Roasting Brazils

roast controls on a Probat manufactured Impanema Brazilian roaster


The classic natural and pulped-natural Brazil profile is Full City to Full City+, tending to be layered with cocoa, tobacco, leather, nutty and rustic sweetness, and have a particular fattiness in the mouthfeel. Because of these characteristics Brazils are frequently components in espresso blends, but also make for excellent drip and press pot coffee brews for folks looking for something with a little more presence and fairly low acidity.

Currently, Brazil coffees are out of vogue because of their low acidity, which has recently become the most important and sometimes only important thing in a coffee for a lot of roasters. Through the forced demucilage process though, you can produce near fully washed, sometimes called semi-washed or mechanically washed, coffee profiles with brighter acids. There's also a trend towards hyper-sorted and cleaned dry-processed coffees in Brazil winning the late harvest COE competition. These coffees are somewhat similar to the overtly fruited dry-processed Ethiopian coffees with some teetering on the edge of becoming yogurty, but completely devoid of the layered cocoa sweetness.

sorting coffee cherry at Monte Alegre in Minas Gerais

The Natural and Pulped Natural coffees from Brazil can be some of the trickiest coffees to roast. Thorough mechanical sorting means that they don’t have as much of a mix of bean densities as dry processed Ethiopian coffees, but are fairly consistently soft coffees compared to the same varieties grown at higher elevations throughout Central America. Even though modern sorting technology is impressive, and there is a little more consistency density-wise, defects are not uncommon in these coffees due to the harvesting methods.