Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coffee From Brazil -coffee bean love story

In 1727, a military man, Captain Francisco de Mello Palheta, introduced prized coffee seeds from French Guyana for the very first time in Brazil. At the time, French Guyana had a monopoly on coffee beans and refused to make them available to Brazilians.
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Through charm and romance, Captain de Mello Palheta wooed a sample of coffee beans from the governor's wife who rewarded him for his personal flair with a bouquet of flowers where she hid coffee beans as a gift for "memories' sake." This was the beginning of the coffee trade for Brazil. At the time, sugar was the main crop in Brazil. However, it was quickly surpassed by coffee.

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The "Fazendas de Café" (coffee plantations) were run as small states by coffee growing families committed to establishing an image of nobility and high class status. About 67% of all farms have less than 10 acres. About 25% of farms have less than 50 acres. The remaining 8% exceed 50 acres. As the song goes in Brazil, "...they've got an awful lot of coffee in Brazil..."

What is amazing about this huge land mass is that only 7% represents arable land; 1% permanent crops and the balance (92%) other use such as urban, mangroves, jungle, forests, etc.

International immigration has played a very influential role in the development of Brazilian culture. The heritage of most Brazilians today who have traced their family trees include European, African, Amerindian, Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds. Without any doubt, this is one of the most interesting features of Brazilian culture, music, cuisine and traditions. It is well worth tasting a cup of Brazilian Santos Bourbon with some smooth Samba music in the background.

Brazilian coffee tradition. Coffee regions, music, art and cultural traditions. The "cafezinho" tradition. Benefits of a Coffee Club Membership.


Introduction: how coffee arrived in Brazil
Brazil's Coffee Regions
Brazil's Coffee, Music, Art and Cultural Traditions
The Brazilian "Cafezinho" Tradition
The benefits of a Coffee Club Membership
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Brazil's Coffee Regions
There are three main coffee growing areas in Brazil: Mogiana, Sul Minas and Cerrado. These areas feature moderate sunlight and rain. The temperatures are steady year-round at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit, ideal to grow Arabica and Robusta coffee trees. Arabica accounts for about 70% of total harvest. Robusta, a hardier plant that produces lower quality beans makes up the remaining 30%.

The Mogiana region: This is the area along the border of São Paulo and Minas Gerais states north of São Paulo. The Mogiana coffee region is named after the Companhia Mogiana Estrada de Ferro train line that ran through this area when trains and coffee were inseparable companions in commercial and community development. The Mogiana area is known for its rich red soil.

The Sul Minas region: This is the heart of Brazil's coffee country. The rugged, rolling hills of Sul Minas, are located in the southern part of Minas Gerais state northeast of São Paulo.

The Cerrado region: This is a high, semi-arid plateau surrounding the city of Patrocinio, between São Paulo and Brasilia. This area is located in Brazil's central high plains region.
Of all the coffees growing in these regions, Brazilian Santos Bourbon is Brazil's best well known Specialty Coffee.

Enjoy a cup of Santos Bourbon gourmet coffee!

Santos is a market name referring to the port through which this coffee is traditionally shipped.
The Arabica coffee plants that produce this coffee came from the rich volcanic soils of the island of Bourbon, now called the Island of Reunion.
From a historical perspective, the island of Reunion is located in the Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar. This island was an important stopover on the East Indian trading route. When the Suez Canal opened, the island lost its importance.
Fortunately for Brazil, the trees imported from the island of Reunion took root very well and started one of Brazil's main cash crops.
Brazilian Santos Bourbon is a light bodied coffee, with low acidity, a pleasing aroma and a mild, smooth flavor. Brazilian Santos Bourbon is dry-processed (dried inside the fruit) which is why some of the sweetness of the fruit carries into the cup.
Brazil's Coffee, Music, Art and Cultural Traditions
Coffee is one of Brazil's most valuable and widely traded commodity crops.
Brazil's origins make it a musical country full of passion, sentiment and joy: Indians' reed flutes; Portuguese viola players, and African thrilling drum rhythms. Brazilian music includes the soft sounds of bossa nova, the driving beat of samba and other rhythms based on percussion instruments and hand clapping.

The exact origin of samba is unknown. Perhaps it was born in the streets of Rio de Janeiro from a combination of Portuguese courtly songs, African rhythms and native Indian fast footwork. The reality is samba remains a part of Rio de Janeiro's streets. Carnival is one of the largest parties on Earth when hundreds of samba schools and thousands of people put on an unforgettable display of colors, music, noise and, yes, a lot of Brazilian coffee!

Coffee, Music and Art

Coffee is very much a part of Brazilian life where people encourage each other to enjoy a morning cup of coffee, to smell the flowers and to listen to the songbirds. There is a connection between coffee, songbirds and samba, Brazil's most popular rhythm. The natural sounds of songbirds influence many musical tunes and variations. The costumes of Carnival and daily clothing reflect colorful images and hues inspired by local wildlife.

Across the country, there is a growing awareness of the wildlife habitat reduction as a result of urbanization, conventional modern farming and deforestation. As a result, shade grown coffee, the traditional method of coffee farming, is growing in acceptance among farmers who recognize it as a positive alternative for wildlife conservation.

The Brazilian "Cafezinho" Tradition:
The "cafezinho" tradition is as Brazilian as Apple Pie is American. "Cafezinho" is the diminutive word in Portuguese for coffee. In Brazil, however, "cafezinho" is the way to welcome anyone into homes, businesses or just about anywhere. In Brazil it does not take long to learn the phrase "você quer um cafezinho?" (do you want a little coffee?). This is a question heard everywhere, all day long and almost always followed by a very small cup of very potent coffee. You can call it a mini espresso with a powerful punch!
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Brazilians drink coffee all day long at specialty coffee bars, bakeries, restaurants, street cafes, and just about anywhere. Brazilians are very personable. Business meetings usually start with casual conversation and it is up to the host to start the business discussion. Often, Brazilians have "cafezinho" in the middle of a business discussion.
At such times, they may switch to non-business related talk, including storytelling prompted by the fragrance of the coffee which brings memory of a childhood experience or some other event.


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