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When Brazil Dumped its Coffee Into the Sea

In 1932, the Brazilian Coffee Stabilization Council purchased 14 million bags of coffee from Brazilian farmers, with the sole purpose of destroying it.

This shocking report is just one of many unearthed by Rutgers University history professor Phillip Scranton, who in a recent story for Bloomberg outlined the critical importance the Brazilian coffee industry played in the country’s Constitutionalist Revolution, which began in 1932 and forever shaped the economy.

Writes Scranton:

By June 1932, half the oversupply had been destroyed, with thousands of bags dumped at sea. Later reports described beans compressed into fuel bricks for locomotive fireboxes. Coffee prices rallied for a few months, but the maneuver proved hugely expensive.

The timing of the Bloomberg story is especially interesting, as the country’s coffee industry is currently at a bit of an impasse, as coffee sellers there are holding out from buyers hoping to get reduced prices amid a potentially record-high harvest and a worldwide supply glut.

Read the full story: Bloomberg


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