April marks the beginning of the Brazil coffee harvest year (we cup for the new crop in July, close to the peak harvest). Brazil is by far the world’s biggest coffee producer, and while Robusta yields are suffering due to climate-change-related drought (the worst seen in 70 years), last year’s Arabica harvest was record-breaking.
So often, when we talk about coffee production, we focus on the highly marketable small-scale producer, hand-picking only the ripest coffee beans from his or her backyard trees and bringing that harvest to the co-op for processing and sale.
In Brazil, most of the coffee, even the high-quality Arabica grown by small- and medium-size producers, is machine harvested. When the berries are 75% ripe, it’s time to strip them off mechanically. Green ones are tossed and red ones get processed for bagging and export.
Brazils are frequently natural process. We have a pulped natural right now with some dried fruit nut flavors and great body. It’s clean and sweet and, for us, holds up nicely to a dark roast and/or contributes great body and chocolate sweetness to our espressos.
We’re excited to see how Brazilian coffee farmers tackle increasing climate uncertainty and continue to improve quality in the Specialty sector in coming years.