Millions of beans a day: Brazil
Yes, a coffee giant but also a country with many facets: Brazil is an increasingly prosperous economy: from plantation to cup.
The land of pristine landscapes, cities teeming with life - the Rio carnival of course! – as well as the endless beaches overlooking the ocean; not to mention capoeira, beach volleyball and caipirinha.
Among all the things that Italians know about Brazil, one in particular is certain: coffee.
Let's begin our journey. Since the mid-19th century, Brazil has been the world's leading producer of coffee. From bean to cup, with over 60 million bags a year produced, the largest country in South America is responsible for 30% of the world's coffee production.
It is no secret that Brazil's main economic resources derive mainly from agriculture. Suffice it to say that in January 2022 alone the country exported almost 4 million bags of coffee.
As Frank Sinatra intoned:
What characterizes coffee production in Brazil
Between plateaus and rolling hills covered with dense forest, Brazil offers a multitude of climates and temperatures, but what makes the green-gold nation truly unique is the richness of its soil which is full of mineral salts.
And like the bossanova, coffee in Brazil has sweet and romantic notes.
The three main regions in which coffee is predominantly produced in Brazil are: Cerrado Mineiro, where the taste is full-bodied and characterized by warm chocolatey notes; Mogiana, a region characterized by a sweet and delicate coffee; and finally Sul de Minas, the largest region; it is in this area that true connoisseurs are able to recognize the notes of a citrusy and balanced coffee.
(The green-gold of football, as we all know, aren’t enjoying a great period, in fact, the times when the black pearl Pelé gifted 3 world cups to his country are very distant.)
On the other hand, coffee production growth continues with great impetus in its constant search for fermentations and its comparative studies of different qualities and crops in conditions can be adverse or even extreme.
What leaves you astonished about this land is the ability of the farmers to know how to differentiate between taste, flavor and aroma, studying the aromatic notes in great detail that until a few years ago seemed to belong exclusively to African or Central American coffees. Brazil is therefore innovating and rediscovering itself by responding to an increasingly demanding and competitive market. In fact, it is no coincidence that the “fine robusta” market is developing here with this spirit, dominated here by the conilon variety.
Brazilians and coffee: a lasting love
Brazilians go crazy for it - more for pleasure than out of necessity. They drink it often, and in any situation; at the bar with friends, between football kickabouts, and even between meals. Coffee as the mood for life.
Ronaldinho, Juninho, Robinho but above all CAFEZINHO.
You got it right, the cafezinho is not a center forward of the Seleçao but a typical Brazilian recipe now famous in other parts of the world. It is a traditional coffee often drunk black, but to which sugar or rapadura (unrefined sugar) can be added. The Cafezihno is a warm way to welcome visitors, start a business meeting, or enjoyed after dinner with friends.
How is it prepared? Simple, it takes a few minutes. Water is boiled with sugar, then the ground coffee are added and mixed for about twenty seconds, then the mixture is poured into a filter (traditional Brazilians use a clean cotton sock!) and drunk quickly. If desired, more sugar or milk can be added, but note that the originality of the recipe is lost. In short, preparing Cafezihno is a piece of cake, but tracing the original recipe and preparation is problematic because in reality every Brazilian, a bit like us Italians, prepares it following the advice of their family and the secrets of their grandmother.
(The cuisine and traditions of a people is the mirror of its civilization.)