Brazilian Frost 2021

Those in the coffee industry will know of the recent devastating freak frost in Brazil that has wiped out coffee crops from some of the largest coffee producing regions in Brazil.

At Redber, we are proud to sell some stunning Brazilian coffees, and over the recent weeks have had conversations with some of our farmers in Brazil to try and understand how this affects their farms, our supply and prices.
We wanted to share this with you, as while the media have reported a small amount of what’s happened, the affects of this frost will cause global prices to increase and shortages of quality Brazilian coffee.

On 1 July, a light frost was reported in some Brazilian coffee-producing areas – a normal occurrence from June to August in the southern parts of the country.

In the early hours of 20th July, an unforeseen, hard frost hit the same regions again. Average temperatures in Minas Gerais, a major coffee producing region in Brazil, fell as low as -1.2°C causing disastrous, and destructive damage to the coffee plant crops.

This intense anomaly swept the country, settling in the regions and states that produce the substantial volumes of coffee. The most heavily impacted regions were the states of São Paulo and Minas Gerais – the two largest coffee-producing states in Brazil.



According to reports by the Brazilian government’s agriculture department, “70% of all Brazilian coffee has already been harvested for the 2021/22 crop year. However, reports of estimated production losses are continuously rising. Around the world, market analysts and coffee traders are suggesting this could be the worst frost since 1994 and stating that there may be repercussions for the global coffee market for as long as four years.”

Graham Jones is our founder here at Redber Coffee in Guildford, UK.  “Frost has been happening for hundreds of years,” he says. “The last significant frost in Brazil at this magnitude was in 1994, previous of that was in the 1970s. Some level of frost occurs every year in Brazil in these regions, it’s part of the climate, but it’s normally in low-lying areas in valleys or places where growing coffee is harder to achieve. This kind of “freak” frost seems to happen every 15 to 30 years.”

Frost forms when an outside surface cools past the dew point. The dew point is the point where the air gets so cold, the water vapor in the atmosphere turns into liquid. Frost usually forms at night when the air temperature is cooler.

Two types of frost can occur: white frosts and black frosts. White frosts cause visible ice crystals to appear on leaves and plants but may not cause permanent damage. 

However, black frosts occur when temperatures drop below 0°C with little humidity. Instead of causing moisture or water to freeze, plant leaves turn brown or black because of “frost burn”, causing irreversible damage.

“For adolescent coffee plants that are not yet producing cherries, the frost will kill the entire plant,” Graham says. “We are speaking to our famers in Brazil regularly, and at present, “reasonable” estimates claim that anywhere from 2.5 to 5.5 million bags have been lost. Some of our farmers have never seen a frost like this, have lost up to 80% of their coffee crop and most have reported damage without the presence of ice.

We are looking at estimates for next year, with most farmers saying that the harvest for 2022 will only be 50%. The farmers are filled with anguish and despair because there isn’t a solution to the situation. Severely affected farms are having to start again by digging out their coffee trees. Farmers are looking to install irrigation system overnight to protect the plants from further frost.  





Brazil is the world’s largest coffee producer. Therefore, Graham says that Brazilian coffee production significantly affects prices for the global market. 

“The market trades Brazil’s supply and demand more than any other country, because it’s such a significant producer of coffee,” he says.

Any impact on these coffee harvests has huge implications on the rest of the global coffee market. In 1994, a similar frost caused coffee prices to reach a record high £5.12/kg. 

We’ve been watching the UK coffee prices closely and with great interest.  After severe frosts through the last few weeks in Brazil, the coffee price closed on Monday, 26 July 2021 above UK £2/Kg – the highest figure since October 2014.

“The frost is causing arabica prices to increase tenfold across the world, because this is an off-year,” Graham says. “Many people don’t know that earlier this year (2021) there was a drought in Brazil, in these same areas, meaning there has been a drop in production this year already”

Following the frosts, some reports are claiming prices may even rise to £5/kg once the full extent of the damage is assessed.

But this isn’t the only reason that prices have increased in the last year and a half. Over the last 18 months, shipping container shortages, theCovid-19 pandemic, and protest blockades in Colombia have also contributed to rising coffee prices.

There has even been speculation that because of a lack of available technical assistance through 2020, crop yields have been predicted to fall globally, which would likely cause price increases too. 

There are already reports that farmers around the world are sacrificing quality and selling their crop “early” to capitalise on the high market price. In Colombia, some producers are selling coffee at 15% moisture; others are simply pulping the coffee and delivering it “wet” for the same price they would have received last year.


With more frost expected towards the end of this week, the extent of the damage remains to be seen. In areas such as Apucarana and Pinhalão, in Paraná, the chances of the same kind of frost occurring remains high – 100% likely, according to some sources.

Graham says: “If the frost is really severe, it will have implications for many years. If it’s less severe, it will still only affect at least the 2022/23 season. Roasters and retailers are already suffering because of Covid-19, so price increases due to frost damage may be a chance to increase prices and offset lost revenue. We may see some Brazilian co-operatives go under, and for roasters, prices will go up. “

We have already seen reports of major coffee brands such as Tchibo and UCC Coffee already increasing prices of their coffee, as future prices have increased by 30% since the start of August.  As the extent of the frost damage continues to be assessed, smaller-scale roasters and retailers may be forced to also raise their prices.

