Brazilian Coffee History

Brazilian Coffee History

Brazil is the undisputed largest coffee producing country in the world and it is being like this for over 150 years. Cultivated originally in Belém, north of Brazil in 1727, coffee plantations spread along the coast reaching Rio de Janeiro, from there it quickly expanded over São Paulo where it was established as the base of country’s economy by mid- 19th century and first decades of 20th century. The urbanizing power of coffee modernized large cities and led to the revolution in transports introducing the first railways, São Paulo Railway Company was built in 1867 to connect the Port of Santos to Jundiaí in the countryside, paving the way with 41 new counties between 1891 and 1900.
The wealth generated by coffee also contributed to the cultural development, enabled investments in architecture and dissemination of arts, in addition to initially provide the necessary capital to the country's industrialization process.

Mogiana region became the most important agricultural zone in the state with land available and an intense European immigration providing labor. The expansion of the railroad system permitted paulista agriculture to expand production and to maintain its productivity. Mogyana Railway Company was established in 1872 and extended its rails for almost 2.000 km reaching Minas Gerais. In this way, Mogiana Region in São Paulo became the most significant producer and exporter of coffee in Brazil history.

Despite the importance acquired by Sao Paulo's agriculture, very little technology was used by farmers in the early 20th century, many counties hardly employed plows or other similar equipment, and even in some larger coffee plantations where agricultural mechanization had started, such innovations were not widespread, and when used, usually limited to the processing of grain and not the planting and cultivation.
However, most counties, particularly those with higher cultivation of coffee were served by technology in transport, 85 out of 165 had their own station, 45 relied on rail service available at a distance of up to 30 kilometers and only 12 counties were located more than 100 kilometers from a station . This demonstrates the scope of the São Paulo rail system. Local transport was carried out by troops,ox carts, beasts of burden, mules, etc.

By 1905 São Paulo Major coffee producers were coexisting with thousands of small and medium farmers also dedicated to coffee production.

The profile of production in São Paulo have changed through the years, today 80% of the producers are small and most of them are still cultivating just for the tradition of it, although the increasing global demand for quality coffee is definitely encouraging farmers to keep improving their technical skills to achieve a better position in the chain.