Flavor, Boldness, History: A Guide To Brazil Santos Coffee

Brazil Santos Coffee

When it comes to coffee roasts, one of the countries that you cannot miss out on is Brazil.

In fact, Brazil is one of the largest producers of coffee. For over 150 years, Brazil has been the number one producer of coffee worldwide, producing 1/3 of the world’s coffee each year. Recently, Brazil also became the #1 consumer of coffee, passing the United States.

It is no wonder that Brazil became a coffee powerhouse. Geographically, Brazil is massive, providing opportunities for growing diverse coffee varieties – from simple commodities to some of the best and gourmet coffee.

In this article, we will be specifically discussing Brazil Santos coffee, which is considered the premium coffee coming from the Santos region in Brazil.

Short History of Brazil Santos Coffee

Brazil Santos Coffee

According to historical writings, coffee first arrived in Brazil in 1727 from French Guiana through the efforts of Portuguese Lt. Col Francisco del Melo Palheta. According to the story, Lt. Col seduced the wife of Guiana’s governor in order to have her help him smuggle the coffee seeds across the border.

In the 1800’s, Brazilian coffee was mainly consumed only by European colonists in the country. However, over time, the demand for Brazilian coffee rose in Europe and the United States as well, so the exports started ramping up. At these times, Brazil was producing around 30% of the world’s coffee and has continued to do so since.

During the mid to late 1800s, diseases destroyed the coffee industries in Asia, giving Central and South America an opportunity to make a name for themselves as mass exporters of coffee. In fact, during these times, Brazil even reached a whopping 80% of coffee’s global production!

Eventually, the devastated coffee industries of Asia recovered, hence lowering down the percentage of Brazilian global coffee production. However, Brazil still remains as the number one producer of coffee worldwide.

Despite what many people believe, Brazil Santos coffee is not related to the Santos region in Brazil. The term was created in the 1900s when the government-controlled the internal market. Because of this coffee was classified as Santos 1, Santos 2, Santos 3, etc. because Santos had the largest trading gate for Brazilian coffee.

Over the years, the definition of the terminology changed and it simply means a higher quality coffee. This means the coffee is typically a Bourbon bean, or sometimes even Arabica.

Qualities of Brazilian Coffee

coffee farm

In a nutshell, there are a few common traits of Brazilian coffee. Due to the wide diversity of Brazilian coffee, they have a wide variety of characteristics as well:

Processing methods: Natural, pulp natural, and wet-processing

Flavor: Sweet, floral, smooth acidity, spice, complex, and hints of wine

Because of Brazil’s wide and diverse geographic characteristics, Brazilian coffee also comes in a wide variety of flavors. If you visit the grasslands, you will see Robusta beans being grown there. Brazilian Robusta beans grown in grasslands tend to have mildly earthly notes and strong bitterness.

If you go above the grasslands and visit the elevated areas, you will be greeted by Brazilian Arabica coffee beans. Brazilian Arabica beans tend to have more delicate flavor. They are also sweeter than their counterparts. Brazilian Arabica have fruity and floral notes, and some do not even resemble typical Brazilian beans at all.

When it comes to Brazil’s specialty coffee, Brazil offers a few varieties of coffee flavor profiles. The most common of them are sweet, nutty, spicy, and earthy and the beans having low acidity, all of which make a great foundation for a blend.

However, some Brazilian specialty coffee beans are great as single-origin as well. Most commonly, these specialty beans have a gentle acidity, lighter body, juicy sweetness, and a complex flavor profile that touches the notes of spice, flowers, white wine, and occasionally lime.

How Brazil Santos Coffee is Grown

Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer. It produces around 25% of the global coffee supply. Around eighty percent of coffee coming from Brazil is Arabica.

Surprising or not — most coffee in Brazil is farmed by small farmers. A large portion of Brazil’s coffee farms has less than 10 hectares in size. According to Diagnóstico da Cafeicultura em Minas Gerais, 71% of Brazil’s coffee farms are only less than 10 hectares. 25% of Brazilian coffee has around less than 50 hectares in size and only as few as 4% of coffee farms have a land area with more than 50 hectares.

Brazil’s main growing regions for their coffee are São Paulo, Bahia, Minas Gerais, and Espirito Santo, and harvest season takes place from April to September.

