A vehicle sprays agrochemicals at a coffee field in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s top grower state. 

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg

A vehicle sprays agrochemicals at a coffee field in Minas Gerais, Brazil’s top grower state. 

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg

Brazil’s Super-Premium Coffee Farms Prepare for Largest Harvest Ever

As the industry focuses on producing higher-quality beans, ample rainfall is helping out.

In the green peaks between the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, coffee growers are harvesting some of the best beans in the world. Consumers, increasingly seeking exotic and unique flavors, are willing to pay a premium for them. For Brazil, the world’s largest grower and exporter of highly prized arabica beans, cornering the market for super-premium coffee has been key to the industry’s success. The new crop, for which harvesting will begin in May, could be the largest ever produced.

Ipanema Coffees

Ipanema Coffees

Brazil's largest specialty coffee grower, Ipanema Coffees, selectively harvests the highest-scoring coffees at the top of Mantiqueira Mountain in Minas Gerais.

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg

Unique conditions

Unique conditions

A combination of altitude, sun and temperature variations contribute exotic flavors to the beans. Consumers are willing to pay high premiums for micro-lot coffee, which is harvested manually.

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg

Colombian technology

Colombian technology

Workers install equipment that will process and dry beans at Ipanema Coffees's new Rio Verde farm facility. The company supplies specialty beans to Starbucks and Nespresso. 

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg

Producing exotic coffees has gained new converts in Brazil

Producing exotic coffees has gained new converts in Brazil

Adonis Cerri, a septuagenarian coffee grower, sold his high-quality arabica beans at 2,500 reais ($736) per 60-kilo bag last year, when the commodity price was a mere 500 reais. He reaped the premium coffee from the highest slopes of his farm, located in São Paulo's mountains.

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg
Workers walk through a coffee field in Minas Gerais

Workers walk through a coffee field in Minas Gerais

Fewer humans are toiling in the coffee fields of Brazil, as farmers who don't produce specialty coffees increasingly rely on machines.

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg
Managing a coffee area in southern Minas Gerais

Managing a coffee area in southern Minas Gerais

Following abundant rain that boosted coffee output, Brazil may collect a bumper crop this year, according to state agency Conab, as most trees enter what’s typically the higher-yielding half of the biennial crop cycle.

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg
Water clings to an arabica coffee plant in Alfenas, southern Minas Gerais.

Water clings to an arabica coffee plant in Alfenas, southern Minas Gerais.

Many farmers have invested in irrigation systems to guarantee high yields, regardless of the weather.

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg
Two branches of arabica coffee cherries in Alfenas.

Two branches of arabica coffee cherries in Alfenas.

The quantity of beans on each of these branches marks the productivity of the plant from which they derived. 

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg
A paper displays classification information for coffee beans at the Gram Cerri facility in São Paulo 

A paper displays classification information for coffee beans at the Gram Cerri facility in São Paulo 

High-quality beans are usually exported at better prices, with others discounted according to the number of defects found by classifiers.

Photographer: Rodrigo Capote/Bloomberg