The USA is the leading consumer of coffee in the world, but watch out. Brazil is fast becoming a heavier consumer and if a Reuters article is correct, may overtake the US in consumption of the brew by 2012. Brazil has been the world’s biggest coffee producer, so why suddenly have Brazilians discovered the taste of one of their most famous products? It’s probably not a coincidence that during this time of new brew awareness, a certain well-known global coffee chain has been setting up shops in Brazil. Let’s not all shout Starbucks at once, but yes, the chain has been messing with Brazilians’ minds, and taste buds. The increased consumption has paralleled an income increase as well, allowing Brazilian budgets more guzzle room for coffee. It’s now to the point that 97% of Brazilians over age fifteen report they drink at least one coffee a day and recently more. It’s not really news that Brazilians are drinking coffee, as they have for years enjoyed it in small amounts, just black with no extras. Suddenly they’ve found out – thanks partially to Starbucks - that adding milk and fixing it in different ways makes it much more scrumptious. What was once a plain mediocre drink has now become a gourmet specialty drink. In the near future, one coffee farmer is anticipating that the discovery by the Brazilian coffee drinker that it tastes pretty good cold is going to drive the consumption up even more. As is the case with most commodities, the best of the crops are exported. Idahoans don’t get the best of their potatoes – everyone else does. It’s the same all over. But in Brazil, the new-found demand for more coffee is keeping more of the good stuff at home for locals, instead of sending all of the best beans abroad. Hopefully, the growth of demand in Brazil won’t cut into the rest of the world’s supply, which is already feeling the pinch between increased global demand and crop shortages.
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