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They grow an awful lot of coffee in Brasil as "The Coffee Song" by Frank Sinatra suggested!

Coffee growing along the Highway

Between Águas da Prata and São Roque, along side the Highway toward Poços de Caldas, you can see thousands of coffee trees from various plantations.


These trees are just outside the Águas da Prata town limit.




They grow for miles along the highway.




There are many moumtains and many coffee trees.




There is the Santa Rita Coffee Drying Patio down in the valley.



We could hear the workmen near the second building from the left shovelling the coffee, but they are hard to see.





The coffee trees grow right up to the train tracks. Then there is a service road higher up.





These are young trees just planted last year.



They cover the hillside.





Here they are closeup.





They are across the highway from the Santa Rita do Quartel plantation. See the church that is on the coffee label.




These are more trees across the highway, belonging to the Santa Rita do Quartel plantation.





There is a coffee shop, here, along the highway, that sells Santa Rita do Quartel coffee.




They also sell Santa Rita do Quartel coffe beans and wines.




This is the ground coffee sold in Supermarkets around Águas da Prata. See the little church on the label. This happens to be my personal favourite Brasilian Coffee.




Photos by Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE

The Story of Coffee


The plant - Coffee seed types



There are two main species of the coffee plant, the older one being Coffea arabica. Coffee is thought to be indigenous to south-western Ethiopia, specifically from Kaffa, from which it may have acquired its name.

For more on this subject visit Wikipedia at:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee

******


Everywhere you look around Águas da Prata, SP, Brasil, you see coffee trees by the thousands.





































The View of this Coffee Plantation from Space - By Google Earth










Brasil is the largest producer of low grade arabica coffee, and a lot of Conilon robusta too. Brazil: there is some in almost every espresso you drink. In fact, some espresso is 90% Brazil. And there is Brazil in most canned coffee and big roasters' blends.


Photos by Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE

Bolsa Oficial de Cafe

SANTOS, Brazil and the Bolsa Oficial de Cafe

Ask anyone in Brazil's biggest port to name the city's most beautiful building, and the answer will almost certainly be the Bolsa Oficial de Cafe -- Brazil's antique coffee exchange.



The Facade of the Brasil Coffee Exchange




Inaugurated in 1922 on the 100th anniversary of Brazilian independence, the bolsa was a testament to the power and wealth of Brazil's coffee barons. Within its interior marble halls, coffee brokers would buy and sell the precious beans, while outside, the building's eclectic architectural style and ornate clock tower made it stand out along the Santos waterfront.





The Entrance to the Bolsa



For the last 45 years, however, the building has gradually fallen into disrepair. These days, with most commodities trading done via computer, there's no longer any need for a physical Bolsa de Cafe. But there is a need to preserve history, and within a few months, Santos municipal authorities plan to inaugurate the bolsa as Brazil's first official coffee museum.




Windows in the Bolsa



Like the structure built to honor it, the Brazilian coffee industry -- braving freezes, droughts, hyperinflation and occasional political chaos -- has seen its share of ups and downs.



More Windows of the Bolsa



Now, as much of the nation struggles with high interest rates, climbing prices and rising unemployment in the aftermath of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso's recent currency devaluation, coffee exporters are flying high. The devaluation actually helps them since they buy coffee in the local currency, reales, but sell in dollars.

In addition, coffee prices are expected to rise in the wake of the recent earthquake in Colombia, and the lingering effects of Hurricane Mitch, which last year wiped out coffee production in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.




The Auction Room



In January 1999, Brazil exported around 1.4 million 60-kilogram sacks of coffee beans -- a record high. Revenues came to $175 million, the highest level in a decade. That happened despite the fact that in January 1998, coffee prices were 65% higher, at $203.25 per sack. But that month, reports the Brazilian Association of Coffee Exporters (FEBEC), only 790,000 sacks were exported due to low yields -- a lingering effect of the 1994 freeze.




The ornate ceiling of the Bolsa Auction Room.



Brazil's total 1998-99 coffee harvest is expected to weigh in at 34.5 million 60-kg bags, a 23% increase over the previous season's harvest of 28 million sacks. However, exports will be worth only $2.1 billion, down 9.1% from the $2.4 billion generated in the 1997-98 season, said Jose Botafogo Goncalves, Brazil's minister of industry and commerce. He predicted that the 1999-2000 harvest would tumble 33% to just over 23 million bags, due to high temperatures and a drought in Espirito Santo and Bahia states.

At the moment, over three million Brazilians are involved in the coffee industry, which accounts for 5% of all exports by volume.

Brazil is the world's largest producer and exporter," said Oswaldo Aranha Neto, a Sao Paulo businessman who has been active in FEBEC for many years. "The tendency is to assume that when you're big, you don't produce quality. But in our case, it's definitely not true. We have exporters that are comparable to any in the world. In fact, the Cerrado region (of western Minas Gerais state) is becoming very famous for production."

Asked why Brazil does so little to promote its coffees around the world, he replied that "until now, there was no reason to invest in promotion, because Brazil didn't have its own labels. However, that is changing, and I think it's time to invest in the future."

One company, Ipanema Agro-Industria S.A. of Alfenas, in the state of Minas Gerais, is doing just that. Already one of the world's largest growers of arabica, the com-pany is expanding its coffee plantations from 14 million to 20 million plants. Ipanema processes its own coffee under the Fazenda de Minas brand.

