As you prepare your morning coffee every morning in your kitchen, how much time have you spent thinking of where that coffee bean came from? Coffee has a rich and colorful past, and is now grown all around the world. Although it was first grown in what is known today as Ethiopia, coffee production soon began to be grown in many other parts of the world, on almost every continent. In fact, coffee is now grown in over 70 countries.
To grow great tasting coffee, you need a region with a combination of long periods of sunshine and times with heavy rain. Because of this, most coffee beans will only grow in tropical parts of the world, the most notable of which is South America. South American coffee growers, in countries such as Brazil and Columbia, now boast the largest coffee growing areas and with more than 400 billion cups of coffee consumed every year around the world, the coffee growing business is quite lucrative.
Most people, when they think of coffee growers, immediately remember Juan Valdez, the fictional coffee grower from Columbia. Yet, Brazil is the winner in the coffee growing business, with a market share of 28% of the total coffee harvest. Almost 6 million people in Brazil are involved cultivating and harvesting coffee beans. Amazing! Other countries, such as Columbia, Indonesia and Mexico make up the remaining top coffee producing countries. In the United States, Hawaii leads the way, with its Kona coffee becoming a popular choice among java drinkers.
The terrain is just as important as the climate when growing coffee. Areas with high altitudes are popular, as the sun will beat down during the day, and tropical rainstorms will keep the crop moist at night. Each of the highest coffee-producing countries has uniqueness that, somehow, works to create a taste that differentiates it from competing Brazil has sprawling plantations. Columbia and its mountainous landscape serves as the perfect backdrop for coffee. Indonesia, located in a tropical island paradise, has grown coffee since the 1800’s. Mexican coffee growers plant on small farms, but there are lots of them! Interestingly, Hawaii’s natural volcanic soil provides terrific growing conditions.
Many people think of Africa as an area of high coffee production, and this part of the world, especially Kenya and the Ivory Coast, is heavy producers, but do not compare – in market share or dollars – to the South American regions.
Many people enjoy expresso, which is a relatively new way to make coffee. The French and Italians have made this type of coffee their specialty, and expresso machines and makers are now a big business in the United States and in other parts of the world.
Coffee has become an extraordinarily lucrative business, and coffee connoisseurs the world over have their individual favorite regions and tastes. But no matter where coffee is grown – there is a market for it!