.
(almost extinct since the Soft use of fertilizers and production on a world
level). Mole. Apenas mole : Sottish.
Dura : Hard : Opposite of soft. Hardish
Riada : RioylRioysh : With a touch of Rio taste.
Rio : Rio : Pronounced, harsh taste of the state of Rio, of Minas, zona da Mata, of the North West of Espirito Santo (means) "iodized" for coffees exposed to ocean winds.
"Cup proved" or : Sample of lot tasted by the seller which guarantees
"cup tested" continuation of the description.


By Cup taste
Brazilian Classification American Classification Approximate Interpretation
Fine cup Supplementary description
Good cup "strictly soft",
Good to fine cup : Cup halfway between cannot be applied to hard
"very fine and good" coffees.
Fair cup Poor cup Bad cup : Bad-tasting cup. Full body
Without body
Acid drink - Acid taste : Acid: very valued by some consumers. Sour taste - Fermented
taste : Acetic: caused by fermentation during badly conducted drying.
Earthy tastelGroundy taste
Musty taste Smoke taste Mild taste : Similar to Central American Washed coffees. Observations
Taste is determined by coffee tasters mainly in terms of taste and smell. Training and experience make the nature of tasting change from subjective to objective.
However, for commercial, "regional taste °, and purchasing power reasons, it is admitted that the "Strictly soft", for example, is not the same for the consumer of the North or the South of France and all the more for the French and Scandinavians who are more exacting.
The same coffee can vary if, for example, it is dark-roasted in France or light-roast ed in Germany.
 By density

Solid bean with the bean well developed, puffed and bulging, coffee of the new harvest is "hard bean", the opposite of coffee of the older harvest which, by aging, loses its density and is more easily breakable.
 By the shape of the bean
Flat bean : Flat to long bean.
Peaberry : Round bean (Moca in Portuguese). Maragogype : Very large rectangular bean.
"Bourbon" : Round to rounded bean. 
By the roast

Fine roast : Maximum of 0.5 % of light beans after roasting.
Good to fine roast : 2
Good roast 5 % » Fair to good roast.
Fair roast.
Poor to fair roast. Poor roast.
 By the method of preparation Dry method : The majority.
Wet method : Particularly in the states of Pernambuco and Bahia.
By the crop

- Old crop. - Past crop.
- Current or present crop. - New crop.
The coffee crop is designated using two calendar years: eg. 1981182. 
By stocklot

Based on a sample taken directly from the lot in the warehouses after it has been classified.
Or this may concern lots with slightly unusual characteristics. 
By private types of the exporters

- From a particular plantation.
- A "balanced" blend whose composition changes each year in function with the quality of the harvest, in order to guarantee the consumers a uniform and sustained quality.


200 to 800 meters


Main: October/November/December.


From June.


All the cherries, both ripe and unripe, are torn down at the same time and then picked up from the ground, which explains the coffee's lack of uniformity and occasionally pronounced typical taste.
Drying : In the sun.


Machine-cleaning and electronic-sorting.

First Shipment:

From the end of July/August.

Weight of Bags:

59 kg net.


500 grammes.




Can vary from less than 20 million bags to over 40 million bags depending on the diseases, climatic afflictions or economic conditions (see below under "Problems').

Rank of Exportation:

1 st world exporter.

Local Consumption:

About 17 million bags (2nd world consumer after the United States).


Frosts Occurring often every three years, although this apparent cycle is not based on any scientific data and has found itself contradicted these last years.

Major frosts in the last century

14. July 1892

: serious.

02. Aug. 1955

: serious.

16. July 1894

: serious.

21. July 1957

: serious.

25. July 1895

: serious.

07. July 1962

: moderate.

05. July 1898

: serious.

22. June 1963

: moderate.

18. June 1899

: moderate.

28. June 1964

: moderate.

19. Aug. 1902

: very serious.

21. Aug. 1965

: moderate.

12. Aug. 1904

: serious.

06. Aug. 1966

: serious.

18. July 1910

: moderate.

11. July 1969

: moderate.

23. June 1911

: moderate.

09. July 1972

: moderate.

03. Sept. 1912

: serious.

18. July 1975

: very serious.

25. June 1918

: very serious.

15. Aug. 1978

: moderate.

29. June 1931

: moderate.

31. May 1979

: moderate.

14. July 1933

: moderate.

15. Aug. 1979

: moderate.

12. June1942

: serious.

18. July 1981

: serious.

15.Sept. 1943

: moderate.

26. Aug. 1984

: serious.

05. July 1953

: serious.

29. June 1994

: serious.

Mainly in the states of Sao Paulo, Parana and Sul de Minas. The periods of frost danger come after the full moon.

Periods of frost in the coffee-growing zones

- May

31 : 1979

- July

14 : 1892 + 1933

- June

01 : 1989


16 : 1894


18 : 1899


18 : 1910/1975/1981


22 : 1963


21 : 1957


23 : 1911

- August

02 : 1955


25 : 1895


06 : 1966


26 : 1918


12 : 1904


28 : 1964


15 : 1979


29 : 1931/1994


19 : 1902

- July

05 : 1898/1953


21 : 1965


07 : 1962


07 : 1962


09 : 1972

- September

03 : 1912


11 : 1969


15 : 1943


12 : 1942



In 1964/1965, the drought reduced total production to 12 million bags.

The one of the Brazilian winter of 1985 lasted 5 to 6 months depending on the area, from March to October in the states of Parana, Sao Paulo and Sul de Minas, reducing total Brazilian production to 15 million bags, instead of the predicted 23/24 million, to the point of prompting the I.B.C. to import with a very questionable outcome.

Drought is a climatic calamity which has the tendency to repeat itself rather frequently.

Therefore, in order to appreciate as much as is possible, its effects upon the coffee harvest, we indicate below in percentages the moisture content of the surface of the soil and the subsoil.

150 % and above :
excessive moisture: flooding and stagnant water, good to fair harvest.
149/100 % :
above-normal moisture: run-off and stagnant water, excellent to good
99/70 % :
sufficient moisture: moist but hard soil, good to excellent harvest.
69/40 % :
insufficient moisture: the topsoil is slightly moist but the surface is dusty,
fair to good harvest.
39 % and below :
very insufficient moisture: the soil is dry deep down, fair to very poor

Drought is more treacherous than frost since the beginning and end are unknown. The consequences take longer to evaluate.


coffee-bean borer which perforates the beans, their presence is encouraged by excessive rain.


    "Hemileia Vastatrix":
    coffee "rust" which affects the leaves.

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