Brazil is South America’s most inﬂuential and economically powerful country and one of the world’s largest economies. During the last few years great strides have been made in lifting millions out of poverty across the country. Coﬀee was introduced to Brazil in 1720 in the southern state of Paraná and has become the powerhouse of the coﬀee world accounting for more than a third of all coﬀee produced. Legend has it that at that time the Brazilian government had wanted a cut of world coﬀee production and sent Lt. Col. Francisco de Melo Palheta to French Guiana on the pretence of mediating on a border dispute. Aware that he would not be allowed to visit the fort-like coﬀee plantations, the lieutenant instead used his charms to woo the ﬁrst lady of Guiana and encouraged her to give him the seedlings he also desired. Unable to resist his charms, she presented him with a bouquet spiked with coﬀee seeds at a farewell banquet held in his honour. Whether sex and deceit can really be attributed to Brazil’s introduction to coﬀee cannot be proved but there can be no doubt that now, in the 21st century, Brazil’s dominance in world production is unrivalled. Annual crops as high as 60 million bags are becoming common place and it is the world’s largest coffee producer.
Coﬀee plantations cover about 27,000 km2 (10,000 sq mi) of the country; of the approx. six billion trees, 74% are Arabica and 26% Robusta. The states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Paraná are the largest producers due to suitable landscapes, climate and rich soil though production has mostly moved North due to the harsh frosts experienced in the mid-1970s in Paraná which destroyed much of the coffee. Most plantations are harvested in the dry months of May to July and new crop tends to arrive into the UK between October and January.