With regards to coffee production, Brazil is king, and has been for more than 150 years! This Latin American country contributes more than one-third of the global coffee supply; literally millions of metric tons each and every year, and among this is the odd Brazilian specialty coffee. Considering the sheer size of the country (approximately 35 times bigger than the United Kingdom), as well as its largely tropical climate and relatively flat topography in most of its coffee-growing regions, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise.
It should be noted, however, that amongst the top world coffee producers, Brazil is unique in that severe frosts can affect some of its coffee-growing regions. This happens typically every 5 to 6 years, and as a result, harvests for the affected year are abnormally low, significantly impacting coffee prices around the globe.
Most of the coffee in Brazil comes from farms of considerable size. These large farms are designed in such a way so as to maximise yield output via mechanical means. The method of harvest was, until relatively recently, through mechanical strip-picking, whereby all of the coffee cherries are stripped from the whole branch without any form of a selection process.
Nowadays, although still largely harvested by machines, the process is more sensitive and selective and has a manual element to it. The method involves spanning a tarp underneath the coffee trees and then, using a machine known as a derriçadeira in Brazil, the trees are gently vibrated so that only the ripe coffee cherry is harvested. This more-selective method of harvesting means that an increasing number of Brazilian coffee farms are able to produce coffee of cup quality.
Brazil Cascavel Vermelha
John Watt & Son’s January Coffee of the Month is the Brazilian speciality coffee Brazil Cascavel Vermelha, part of the Sucafina Originals range. This coffee is named after the rattlesnake, which, on coffee farms, is a brilliant biological pest-control aid due to its diet of small rodents.
This Brazilian specialty coffee is harvested with the more sensitive approach involving the use of a derriçadeira, leading to a cupping score of an impressive 84.5.
Details of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee, Cascavel Vermelha
Region: Cerrado Mineiro – East Central Region
Altitude: 800 – 1100 metres above sea level
Variety: Various Arabica
Aroma: Aged Wood
Flavour: Red Berries and Melon
Cupping Score: 84.5
Update May 2021
The Cascavel Vermelha proved very popular but is sadly no longer in stock. We highly recommend, however, another great Brazilian speciality coffee, Brazil Santos. This is a well-balanced, fruity coffee with flavours of Brazil nuts and sugar cane.