The Coffee Buyer’s Guide to Brazil

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CBGB Notes for Green Buyers

CBGB 7.06 Recap and Glossary


  • Brazil was the first country to establish a grading system for coffee beans. All coffee in Brazil must be graded before it can be commercialised.
  • The Brazilian system categorises coffee beans by size and shape, colour, the number of defects, and the presence or absence of ‘Rio’ or other rough flavours.
  • The Brazilian system is closely linked to the NY grading system used for trading on commodity exchanges, but it is not identical.
  • The classification report includes characteristics that are not part of the coffee’s grade, including humidity and the evenness of colour after roasting.
  • Brazil is the world’s largest producer of instant coffee as well as the largest exporter of green coffee.
  • Brazil is the second-largest consumer of coffee, and a third of Brazil’s coffee stays in the country.
  • Brazilian coffee has a reputation as being particularly suitable for espresso, thanks to its low price and accessible flavours.
  • Many roasters believe Brazilian coffee benefits from roasting at lower temperatures. Some preliminary evidence suggests that roasting darker or at high temperatures may have a bigger effect on the chemical changes that take place during roasting of Brazilian coffee compared with roasting of coffees from other countries.


New Words

Black bean A bean that is completely black in colour, due to attack by Colletotrichum coffeanum or other fungi. Black beans are often the result of cherries rotting before collection or improper fermentation and have a characteristic harsh, rotten flavour.

Caffeoylquinic acid A general term for chlorogenic acids.

Fine cup In the Brazil system of classifying green beans, any coffee with no Rio-type flavours present.

Mycotoxin Toxin produced by fungi. The carcinogen aflatoxin is produced by fungi that colonise food during storage.

Nicotinic acid An essential nutrient found in coffee, also known as niacin or vitamin B3.

Phenolic Relating to phenol, an important aromatic compound. The term ‘phenolic’ can refer to something having the characteristic medicinal or disinfectant-like aroma of phenol,