Coffee information from The Coffee Brew.

Come for a Trip Around the World of Coffee Bean Producers.

Ethiopia is where it all began – coffee growing that is. It’s hard to believe but their main coffee production is still from wild coffee tree forests just like it was when first discovered all those years ago. Since then coffee bean production and consumption has spread throughout the world resulting in it now being a huge international market – second only to oil in dollar value terms.

 

Climate dictates where coffee plants can be grown – it needs plenty of sunshine and rain, therefore the plants from which beans are produced grow only in tropical or sub-tropical agricultural regions.

Coffee plantations can be found in over seventy countries around the world. From a narrow band centred on the equator of around 23 degrees north to 25 degrees south comes all of the world's production of beans that produce the beverage of which a Turkish proverb describes as 'black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love'.

Coffee bean production in Brazil is big business – this country is by far the largest producer of beans with an average output of 28% of the total international annual crop. World-renowned Colombia is second largest at 16%. Other major producers are Indonesia at 7% and Mexico with 4%.

Coffee trees produce the best quality beans in high altitudes but the plant has also adapted well to a wide variety of areas.

For example, in Brazil, the plantations cover huge areas of agricultural land and employ hundreds of workers to tend the plants. Colombia has a very rugged terrain where the coffee trees are grown in the mountains. Coupled with poor economic conditions it means transportation to processing centres is still largely carried out by mules.

Hawaiian coffee producers plant on the slopes of the Mauna Loa volcano which is about 20 degrees north of the equator. The black volcanic ash is rocky, but perfect for the plants where the strong afternoon sun is softened by tropical clouds and frequent showers of rain - absolutely ideal for producing the famed Hawaiian Kona.

A string of thousands of islands forms what we know as Indonesia. With its warm, damp micro-climates it is ideal for coffee which has been grown here since the Dutch colonists introduced it in the 17th century. Hundreds of small growers on one to two acre farms on the largest islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi combine to secure the country's third place in world production.

Mexico, another serious producer, also has mostly small farms with over 100,000 of them. Most are located to the south, in Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas with the special Altura beans – the name indicates their origin in the high country.

In recent years Vietnam has had rapid growth in coffee bean production and is now challenging Indonesia's position on the world ladder. Vietnam was first planted with arabica trees in the mid-19th century by French missionaries but these small plantations now produce mainly the robusta variety.

Africa, Kenya and the Ivory Coast, although smaller producers are world-famous for the dark, high quality and large beans they grow. In the foothills of Mount Kenya some of the best beans in the world are grown. The coffee is cultivated on small farms and is sold by the size of the bean, with AA being the largest beans.

Estate Kenya, their best bean, can cost twice as much as regular AA's. Yes, it is expensive but well worth the price. It has huge body, astonishing winy acidity and blackcurrant flavor and aroma. You would have to say it ranks as one of the best in the world.

Robusta, which is most often used for espresso blends, is the main coffee crop grown in the Ivory Coast and this country holds a position as one of the world's largest producers of the robusta variety.

This has been a brief overview of the major producers for coffee varieties around the world. Many other countries are now venturing into this lucrative market.

Australia for instance began growing coffee in 1880 but it only survived until 1926. But it was re-established again in the 1980’s. Mareeba in north Queensland claims to be the coffee capital of Australia and the Arabica beans have adapted perfectly to the climate there being of similar latitude south of the equator as San Paulo in Brazil and Hawaii are north of the equator. A number of smaller farms have also sprung up in northern New South Wales around Lismore and Byron Bay.

As our taste for this beautiful little bean continues to grow so you will find an increasing number of new varieties around the world – just keep your eyes peeled.


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The Coffee Brew - Coffee information.