Meanwhile, Brazil's largest producer of soluble coffee, Cacique, is building a new plant to make "freeze dry" coffee, which sells for 20% more than the common "spray dry" because it cools rather than heats the product -- preserving more of the aroma. Cacique plans to sell 2,200 metric tons a year of this new product to Japanese, European and eventually U.S. customers.
In the state of Bahia, farmers will produce 250,000 60-kg bags of robusta coffee on land previously used to grow cocoa. And that number could rise to a million bags within five years, say industry sources who estimate yields in Bahia at 25 bags per hectare. That compares favorably to Espirito Santo -- Brazil's leading robusta producer -- where yields hover around 15 bags per hectare.

The United States used to be Brazil's top customer for robusta coffee, but with the recent U.S. shift to lower-cost Asian producers, Argentina has replaced it as Brazil's most important robusta buyer.

Further south, in Santa Luzia -- just outside the metropolis of Belo Horizonte -- a little-known coffee company that got its start 30 years ago has in the last few years become Brazil's No. 1 capucchino producer. Cafe Tres Coracoes Ltda. boasts 250 employees and annual sales of around $130 million.

Kleber Delton Malta, national sales manager at Tres Coracoes, says ground coffee constitutes 85% of his business, and capucchino the remaining 15%. "Our company is all over Brazil," he says. "We have 53 distributors throughout the country."

In Portuguese, Tres Coracoes means "three hearts," and was given that name upon its establishment in 1970 by the company's founder, in honor of his three children. Today, says Mr. Delton, Tres Coracoes has 3.4% of Brazil's $3 billion domestic coffee market, buying 70% of its beans from small producers in the surrounding state of Minas Gerais rather than growing its own coffee.

Roughly half of the revenues of Tres Coracoes derive from Brazilian sales, and half from exports. Although the capucchino business is only 15% of what the company does, Tres Coracoes is Brazil's undisputed leader in capucchino, with a 50% share of the market.

"Brazilian people like capucchino strong in a small cup, with more sugar and cinnamon than in the United States, where capucchino is served in a big glass," says Delton Malta. "It's a breakfast drink for Brazilians, though it's frequently drunk after lunch and dinner too."

Being Brazil's capucchino king isn't enough for Tres Coracoes, however. Rodrigo Lapertosa, the company's new product manager, says "we'll soon start to sell powdered milk and a kind of coffee candy, and Cafe do Cerrado, considered the best coffee of Brazil, because the green beans are from the best region of Minas Gerais. Another new product is coffee in little sacks, known as Medida Certa."




Various Coffees produced in Brasil.


Journal of Commerce / February 25, 1999 - By Larry Luxner



Coffee has been Brazil's bonanza for over a century.


There are more than 100 Brazilian planters with individual incomes exceeding $50,000. Most of them spend three lavish months a year in Paris, three decorous months at their massive Baroque mansions in Rio de Janeiro, and the remaining half year supervising their estates. Most of these rich men hail from Sao Paulo, "The State With a Billion Coffee Trees," which produces over half the world's crop. Most of them believe firmly in the efficacy of a combination in restraint of trade to keep prices high. For over two decades they have been perfecting a combination—really a gigantic, cooperative Coffee Trust—which the world has found hard to beat. By systematic hoarding of the Sao Paulo crop in good years and judicious release of these hoardings in bad they have made each and every U. S. coffee-drinker spend about 50¢ more per year for his coffee than he otherwise would.

The U. S. coffee-drinker spends about $2.20 for raw coffee imported, pays a goodly extra sum to have it roasted, ground, tinned.

See: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,752223,00.html


Santos, city and port in southeastern Brazil, in São Paulo State, on the island of São Vicente, near São Paulo. Founded in 1543, Santos became a major port when the railway from the interior was completed in 1867. Population (1996 estimate) 412,243.

http://www.greatestcities.com/South_America/Brazil/Santos_city.html

For more information and photos, old and new, visit these two websites

Histórias e Lendas do Santos
http://www.novomilenio.inf.br/santos/h0084.htm

http://www.arcoweb.com.br/interiores/interiores26.asp


Photos by Elza Bruck, Professional Translator, São Paulo, Brasil

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE

Coffee Drying Patios

Coffee Drying and Coffee Drying Patios in and near Águas da Prata

Before shipment, coffee is dried and a coffee moisture meter is used to measure coffee bean moisture. Coffee must be dried from approximately 60% moisture content to 11-12% moisture content. Coffee is typically dried on large patios made of asphalt or cement and then transferred to mechanical dryers.

The coffee on the drying patios is shifted every 30-40 minutes and is shaped into long rows of no more than 5 cm in height. Next to each row is open ground, which is warmed and dried by the sun. The coffee is then shifted onto the dry portion of the patio, and the section where it was previously is now allowed to dry in the sun. This helps accelerate the coffee drying process and prevents fermentation and moldy beans from developing. This method is widely used in Brazil, but less widely used in Guatemala or Costa Rica where the coffee is more often piled perpendicularly to the old piles.

Drying coffee solely by patio takes 6-7 days for washed coffees, 8-9 days for pulped naturals (semi-washed), and 12-14 days for natural (dry-processed) coffees. This is why coffee beans are typically dried on a patio until they reach a moisture content of 15% and are then transferred to mechanical dryers. Once the coffee reaches a 25% moisture content or less, it can be piled at night and covered with cotton cloths to allow the coffee to breath. If it rains, these piles can also be covered with plastic. Coffee should not be covered with burlap sacks since this will impart a distinct burlap flavor and aroma to the coffee.

Here is what they look like.




Large Coffee Drying Patios on the edge of town.




Here are the same Coffee Drying Patios as seen from a Satellite in Space.




An abandoned Coffee Drying Patio.







A Coffee Drying Patio behind a small restaurant.




Here is a Coffee Drying Patio being worked just outside of Águas da Prata.




In this photo you can see the men raking the coffee on the Coffee Drying Patio.




Photos by Urso Branco

Read More, See More Photos and Read the Comments . . . CLICK HERE