So many people around the globe name coffee their number one beverage choice. However, it turns out that not that many can tell what coffee looks like before it reaches our kitchen cabinets or local coffee shops. It is truly a shame. For one, the production of coffee is a fascinating subject to learn more about. There are so many plantations in so many world regions. Each region and country have their own centuries-long traditions of growing, making, and drinking coffee. These nuances are important to know if you want to gain more knowledge about coffee.
By knowing how they grow coffee, you are learning so much about your favorite beverage. It is similar to how wine is made. Each region will have its specific coffee beans with unique tastes. Countries may also have their special way of growing or roasting the beans which contribute to the aroma and other specifics of the final product. You can learn what regions produce coffee beans that meet all your expectations. Of course, it is impossible to learn everything about the world coffee plantations in the guide. However, we can start by introducing you to the largest coffee plantations and the ways they grow coffee.
The geography of coffee
Over 50 countries grow coffee plants. The majority of these counties are in North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East. There is even one, though relatively small, a coffee plantation in Europe. In total, South America and East Asia have the largest plantations in the world. Africa comes right after them. Ethiopia and Kenya are among the world’s biggest exporters of pure Arabica. Thus, most Europeans receive their coffee straight from the East African Coast. Some of those coffee beans are even harvesters on wild coffee trees. The Arabica beans from Africa are always rich in flavors with slight earthy notes.
On the other hand, Ghana and Ivory Coast have one of the world’s largest plantations of Robusta coffee beans. The coffee in Africa usually is usually cultivated on small local farms. However, not many African coffee farms can move on with the production of coffee. Often, farmers sell their green coffee beans to larger producers. Some even export raw coffee beans further to Europe. This also explains the high price for coffee inside many African countries since coffee production stops on the point of harvesting.
Brazil and Colombia have been among the largest coffee producers for over a century now. Brazil doesn’t only have the largest coffee plantation in the world, which makes it the biggest coffee producer. The country is also responsible for the third of all coffee beans worldwide. The large territory of Brazil allows growing both Robusta and Arabica, which require different climate conditions. Coffee production in Brazil requires hundreds of thousands of men and thousands of farms. It also takes extensive areas of land. Six major Brazilian states grow coffee on large plantations. Colombia, on the other hand, has small farmers to grow and harvest coffee beans. The country is often praised for the high quality of its coffee beans for moka pot. The combination of a perfect climate and the centuries-long knowledge of the local farmers create a well-balanced, aromatic, and a bit of acidic final product.
In Asia, Vietnam and Indonesia became the largest exporters of coffee. In fact, Vietnam’s coffee plantations go second after Brazil’s. The East Asian climate creates truly unique conditions for their coffee trees. The coffee from that region is highly recognizable. Their coffee beans are often aged in the warehouses, which results in a very rich taste with mild acidity and full body. These beans are perfect for blending and pour-over brewing.
As you can see, the coffee beans from all those largest world’s plantations will never taste or even look the same. This is why you need much more than having some coffee makers under 100 in your kitchen to enjoy a good cup of coffee. You also need to build some awareness about where your coffee comes from and what this region has to offer.
Coffee consumption is growing every year. For one, the growing popularity of coffee shops put caffeinated beverages in high demand. The youth, especially, drinks more coffee than the previous generations did. Also, more countries that were not avid coffee drinkers in the past start consuming more coffee. The interconnectedness and globalization brought coffee to the countries that used to prefer their tea or other national beverages over coffee.
However, climate change and global warming impose a threat on coffee production all over the world. Countries like Brazil, Ethiopia, Vietnam, and the rest fear the dramatic decline in their coffee production in the recent year. The thing is, coffee trees are extremely sensitive to weather conditions. Any small changes in climate, whether it is the average temperature or humidity, can affect the taste and other qualities of the beans. Any more serious changes can completely destroy the coffee plantations leaving no future for the industry to grow.
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