Coffee Origin #1 – The Brazilian New Secret Coffee Mission

You must not be surprised that Brazil has been being the largest coffee producer in the world for the last 150 years. Ironically, coffee was not native to this land.  The first seed planted in Brazil owing to a secret coffee mission, which, becomes the all-time legend in Brazil coffee history. Let’s look into this 300-year-ago espionage case together.  

Brazilian Secret Coffee Mission 

Back then to 1727, when Portuguese were hoping to bring coffee growing to Brazil but it was still in French hands. French refused to export. Palheta, a roguish good looking Lieutenant Colonel in Brazilian Army, was commissioned to a secret mission – to steal a coffee plant from the French at the time when Brazil was asked to intercede in a border dispute in nearby French Guiana. He went to the country’s capitol, Cayenne, helped to resolve a land dispute between the adjoining French and Dutch colonies. Palheta tried to pilfer a coffee plant but failed due to the constant supervision. To accomplish his mission, Palheta seduced Marie-Claude de Vicq de Pontgibaud, the wife of a French governor by his good looks and soft touch. He managed to quell the land dispute by then. At a state dinner given on the eve of Palheta’s departure back to Brazil, Marie presented him with the beautiful bouquet of flowers contained cuttings from coffee plant. Palheta successfully completed his mission and smuggle the seeds into Brazil. He then began to cultivate coffee first in the state of Para in 1727. Coffee spread throughout the whole country, giving rise to an industry that continue to dominate world coffee production nowadays.  

The rise of Black Gold in Brazil 

Although coffee was not native to Brazil, the high mineral content volcanic fertile soil provide one of the best environment for coffee to nurture. Coffee, as a global commodity, Brazil is always the largest exporter of this Black Gold, supplying 80% of the world’s coffee by 1920s. This industry is one of the main economic income of Brazil. However, this black gold business was not as smooth as it seemed. In 1970s, due to the climate changed, frost devastated Brazilian coffee crop. Frost hugely affect the coffee production and of course the income of farmers. Brazilian struggled but never give up. In 1972, The Agricultural Research Institute of Paraná ( IAPAR ) established, aiming to provide innovative solutions for making quality and sustainable crops planting in the Paraná State. Coffee, certainly is one of their main study topics. I am lucky to have visited IAPAR and attended a few coffee agricultural lessons from them. Other then doing scientific research on how to efficiently grow coffee, they also create new F1 hybrids. The new breeds are of high and stable yields, resistance to diseases like rust, good cup quality and climate resilience.  

Brazilian’s New Secret Coffee Mission 

I was lucky to be the first batch of people trying the new breed which grown in a small farm. The coffee is very beautiful. Unlike the traditional Brazil coffee cup profile ( heavy and strong nuts flavour ) , it is very sweet, candied and fruity. I love the coffee so much that I asked for the sample right away. A revolution has raised, Brazilian is ready to impress the world with their coffee quality. 300 years ago, Brazilian completed the secret coffee mission, bringing the first seed to their land. Still the largest coffee producer in the world, Brazilian has this new secret coffee mission – to spread their impressive coffee to the world and keep pushing the quality. Brazil coffee is ready to impress the world.   Next time if you bump into a beautiful, sweet and delightful Brazilian coffee, don’t be surprised. If you are new to coffee, make sure you read 4 Reasons Why You Should Love Specialty Coffee to understand more about our industry ! P.S. This article is to dedicate to all the Brazilian coffee farmers for their efforts and sweat. Special thanks to : Sponsorship : The Coffee Academics  Brazilian Host : Capricornio Coffees 

Vanessa Lee

Founder of Forbidden Project since 2016. A Law & Bus degree graduate who chose to go into the coffee world. Passionate, stubborn and rebellious to traditional concepts. Recently working as a barista trainer. Active competitor in various coffee events.

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