Conclusively, history has taught us that frosts in Brazil have had a significant impact on the global coffee market. For example, in 1975, a notorious black frost in Brazil caused global prices to rise by 100% in less than a year. With more frost expected this weekend, it’s still too early to discuss what precisely this means for the global coffee market. One thing is for sure, however – the full, detailed extent of this severe and unpredictable frost remains to be seen. 

Comments 0

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

All Blogs

The Art of Slow Coffee

By Petra Jones on Apr 07, 2024

Slow coffee is more than just a method; it's an experience that emphasises manual brewing techniques, allowing you total control over the brewing variables. Slow coffee...

Read more
Crafting the Perfect Italian Espresso: A Journey Through Beans, Roasts, and Rituals

By Andrea Agostini on Apr 05, 2024

Ah, espresso. It has a deep, inviting smell and a creamy top that promises rich flavours. It wakes you up with a strong boost of energy. But espresso is more than ...

Read more
How Filter Paper Influences Your Coffee Extraction

By Petra Jones on Mar 20, 2024

When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of coffee, every detail matters. From the grind size to the water temperature, each element plays a crucial role in the final flavour of your coffee. One often-overlooked component is the filter paper used in your coffee maker. But how exactly does filter paper influence your coffee extraction?

Read more
Ocean Bottle: Leading the Charge in the Battle Against Plastic Pollution

By Petra Jones on Mar 06, 2024

In today's environmentally conscious society, Ocean Bottle stands as a shining example of innovation and hope. Launched in 2018, this visionary social impact company has set its sights on a monumental missio...

Read more
What is Filter Grind for Coffee?

By Graham Jones on Feb 29, 2024

Filter grind refers to the consistency of coffee grounds optimized for use in filter brewing methods. This encompasses a broad spectrum of devices from the classic drip coffee maker to pour-overs and the Aeropress. The grind size for these methods is typically medium, resembling coarse sand. This size ensures that hot water can properly extract the coffee's flavours and aromas without passing through too quickly, as it might with a finer grind, or too slowly, as with a coarser grind.

Read more
How to Fine-Tune Your Coffee Grind with Baratza ESP

By Petra Jones on Feb 20, 2024

As avid coffee lovers, we can all agree that the secret to a perfect cup of coffee is largely in the grind. With the right grind size, coffee flavours and aromas are accurately extracted, resulting in a delicious cup of coffee. For many of us, there is an ultimate grinder that perfectly accomplishes this task - the Baratza ESP coffee grinder. 

Read more
The Ultimate Guide to the Best Coffee Beans in the UK: 2024 Edition

By Andrea Agostini on Feb 14, 2024

Embark on a gourmet journey with our comprehensive 2024 guide to the UK's most exceptional coffee beans. This essential read takes you through the nuanced art of selecting beans that resonate with both the palate and the principles of sustainability. From the aromatic heights of Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to the robust depths of Brazilian Santos, we cover the beans that define the coffee landscape. We also spotlight the craftsmanship of leading local roasters like Redber Coffee, whose dedication to quality ensures your espresso is a luxurious ritual of taste and aroma.

Read more
The Best Valentine Gifts for Coffee Lover

By Petra Jones on Feb 06, 2024

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and if your loved one is a coffee enthusiast, you're in luck! We've curated a list of the best Valentine gifts for coffee lovers that are sure to make their heart s...

Read more
Exploring Baratza Grinders: Which One is Right for You?

By Graham Jones on Jan 28, 2024

Choosing the right coffee grinder can significantly impact the quality of your coffee. With so many options on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. Baratza, a company dedic...

Read more
Tips for Making a Better Cafetiere Coffee at Home

By Petra Jones on Jan 14, 2024

Making a great cup of coffee with a cafetiere can be tricky especially if you are new to the world of coffee. But don't worry, with a few tips and tricks, you can make a delicious cup of coffee every time.

Read more
Top 5 Coffees to Try If you Love Cappuccinos & Lattes

By Petra Jones on Jan 02, 2024

When selecting the best coffee beans for cappuccinos and lattes, it's essential to choose beans that are medium-bodied and have a balanced flavour profile. Some of the our most popular coffee beans for cappu...

Read more
Coffee Of The Month January 2024 - Kenya Bora

By Petra Jones on Jan 01, 2024

Grown at high altitudes, between 1500-1700 meters above sea level, the coffee beans benefit from the perfect combination of rich volcanic soil, ideal climate, and skilled farmers. The coffee is made of varie...

Read more
Introducing Yes! Definitely Bottled Water with Breath-taking Illustrations from Independent Artists

By Petra Jones on Dec 05, 2023

Yes! Definitely, the bottled water brand that is making a difference in South Africa, is now making its big debut in the UK. And it's not just any ordinary bottled water - each bottle is a work of art, showc...

Read more
Best Tea Gifts for Tea Lovers

By Petra Jones on Nov 16, 2023

If you have a tea lover in your life and you're looking for the perfect gift, look no further. We've curated a list of the best tea gifts that are sure to delight any tea enthusiast.

Read more
35 Best Gifts for Coffee Lovers

By Petra Jones on Nov 05, 2023

If you know someone who can't start their day without a cup of coffee, you can surprise them with the perfect gift. Whether they prefer iced coffee, espresso, or a filter coffee, there are plenty of ways to show your appreciation for their caffeine addiction. From flavorful grounds and beans to coffee subscription and gift sets, and coffee accessories like mugs, grinders, and coffee storage canisters, we've rounded up the best gifts for coffee lovers to make their morning cup even more enjoyable.

Read more