Where in the world is coffee grown?

Image: Cafe London Blog

Most of us have a vague understanding of where coffee grows – Africa, South America etc. But when we get to the nitty-gritty of why coffee thrives in this region, well, then we’re getting into super-interesting territory! Let’s get to it…

Coffee Belt

Sounds like a type of punishment but the coffee belt is a section of the world that has the best conditions for coffee plants. They simply love living in the middle of the globe, either side of the equator. Countries like Ethiopia, Indonesia, Brazil and Papua New Guinea (and others) all have the right temperature and perfect amount of rainfall to keep coffee plants smiling. This usually means an average temperature of 20°C, rich fertile soil and moderate amount of rain.

In subtropical areas, such as Brazil and Zimbabwe, the rainy seasons and dry seasons are quite different and coffee plants are grown at high altitudes. Equatorial regions experience more rainfall resulting in continuous flowering. In these areas, there’s not as much difference between the seasons. It’s more like the highest rainfall vs the lowest rainfall that defines the coffee plant’s life cycle.

Coffee world’s biggest producers

The coffee belt is the sweet spot for coffee production but which countries actually sell the most beans? Here’s a list of the top 10 producers from a 2014 report.

  1. Brazil – in 2014 this amazing country produced 2,720,520,000 kg of beans & it has comfortably held the number one position for 100 years!
  2. Vietnam – a bit of a surprise, Vietnam sold 1,650,000,000 kg of coffee in 2014
  3. Colombia – this famous coffee-growing nations sold 750,000,000 kg in the same year
  4. Indonesia – one of our nearest neighbours, this tiny nation produced 540,000,000 kg in 2014
  5. Ethiopia – the birthplace of coffee, in 2014, this country sold 397,500,000 kg of beans
  6. India – another surprise inclusion, India produced 344,760,000 kg of coffee in 2014
  7. Honduras – down from the previous year, in 2014 Honduras produced 279,000,000 kg of beans
  8. Mexico – growing predominantly high end Arabica beans, Mexico sold 240,000,000 kg of this beautiful coffee in 2014
  9. Uganda – a central part of this nation’s economy, in 2014 Uganda sold 240,000,000 kg of beans
  10. Guatemala – last but not least, this country is pretty consistent with its numbers, selling 210,000 kg of beans in 2014.

Notice where all these countries lie? That’s right, in the coffee belt.

Organic coffee

So how much of the world’s coffee is actually organic? I have numbers for you…

  • 7.7% of all coffee grown is organic (around 763,000 hectares)
  • 50% of organic coffee is grown in Latin America
  • 30% of organic coffee is grown in Africa
  • Mexico has the largest area of organic coffee crops
  • Nepal has the highest percentage of organic coffee (46%) compared to its competitors
  • Since 2004, four times the amount of organic coffee is now being grown.

Now you’re armed with facts and figures, try some of our awesome organic Single Origin coffees, direct from the coffee belt!

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