Coffee producing countries typically have hundreds of farmers dedicated to the task
Coffee is the second-most consumed beverage in the world after water. More than a billion people (who like drinking coffee) have an Ethiopian goat herder to thank who discovered the cherry pits (Coffee beans) in 1500 A.D. The two types of coffee, Arabica and Robusta, are both popular across the globe. In 2021, around fifty countries export coffee while there are around 70 coffee-producing countries. These coffee exporting countries supply a booming worldwide coffee roasting industry which shows no signs of slowing.
Coffee is the world's second most traded commodity (second only to oil), and coffee grows best in the tropical regions in the belt running between the tropics of Capricorn and cancer. The crop needs an altitude higher than 1300 meters above sea level to thrive. It needs a lot of water and prefers low temperatures between 64° to 70° F or 18° to 21° C. The crop also requires rich soil and few diseases and pests. South America, Asia, and Africa are the biggest coffee-producing continents. Let us look at the top coffee-growing regions in the world.
Coffee is Ethiopia's most prized commodity as it plays a major part in enhancing and sustaining their lifestyle. The country's biggest source of foreign income is coffee export. The smallholder farmers grow coffee in small plots of land as their primary cash crop. A micro-region in Sidama, Yirgacheffe, is a mountainous region with a lush climate that is one of the most high-quality coffee-producing regions in the country.
The country produces 471,247 metric tons of coffee but keeps the best of it for its local population as the country has a culture for coffee consumption. The exports of coffee amount to 10% of Ethiopia's total GDP as it produces more than a thousand types of coffee beans, each with its own distinctive features and taste.
With an ideal climate and terrain, Colombia is one of the few countries that produce 100% Arabica coffee beans which are lower in caffeine than Robusta but are tastier and more widely popular. The mild, fruity, nutty aromatic, citrus-acidic, and subtly sweet Colombian coffee is popular across the globe.
The municipality of Inza has an organization of indigenous communities called Juan Tama that encompasses 600 families and supports them with microloans and assistance and re-invests the earnings from exports to the prosperity of the workers. Cafe de Colombia is also a non-profit organization in the country that works for the same cause. Colombia produces 754,376 metric tons of coffee.
With a production of 1,542,398 metric tons of coffee, Vietnam is the biggest coffee-producing country in Asia. French colonists introduced coffee to the Buon Ma Thuot region of the country in the 1800s. In 1986, the government of the country introduced reforms that allowed private enterprises to produce and export coffee that brought about a huge surge.
40% of the global Robusta production takes place in Vietnam. This coffee has low acidity and strong bitterness, and we usually consume it as instant coffee. It is the second biggest coffee-producing country in the world.
The country made up of thousands of islands, Indonesia, is another Asian country that produces high amounts of coffee. Coffee cultivation was introduced by the Dutch colonization in the 1600s in the Java region of the country. Though the variety of coffee grown in Indonesia is rich and diverse, its Java coffee is popular globally for its sweet, full-body, and rich acidity, and mature earthen and woody flavors.
Sulawesi and Sumatra are the other two most popular Indonesian coffee-growing regions. The country produces 668,677 metric tons of coffee, ranking number four in the world.
With climate conditions close similar to Guatemala and Costa Rica, Honduras produces 475,042 metric tons of coffee. The country has had poor infrastructure and management, resulting in the overlooking of the quality of the commodity it produces. Until recently, most of its coffee production was sold locally, with only 10% exported worldwide. But things have begun to change for the better, and the country's coffee is gaining in global popularity.
The coffee is grown at altitudes ranging from 1400 and 1700 meters on small mountains with their own distinct climate conditions. Vanilla, red fruit, and hazelnut are some popular flavors ascribed to the coffee that the region exports.
The central, North, and South regions of Peru collectively have ten coffee-growing regions. The crop has been cultivated and produced in the country since the 1700s, but the poor economy and political unrest in the country did not allow farmers to hit the global markets up until recently.
The tropical conditions in the lowlands of the country allow it to offer a taste that is distinct from most of the coffees produced around the world. It has a floral taste which is gathering more popularity every day. The country produces 346,466 metric tons of coffee annually.
Brazil leads all the other coffee-producing countries in the world
With 2,680,515 metric tons of coffee production, Brazil is the biggest producer and exporter of coffee. This achievement is by no means newly found for the country as it has been ahead of all the other coffee-growing regions in the world for more than 150 years. The even temperatures of the country, teamed with the perfect amounts of rainfall and sunlight, allow the country to beat all coffee-producing countries.
The country produces both Arabica and Robusta varieties in high quantities. The Brazilian coffee has low acidity and a creamy body, with the flavors of rich chocolate and bittersweet caramel. Brazil is not just about quantity when it comes to coffee production but quality as well.
We just have to go to a supermarket to get our coffee or order it online--from Two Bit Rush Coffee Roasters, of course, but the journey it takes to get to us is fascinating. The process of coffee production is a complex one, and cultivating the coffee beans requires a lot of farmers who extract the beans after harvesting the cherries and before drying them under the sun for up to 30 days. The drying process requires constant turning and rotating of the wooden beds that the coffee beans are placed on.
We have discussed the biggest exporters of coffee; want to know which country imports it the most? The largest coffee-consuming country in the world is Finland, with an average Finn drinking 12 kg (26.5 pounds!) of coffee every year, and it is more than the United States, where every day, 4 million cups of the beverage are consumed.