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Have you ever sat back to enjoy a wonderfully rich cup of java, inhaled that delicious aroma, and thought, “I wonder where these beans come from?”
I was an avid consumer of coffee for many years and although I enjoyed it multiple times per day, I have never considered where my favorite drink came from. I was happy to drink it and that’s all I needed to know.
A good friend opened my eyes by asking me which coffee beans I enjoy best. When I started discussing this I realized how many varieties of coffee there were and how little I knew about them. From that moment on I made it my goal to discover everything I could about the different coffee growing regions of the world.
The Coffea plant is a mysterious one. It only grows under certain conditions so it’s not a plant you can find anywhere. Not many countries can grow coffee beans, especially the better quality, arabica ones.
Brazil produces 2,680,515 METRIC TONS of coffee each year. It’s a very large country that spans across the coffee growing belt and they take full advantage of this. Brazil produces the most coffee in the world each year and takes up almost 40% of the global coffee market.
Where Can You Grow Coffee
Due to the specific growing requirements of coffee, the climate is only ideal in certain regions around the world. This area lies between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn and is also known as the coffee belt. Alongside the temperature, coffee cultivation also needs appropriate humidity and altitude so the coffee plant can’t be grown just anywhere.
Coffee is grown in South and Central America, Africa, some select regions of the middle east, and Asia.
The Five Top Coffee Producing Countries
Brazil is hands down the biggest producer of coffee worldwide. They were responsible for producing 2,652,000 metric tonnes of beans (that’s 5,714,381,000 pounds) in 2016. Coffee production is mostly in southeastern states such as Sao Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Parana, where the climate is ideal for coffee growth.
As the largest coffee producer, this equates to around 25% of the world’s coffee with 80% of this being arabica beans. Arabica coffee prefers to grow at high altitudes so this limits where coffee farms can be. Most Brazilian coffee plantations are less than 10 hectares in size.
Brazilian coffee is typically processed using the dry method so the coffee cherries are left to dry in the sun. They start by soaking the cherries in a vat of water and removing any ones that float. Then they are left to dry in the sun. The sweet mucilage of the fruit remains in contact with the coffee beans for longer for this method so the resulting coffee is sweet, smooth, and complex in flavor notes.
Brazilian coffee beans used to be used only for blends as they were not considered good enough quality. Now their coffee cultivation has improved a lot and Brazil’s single-origin beans are not uncommon.
After Brazil, Vietnam comes second as the largest contributor to world coffee production. In 2016 Vietnam produced 1,650,000 metric tons of the stuff. Robusta coffee beans comprise 97% of the coffee exports. The Robusta beans are hardier and can grow at lower altitudes so this expands the coffee growing regions.
Colombian coffee is well known for its mild, smooth flavor and well-balanced taste. Colombia is the third-largest producer of coffee with 810,000 metric tons in total. Despite this lower amount, they are the largest producer of arabica beans so are commonplace in specialty coffee. Most coffee is grown in the Colombian coffee growing axis region but other regions such as Antigua exist that focus on quality coffee rather than just quantity.
Indonesia is the second-largest Asian coffee producer and fourth-largest in the world. In 2017, 660,000 tonnes were produced. The West Java province was where the earliest plantations were established by the Dutch East India Country in the 17th century. This is why coffee is also referred to as ‘java’ today.
Indonesia is known for strange specialty coffee like Kopi Luwak. These beans are harvested from the poop of the Asian Palm Civet. This all started when coffee farmers were unable to afford to use the coffee they harvested themselves but they discovered that the beans found in civet feces could be cleaned and brewed into a very rich cup of coffee. The idea is that the civet chooses only the ripest coffee cherries so perform a quality control check.
Ethiopia is the fifth largest producer in the coffee industry and the largest African exporter of coffee beans. The country produces in the region of 384,000 metric tonnes per year. Ethiopian coffee is a long-standing tradition and it’s actually where the Coffea Arabica coffee plant originated. Around 60% of their foreign income comes from the coffee industry with around 15 million people relying on coffee in some form. Ethiopian coffee is high in acidity with lots of lively fruity and floral flavors.
More Coffee Producing Countries
- Honduras – With 384,000 metric tonnes per year, in 2011 Honduras became the top coffee producer in Central America.
- India – Indian coffee is said to be the finest shade-grown coffee in the world with 384,000 metric tonnes of it being grown each year. It’s grown in southern states such as Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala.
- Uganda – Coffee is Uganda’s biggest earner when it comes to exports but a lot of corruption and coffee smuggling means it ends up less profitable than it could be. Uganda produces around 288,000 metric tonnes in a year.
- Mexico – Most of the Mexican coffee production happens in the central and southern regions where mainly arabica coffee is grown. Mexico contributes 234,000 metric tonnes to the world’s coffee supply.
- Guatemala – Coffee is a key player in Guatemala’s economy and has grown there since the 1850s. Every year, Guatemala grows around 204,000 metric tonnes.
- Peru – With 192,000 metric tonnes being produced, Peru also contributes as the fifth largest producer of Arabica beans.
- Nicaragua – Coffee is a very important export for Nicaragua with 132,000 tonnes being grown a year.
- China – China contributes 116,820 tonnes of coffee to the global market with 98% of this coming from the Yunnan province.
- Côte D’Ivoire – Coffee is the second-largest export for the Ivory Coast at 108,000 tonnes per year. It used to be the largest producer in Africa in the 70s and 80s but production has declined since then.
- Costa Rica – With a yearly production of around 89,520, Costa Rica provides under 1% of the world’s coffee but it’s still an important export for this small country.
Numerical data is from WorldAtlas and is relevant for the years 2016-2017, coffee production varies each year and current figures may influence this data.
What are the top 3 coffee-producing countries?
Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia and the top three coffee-producing countries in the world.
What are the top 10 countries that produce coffee?
Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Uganda, Mexico, and Guatemala are the top ten countries that produce the most coffee, listed from highest to lowest.
What is the number 1 coffee in the world?
Brazil is the world’s top producer of coffee with 2,652,000 metric tonnes being produced in 2019.
What are the top coffee-producing regions in the world?
South and Central America, African, and Asian countries fall in the ideal coffee-producing areas.
Brazil is the worlds largest producer of coffee with Vietnam coming in a close second. Even though Colombia is third, they are the larger producer of arabica beans, the best coffee for most brew methods. In the end, the best coffee is the kind you enjoy most so get sampling those beans, you won’t regret it!
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