If you are planning to try Brazilian coffee beans, make sure to check out our article on the best coffee equipment you can use HERE.

Processing Methods of Brazilian Coffee

Brazil Santos Coffee

In Brazil, there are three main processing methods used to process their coffee beans: dry-processing (natural), wet-processing (washed), and pulped natural (semi-washed).

The vast majority of Brazilian coffee beans are processed using the dry-processing or natural method because Brazilian weather can accommodate that specific processing method. Not only it is feasible for dry-processing, but the weather is so optimal that dry-processing is the best option for their coffee beans.

Due to its large geographic mass, the weather in Brazil can be widely diverse as well – specifically experiencing distinct wet and dry seasons. Because of the wet and dry season patterns, the flowering and cherry maturation of the coffee is homogeneous. This means that Brazilians can harvest their coffee cherries using the strip picking and/or mechanical method.

Although under-ripe and overripe coffee cherries can be accidentally harvested during the harvesting process, there is a double-check process to carefully remove those cherries. Brazil has one of the best and most advanced processing techniques when it comes to planting, harvesting, and processing their coffee.

Now, let us take a closer look at the three main processing methods that are used in processing Brazil Santos coffee.

Dry-processing method

In dry-processing or natural processing methods, coffee beans are dried while they are still inside their cherry. Before drying, the farmers will remove coffee cherries that float.

Dry-processed coffees tend to have sweet, smooth, and complex flavors and tend to be heavy in body.

The problem with dry-processing is that, the longer the coffee cherries needed to be dried, the bigger the possibility of fermentation. Because of this, farmers worked hard, investing a large amount of money, time, and effort in developing new ways of dry-processing methods and practices that reduce the risk and totally prevent the fermentation process.

Wet-processing method

The wet-processing method is actually a relatively new method in removing the layers of the coffee bean. If you want a coffee that is cleaner, fruitier and brighter, look for coffees that undergo the wet-processing method.

Wet-processing is less common compared to the dry-processing method. However, this method offers you a lighter taste than that of dry-processing.

Semi-washed processing (pulped natural)

In semi-washing, coffee growers will pulp the coffee beans but will emit the fermentation stage. This results in the coffee having characteristics of both dry and wet-processed coffee.

Specifically, semi-washed coffees tend to be sweeter than their wet-processed coffee counterparts. Semi-washed coffees have a similar body to a dry-processed coffee while managing to keep some acidity possessed by a typical wet-processed coffee.

Semi-washed processing is only possible in countries or locations where their humidity is low. Because Brazil meets the needs of a semi-washed or pulped natural processing method, they have the luxury of doing either. Due to its capability, Brazil popularized the semi-washed processing method. It’s now a method that has gained world recognition for its great taste. In fact, the winners of the Gourmet Cup competition in Brazil in 2000 processed their coffees using the semi-washed or pulped natural processing method.

Try it out Lavender Iced Coffee

Now that you learned everything there is to know about Brazil Santos coffee, it’s time to give it a try! You can brew it and serve it black, craft a latte, or even drink it iced. This lavender iced latte is a great option, but if you are looking for something different check out all of our flavored coffee recipes HERE.

What you’ll need:

  • 4 ounces of moka pot coffee (if you prefer stronger, 2 shots of espresso!)
  • 4-6 ounces of whole milk (or unsweetened almond milk)
  • ½ cup of water
  • 3-4 tablespoons dried lavender
  • ½ cup of raw honey
  • Mesh strainer 


  • To make syrup, combine water and lavender in a small saucepan. Bring to boil. Then, reduce to a low simmer for a few minutes. Smell the aromas!
  • Remove from heat to cool. Then, using the strain, filter out the solids to retain only the lavender water.
  • Return the lavender water to the saucepan with honey. Place over low-medium heat. Stir gently until the mixture starts to thicken into a syrup.
  • Once lavender syrup forms, pour into a jar*
  • For the latte, brew moka pot or espresso as desired.
  • In the meantime, froth your milk. 
  • Pour coffee into a cup. Mix 2 tablespoons of lavender syrup into the coffee.
  • Add in frothed milk. Sprinkle with dried lavender if you’d like!

After learning about Brazil Santos coffee, do you think its time to give the roast a try? Shop our Brazil Santos coffee HERE.

Share on facebook
Share on google
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *