Espresso King undercut as Brazil currency rout spurs bean export

Isis Almeida and Whitney McFerron – Bloomberg, 10/14/2015

Your morning espresso may soon be a little more Brazilian.

U.S. processors of robusta beans used in instant coffee and espresso are buying from Brazil at an accelerated pace as they cut back on purchases from Vietnam, which grows almost half the world’s supply. In Europe, imports of the beans also have surged. That’s because farmers in the South American country, aided by a plunge in the value of their currency, are undercutting sales by the world’s largest producer even as the price of the commodity drops.

While Brazil has long been the biggest producer of all coffee varieties, it mostly grows the higher-end arabica beans favored by Starbucks Corp. Vietnam dominates the market for the more bitter-tasting robusta variety. When political and economic woes sent the Brazilian real down 36 percent in the past year, the most among 24 emerging market currencies tracked by Bloomberg, that helped reduce production costs for growers and turbo-charged shipments.

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