Let’s be honest, we all depend on coffee and we over in the US consume over a whopping 1.5 billion kg a year and we aren’t alone in this insatiable thirst for that delicious caffeinated beverage. But how on earth can we produce this much coffee and where exactly is it grown?
The Bean Belt
The bean belt is where most of the world’s coffee is produced and lies between the tropics of cancer and capricorn circling the equator making this a pretty vast region. The bean belt comprises Central and South America, The Middle East, Africa and Asia.
Now depending on the flavours or type of bean preferred (Arabica and Robusta being the main contenders) you’ll be looking at particular parts of the world for where the beans of your particular interest are reigning from. Central America is famed for notes of brown-sugar and chocolate; South America for more caramel and nut forward beans; Africa for a fruitier and tartier brew; Asia and the Middle East for more toasted and smokier flavours. Of course summating the world’s coffee centre’s outputs in a couple of words is a drastic overgeneralization but may help to direct you toward your preferred kind of bean.
Where Do Most Beans Come From?
Most beans come from South America rather unsurprisingly, specifically from Brazil largely thanks to their vast expanse of land. The second ranking coffee-producing country is actually Vietnam which may surprise many of our American readers who mostly drink coffee of the African and South and Central American variety. Lest you forget the gargantuan populations in Asia that consume a significant portion of the world’s coffee particularly the South-East Asian variety (the vientamese coffee being largely unappreciated in the West).
A Case of Mistaken Identity
It’s thought by many that coffee is a crop largely similar to chocolate in that it’s produced from large bean vessels when in fact coffee is more like a seed in fruit. The coffee plant is an evergreen species that grows up to 10 metres in the wild. These plants produce cherries that encase two seeds that are later processed into the coffee beans that we know.
Coffee beans hail from all over the world and are one of the most prolific crops much to no one's surprise. Although there is drastic variation between individual brands of coffee beans you can tend to know what to expect of beans from various parts of the bean belt; So next time you enjoy your home-brewed coffee maybe try and suss out its origin from its gorgeous flavour profiles.