Unless you are subscribed to our coffee subscription box, you probably didn’t realise that the country in which your coffee is grown and produced in will have a big impact on the taste of the coffee. Different soil, temperature and methods for production will all have an impact on the way your coffee turns out and the delicate hints of flavour that give every cup of coffee its own character. So, what are the main coffee-growing countries we hear you ask? Well, here is everything you need to know about the top 5 coffee-growing countries around the world
From The Farm To Your Cup: What Are The Main Coffee Growing Countries?
In the UK, coffee has become part of our culture, from having a cup in the morning before work, to socialising with friends in one of the many speciality coffee shops around the corner. While coffee has become one of the most beloved beverages in Europe, it’s easy to forget about the impact your cup of coffee can have on farming communities elsewhere. For many people working on the coffee farms, your love for coffee helps them to improve their living conditions, from food on the table to improved education. It is important to know where your coffee comes from, and the communities that it helps, so here is a little insight into the worlds largest producers of coffee beans.
What Makes The Perfect Coffee Growing Environment?
Much like other food, coffee needs the perfect environment to make sure that the beans fully develop and taste as delicious as they possibly can. Unfortunately, this does mean that growing coffee in the UK is a somewhat tricky task, and is the reason why we have over £234 million worth of coffee imported every year! There are many factors that contribute to the growth of coffee, from the soil to the climate, making countries within Asia, Africa and the South Americas perfect coffee growing locations.
Coffee is usually found growing on what is known as the coffee belt; this follows the equator around the globe as coffee requires a hot tropical climate for the best growth. Other factors, such as the following, also contribute to the ideal coffee growing environment:
- Volcanic soil
- Mature growing regions
Main Coffee Growing Countries: Ranked
Due to the strict conditions that coffee needs in order to grow and develop, some countries thrive from the economic benefits that come with exporting coffee. There are various countries that are well-known for providing the world with coffee beans, whether it be to mass-producing companies or small independent roasters such as those found in our coffee subscription box. So, who are these coffee-growing countries, and how much do they actually export every year? Well, here are the top five coffee-growing countries in the world, ranked in terms of amount exported!
1. Brazil: 5,714,381,000 Pounds
Brazil has been one of biggest coffee bean suppliers to the world for over 150 years, so it’s no surprise that they have found a way to produce around 2,595,000 metric tons of coffee in a year. This makes up around 30% off the world’s coffee supply, making it no surprise that over 3.5 million jobs are provided through the coffee-growing industry.
However, although coffee has brought jobs to a country where the majority of its citizens live in poverty, a lot of the workers on the farms actually work without a contract. This means that they are subject to unemployment without their employer having to give them a valid reason for their dismissal. It also means that they do not have a base salary or work on a minimum wage basis, meaning that workers can find themselves overworked and underpaid. Fairtrade has been working hard to improve the working conditions of coffee farmers around the world, by giving them the opportunity to have coffee brought at a premium price, so that the money can go back into improving the farms and working conditions of employers.
When you subscribe to Craft Coffee Club, we make sure that not only are you getting to taste exceptional coffee from speciality roasters, but you can also experience the taste of ‘feel-good’ coffee. The coffee placed within your box has come from roasters that either work with the coffee farmers directly, such as the Underdog Coffee featured in our November box, or only use Fairtrade coffee.
2. Vietnam: 3,637,627,000 Pounds
Despite the Vietnam War with America, coffee exportation still remains one of their largest contributions to their economy, with rice only just outdoing it. The country has managed to grow its export of coffee by 20% in the past 30 years and has become the worlds second-largest coffee exporter. Much like in brazil, coffee contributes to an extensive amount of employment in Vietnam, with over 2.6 million people working on coffee farms.
When taking a sip on speciality coffee gown in Vietnam, you will most likely find that it comes from a harder Robusta bean, which counts for around 97% of Vietnams coffee production. In the UK, robusta is one of the most popular types of coffee beans, which is pretty impressive, seeing as there are well over a hundred bean types. Robusta beans are mainly used for espresso due to their extinct and clean taste, and a lot of coffee shops tend to use this blend for their fancy coffees such as a latte or cappuccino. You can find out more fun facts about the difference between Robusta beans and Arabica beans on Enjoy Lava.
3. Columbia: 1,785,744,000 Pounds
Due to the rapid expansion of Vietnam’s coffee-growing community and exportation, the well-known Columbia has dropped to third place for their coffee production. The reason for this is because, in the past 20 years, the rising temperature has affected the type of coffee favoured in Columbia, meaning that they are unable to produce as much as they have in the past. This goes to show the damaging effects that global warming has on our beloved coffee, and it is one of the reasons why Craft Coffee Club donates to charities, in an effort to fight global warming and deforestation.
Due to Columbia’s wide coffee community, various different coffee flavours can be found when you’re trying out some of our roasters Columbian coffee blends. These flavours include hints of floral tones, berries and even chocolatey and sweet flavours! Although their own take on the Robusta coffee is one of the largest exported beans, Tinto coffee is the most enjoyed coffee blend amongst the Columbian community and is used by various coffee shops and market sellers. You can find out more about how coffee impacts the livelihood of communities and families in Colombia by taking a look at Farm Progress’ article.
4. Indonesia: 1,455,050,000 Pounds
Coffee from Indonesia tends to have a weaker taste due to the lower-quality of their robusta beans. For this reason, the country has decided that they would rather sell their coffee beans in larger batches, rather than ensure that every coffee bean is of the highest quality. A lot of instant coffee is made with Indonesian coffee, as coffee roasters tend to opt for beans that have a richer and more distinct flavour. However, the majority of the land used for coffee growing is run by small-scale producers, meaning that farmers and employees tend to make a good living from their work.
Indonesia uses a unique processing method called ‘giling basah’, which is where the beans are semi-washed, allowing the coffee cheery to dry on the beans before they are removed through washing. By using this method, the cherries are able to introduce a fruity tone to the beans, making it perfect for a summer espresso. You can find out more about this method, also known as ‘wet-hulling, on North Star Coffee’s website, another delicious roaster featured in our coffee subscription box in December.
5. Ethiopia: 846,575,000 Pounds
We all have Ethiopia to thank for the discovery of the coffee bean, which has become one of the worlds most exported and imported goods, giving us the opportunity to create a community around a shared passion and love for speciality roasted coffee. It is also home to the world’s favourite type of coffee, which is the Arabic bean, providing citizens with around 15 million job opportunities. Due to Ethiopia being the first producer of coffee beans, it has been part of their countries culture for over 1,100 years, a culture that has spread amongst nations all around the globe.
Although Ethiopia is not the largest coffee growing country in the world, it is the largest in Africa, producing large quantities of coffee for the local community, Africa and the whole of Europe. The blends made for Ethiopian beans tend to be very complex, giving you a hint of fruity and citrus tones that pair perfectly with a milky coffee such as your home made latte. You can find out more about the interesting story behind Ethiopia’s coffee beans on Paulig, or take a look at some fun facts on Ethio Beauty.
Speciality Coffee Around The World
When tucking into your treats and making a delicious cup of coffee from the beans that you have in your coffee subscription, you are sharing your love for coffee that has been grown and produced from farmers all around the world. These beans are then roasted by speciality roasters that bring out the flavour of these blends, giving you the chance to enjoy various different coffees just the way you like them.