American Farm Bureau PALs Brazil Trip, Day 5

What’s brewing in Brazil?

By Brian Marshall and Chris Pollack

Have you ever wondered, “Where did my cup of joe come from?”  Today in our travels of Brazil we were fortunate to have met with a farmer that grows 130 acres of coffee in addition to corn, edible beans, and grapes.

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Coffee is a tropical crop that is grown in southeastern Brazil where 1/3 of the worlds’ coffee is raised.  They grow two types of coffee known as Arabica and Robusta.  The farmer we visited had recently transplanted new coffee plants into a field adjacent to plants that were over 40 years old.  New plants will begin to yield a crop in 3-4 years.

Coffee is harvested by hand, or in this case, by machine when the berries turn bright red during the dry season between June and September.  The berries are then laid out in the sun to dry for 10-14 days.  When dry, the farmer removes the outside hull and sells the beans to a processor to be graded and ground.

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The only place coffee is grown in the United States is in Hawaii.  Coffee plants are very susceptible to frost and are far too expensive to establish anywhere else with that kind risk.

So the next time you grab your caffeine fix from Starbucks you know what it took to get that coffee in your cup.

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