GCR petitions industry leaders on the year ahead: the opportunities, challenges, and trends set to change the game and demand our attention in 2020.
Executive Director, Brazil Specialty Coffee Association
For Brazil, 2019 has been a year of many challenges and many opportunities. Various climatic troubles such as irregular rainfall and frost generally hindered bean quality, although Brazil produced some rare treasures of exceptional coffees. Historically low prices added to producers’ woes in an already difficult year.
In 2020, the Brazil Specialty Coffee Association foresees continuing challenges from the price crisis, which may be exacerbated by a significantly larger 2020 Brazil harvest.
In 2018, Brazil produced approximately 60 million bags, followed by around 49 million last year. We expect a harvest in line with 2018’s for the following crop year.
In addition to being the world’s top coffee producer, Brazil is a major consumer. Brazilians drink more than 20 million bags of coffee per year. The country consumes roughly half of what it produces and exports the other half. This trend will continue. Brazilians are also drinking increasingly better coffee with the growth rate in specialty coffee markedly higher than conventional coffee.
The quality of Brazilian specialty coffee, in particular, continues to improve. Uniform rainfall during the Brazilian spring led to uniform flowerings, thus, we expect cherry ripening to be uniform too. We also believe the upcoming harvest will be significantly less troublesome for producers than 2019.
We see Brazil as the vanguard of exciting advances in the world of coffee. This is largely attributed to cutting-edge research and development, harvest, and post-harvest processing techniques, fermentation processes that result in unique sensory profiles, and a vibrant coffee community who share their experiences.
Abroad, we see China as the most compelling, dynamic market. The country’s large, young, affluent population consumes more coffee every day. The young populations in Eastern Europe and the Middle East also present exciting opportunities for new and increased trade. The mature markets of North America, Western Europe, Oceania, Japan, and South Korea will continue to be important to Brazil’s exports.