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What variety is it and where do all these exotic tasting beans grow? Let's take
a quick tour.The African country of Ethiopia is where Coffee growing first
originated. Today it is hard to imagine that the country's main coffee
plantations still consist of mainly wild coffee tree forests just like it was
when it was first discovered centuries ago. From these humble beginnings coffee
bean production and consumption has spread like wild fire throughout the world.
In the twenty-first century coffee has grown to become the second largest
international market globally, second only to oil in dollar value terms. Coffee
is grown in over 70 countries around the world which are specifically located in
tropical and sub-tropical agricultural regions. Climate dictates where it can
be grown for the simply reason the plants need plenty of sunshine and rain.
From a narrow band centred on the equator of around 23 degrees north to 25
degrees south comes all of the world's production of beans that produce the
beverage of which a Turkish proverb describes as 'black as hell, strong as
death, sweet as love'. Brazil is by far the largest producer of coffee beans in
the world with an average output of 28% of the total annual international yield.
The second largest producer is the world renowned Columbia which produces 16%.
Other major producers are Indonesia producing 7% and Mexico with 4%.Throughout
the history of its cultivation, coffee trees have been grown at high altitudes
because they produce the best quality beans. However the plant has also adapted
well to a wide variety of areas including Brazil where the plantations cover
huge areas of agricultural land and employ hundreds of workers. In Colombia the
coffee trees are grown in very rugged terrain in the high mountains where it is
carried out by pack mules.In Hawaii coffee is mostly planted on the slopes of
the Mauna Loa volcano which is situated about 20 degrees north of the equator.
As you would imagine the black volcanic ash is extremely fertile and perfect for
growing the famed Kona coffee plants. The strong afternoon sun is softened by
tropical clouds and frequent showers of rain.Since the Dutch colonists
introduced coffee to Indonesia in the 17th century, this collection of islands
has slowly increased it's production and exports to become the third largest
producer in the world. A multitude of small one to two acre farms make up the
bulk of producers thriving on the warm, tropical micro-climates, which is ideal
for growing quality coffee.Mexico also produces and exports a significant amount
of coffee beans that are grown by a multitude of small farmers. Most
plantations are located to the south of the country in Veracruz, Oaxaca and
Chiapas. In the mid-19th century the French missionaries established small
plantations of the robusta coffee plants in Vietnam. From these small
beginnings the industry has grown to massive proportions where today the size of
the country's coffee production now rivals Indonesia. This is only a brief
overview of the major producers for coffee varieties around the world with many
other countries now venturing into this profitable export commodity. Enjoy!