Brazil is the world’s largest grower of coffee, without question. Annual exports often exceed 20 million bags, each 132 pounds of raw, greeen beans. Many people question why the weather in Brazil affects the coffee market. The answer to that is supply and demand. During the summer of 1994, two cold fronts moved through Brazil, causing frost damage to the major growing regions, resulting in the next crop being drastically reduced. With less Brazilian coffee in the market, companies had to turn to other countries to find coffee to fill the hole left by a small Brazilian crop. This made the price of coffee nearly triple over a 30-day period!

The major growing regions of Brazil are Cerrado, Sul Minas and Minas Gerais. Each region produces excellent quality Brazilian coffee. Our selection this month is a natural processed coffee from Cerrado. This coffee has mild acidity, medium body and medium aroma. Brazilian coffee tends to have a mild over-all flavor, with a creamy note to the body when a “natural” (unwashed) coffee. Washed varieties of Brazilian have a milder body with a touch more acidity.
Coffee from Cerrado will also often be sold with the mark of Santos. Santos is the port in southern Brazil where the coffee from Cerrado ships. Many times coffee from a particular country picks up a second name – that of the port of shipment. Perhaps the best-known example of this is Mocca Yemen. Yemen coffee ships from the port of Mocca, which is where coffee gets one of its nicknames, Mocca or Mocha.
Annual Coffee Export: 18 – 25 million bags,
85% Arabica
Growing Area: 880,000 acres
320,000 farms, 75% are less than 25 acres

Mexican coffees are known for being light to medium in body with mild acidity and good balance. Because they often lacked the richness and body many buyers look for, they were traditionally used in blends and as a flavoring base. Today Mexico, like many other Central and South American countries, is gaining new attention for its single-origin, fair-trade and organic coffees. Some of this is due in part to the Mexican Coffee Council (Café de Mexico), which has been working to enhance the reputation of coffee from Mexico by implementing an official quality certification program.

Another factor is consumers’ increased interest in specialty coffees, such as those from Mexico. Mexico has a long history of offering organic and fair-trade coffees, something that helps set it apart from other newer-to-the-fold countries. Currently Mexico is the main producer of organic coffee worldwide, according to the Mexican Coffee Council.
Mexican coffee, known to be mild in flavor and acidity, is popular in the U.S. for one of the same reasons that Hawaiian coffee is popular — once people visit and enjoy the native coffee, they tend to purchase it when at home.

Coffee is grown in 12 states of the Mexican Republic, with each growing area producing coffee that can be identified by that coffee’s flavor profile. They differ dramatically — from bright and sweet with hints of clove and apricot from the tropical jungle region in Chiapas, to the light nutty flavor and medium acidity from the mountains of Coatepec.
More than three million Mexican people are involved in some facet of the coffee industry, with more than 280,000 growers, including indigenous people of the Amuzgos, Zapotecos, Nahuas and Tepahuas groups. The majority of the farms are less than 25 acres. The future of Mexican coffee lies in the hands of the co-ops and farmers who produce single-origin, organic and fair-trade coffees.

The third largest producer (behind Brazil and Columbia), Mexico’s coffee exports are proportionally smaller because Mexico consumes so much of its own coffee. Ironically, more soda is consumed than coffee, but the population is so large, it still drinks vast amounts of coffee.

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Amy Heydt
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