Millions of people from around the world enjoy a great tasting cup of coffee every morning or at any time of the day. This is the reason coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world with over nine billion kilograms being produced annually.
Are you a coffee lover too? Ever wonder where your favorite drink comes from?
There are three main coffee growing and exporting areas in the equatorial region which includes Central & South America, Africa & the Middle East, and Southeast Asia. They are tagged by National Geographic as the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn or the “Bean Belt”. Almost all commercial coffee is grown and produced from these regions.
Tropical countries are supreme areas to grow coffee because they have rich soils, high temperature, and moist air. Coffee beans grow at high altitudes and that is exactly what tropic countries can offer. Geography undeniably plays a vital role in coffee farming.
We have put together a list of the top regions and countries that produce coffee. When you know where it comes from, you can better appreciate your coffee the next time you fill your cup.
The topmost and the largest coffee producer is Brazil that produces over 3,600,000 metric tons of coffee which is basically a third of the entire globe’s coffee.
They plant nearly 6 million acres of coffee bushes annually thereby generating a huge number of employment opportunities for its people. 3.5 million people in Brazil work for the coffee industry.
Brazil is basically the coffee pot of the planet. The product is essential for the growth and development of the country. The demand and coffee consumption started to skyrocket in the 19th century. For 150 years, they were the largest exporter in the world and they still are.
They produce coffee particularly in the southeastern part of Brazil in the states of Minas Gerais, São Paulo, Bahia, Mato Grosso, Espiritu Santo, and Parana.
They offer a wide range of variety in their coffee products and are proven consistent when it comes to taste and quality.
The second largest coffee producer is Vietnam from the Southeast Asia region, producing about 1.8 metric tons which accounts for 17% of the entire planet’s coffee. 95% of their production is Robusta and 5% is for the Arabica variety.
The country has been producing and exporting coffee products since the 15th century which stems from French colonization.
The Robusta bean became popular and opened a lot of business opportunities for its people after World War II and the Vietnam war. The coffee production helped them regain their economic security in the late 1980s.
Colombia is producing 11.5 million bags annually which lists them as the third largest coffee producer in the world.
They use the Arabica variety.
The country has a long standing reputation with their production of mild and well-balanced coffee.
Majority of their coffee grows from the country’s rural Paisa region, also called the Coffee Triangle. With their mountainous terrains, tropical location, high rainfall, relatively mild climate, and just the right amount of sunlight.
Colombia is one of the best places to grow coffee. It gave them the advantage because their location is ideal and they use remarkable processing methods. Their products are considered as one of the best in the world by the FCA (Federación Nacional de Cafeteros).
Indonesia produced over 753,000 metric tons of coffee products in 2020.
With that figure, they place fourth as the largest coffee producer in the world. They account for 6% of the world’s coffee.
91% of their production makes Robusta and the remaining 9% makes the Arabica variety.
Their country has three main growing areas including Java, Sumatra, and Sulawesi.
You now already know where the famous Java coffee comes from. Java is renowned for creating gourmet Arabica coffee blends and aged coffees.
Meanwhile in Sulawesi, they are known to use traditional practices when it comes to coffee cultivation. Sumatra also produces high quality coffee with low acidity and complex yet exciting flavors.
From the African region, Ethiopia produces 441,000 metric tons of coffee which accounts for 4% of the world’s coffee. They are known for both their Arabica and Robusta variety.
They started producing and exporting coffee as early as the 17th century but the trade only became significant during the 19th century where the demand started to boost.
Today, their coffee production and export contributes a lot to the country’s economy accounting for 70% of all their export earnings. Almost 15 million Ethiopians are employed by the coffee industry.
Ethiopia’s coffee product regions include Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Harrar, Limu, and Djima. They produce excellent sun dried coffees with a vibrant crisp acidity, refined sweetness, and elegant aftertaste. They use both contemporary and traditional coffee cultivation methods.
Honduras has a long standing history as one of the most prolific coffee producing countries in the world and they rank fifth in terms of production and export across the globe.
They are the third largest in Latin America and they are an important player in the international coffee arena.
Just like other coffee producing regions, they too started way back in the 18th century, but only flourished in the 19th century. From then on, they started to develop and improve their infrastructure to further progress their coffee production and help farmers as well.
Coffee is their top export commodity. With their specialty coffee blends and products, they continue to gain popularity.
The country’s notable coffee growing regions include Agalta, Comayagua, Copan, El Paraiso, Montecillos, and Opalaca.
Another huge coffee producing country from Southeast Asia is India. They account for 3% of the world’s coffee with their 329,100 metric tons worth of coffee products annually.
73% of their production makes up Robusta while the remaining 27% makes up the Arabica variety.
The notable coffee producing regions in India include Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Bababudangiri, Coorg, Manjarabad, Chikmagalur, Travancore, Wayanad, Shevaroy, and Pulney.
The country is also an ideal location to grow coffee with their mountainous peaks, salubrious weather, and rich soils.
Another African country that tops in the coffee industry is Uganda producing over 255,000 metric tons of which accounts for 2.5% of the world’s coffee. 82% of their production is for Robusta and the remaining 18% is for the Arabica variety.
In 2020, their coffee export grew by 972,962 bags which is a 22% increase from their 2019 stats. The most amazing part is that their coffee is grown by many smallholder farmers from the eastern, central, and western parts of the country.
You will notice that all the regions have several common denominators. They are all located in the Tropics, their coffee industry makes up a huge chunk of their economic security, and they all have a long standing coffee farming history that dates back even before the 19th century.
Now that you have already explored the international arena of the coffee industry and where they come from, you can better appreciate your next coffee cup and what to look for when you buy your next blend.