The state of Rio de Janeiro was a historically important center for coffee production. Its first plantations were established at the end of the eighteenth century in the Tijuca forest, not far from Rio de Janeiro city. Coffee-growing was initially a huge success in the state, and by 1860 Rio produced more than 70% of Brazil’s coffee, helping to propel the country to its dominant position in global coffee production.
Despite its economic importance, Rio had a reputation for producing poor-quality coffee. Improper harvesting and drying lead to the distinctive iodine-tasting defect known as Rioy. Meanwhile, the clearing of the indigenous forests caused the soils in the region to erode and soil nutrients to wash away. As a result, by the end of the nineteenth century, coffee production in Rio was in decline (Pendergrast 2010). Coffee-growing spread into the neighbouring states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais, which rapidly became the most important coffee-producing regions in the country.
Today, Rio is no longer considered an important coffee producer. In 2006, the state produced just over 260,000 bags of coffee, out of the country’s total of nearly 43 million (Cecafé 2007). However, some microregions in the northern part of the state continue to specialise in coffee production (Volsi et al 2019).
- Planalto Central
- Caparaó (DO)
- Mato Grosso