Where Coffee Is Grown

coffee plantationLike any plant, the coffee tree requires specific environmental conditions to thrive. While it can't grow everywhere, we are fortunate in that there are many different regions of the world where it does quite well. It's good to know where coffee is grown because it turns out the unique soil and climate of a given plantation has quite an effect on the beverage that winds up in your cup.

All quality coffee is almost always from one species: arabica. But just as a Cabernet grape produces distinctly different wines when grown in France versus California versus Argentina, coffee varies according to country of origin.

Traditionally, wine lovers often know exactly where their wine comes from down to the individual vineyard and grower. While coffee drinkers are not so specific, they frequently have preferred regions. There are noticeable differences between coffees from different countries, and even more noticeable differences between coffee growing regions of the world.

Coffee Growing Regions of the World

In general, you can think of coffee as growing in three separate global areas plus a few special cases. The three main regions where coffee is grown and distributed to the world are Arabian and African coffee areas (which, as I mentioned in History of Coffee, is the origin of all coffee), the Latin American region and the Indonesian/New Guinea region.

Hawaii and India produce notable coffee as isolated areas of their own.

Characteristics of Coffee from Different Regions

The soil, climate and unique growing conditions in each region greatly affect the flavors that develop in coffee growing there. Naturally, there are differences between countries and even plantations within the same country but we can still make some general statement about each of the main regions.

Arabian and African coffees tend to have a smooth, rich flavor with distinctive acidity. They are often dark roasted which highlights the flavors even more.

Latin American coffees characteristically offer a bright, straightforward clean flavor with mild acidity.

Indonesian coffees tend to be full-bodied and rich.

Coffee Growing Countries

While this list isn't completely comprehensive, it does include most of the countries of origin that you're likely to find in the specialty coffee shop.

Arabian and African Coffee Growing Countries

• Kenyon
• Ethiopia
• Tanzania
• Yemen (often labeled as Mocha, the name of a port in Yemen)

Latin American Coffee Growing Countries

• Mexico
• Columbia
• Costa Rica
• Brazil
• El Salvador
• Peru
• Ecuador
• Guatemala
• Jamaica
• Dominican Republic and Haiti

Indonesian/New Guinea Coffee Growing Countries

• Java
• China Yunnan
• Sumatra
• New Guinea

All of these countries are capable of producing excellent coffee and I think you'll enjoy exploring them.



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