Around the world with coffee...
There are so many varieties of coffee out there! Depending on where they are grown, coffee beans taste different and are of different strength. Africa, Asia, the Americas...
Coffee cultivation apparently began in the 7th Century in Ethiopia. Since then, many nations around the world have taken to producing coffee. That being said, coffee plants require specific conditions to grow and only countries located between the two tropics can cultivate them.
Discover more about coffee according to where it comes from and choose which best suits your taste and sense of wanderlust! Remember to keep your eye out for Freetrade labels, to ensure that the producers are getting their fair share of the profits.
Coffee originates from the African continent. Today, the Ivory Coast is the primary producer on the continent, the majority of the Ivorian population lives from this resource, with chocolate as a second. The Ivory Coast mainly grows the Robusta variety, stronger and less consumed in Western countries. Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania are some of the other important coffee producers on the African continent.
Quality: if you like Robusta, Ivory Coast coffee is a reference. If you prefer Arabica, the most reputed comes from Ethiopia (Harrar, Sidamo, Yirgacheffe) and Kenya (Kitale or Thika, for example).
Central American and Caribbean coffee
In the Central American region, Mexico is one of the largest coffee producers. Other significant coffee exporters include Panama, Guatemala and Costa Rica... They all produce mainly Arabica, although you can find Robusta in Guatemala. Some of the Caribbean islands such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, Santo Domingo and Jamaica also cultivate coffee.
Quality: Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is one of the most reputed in the world. Guatemala is also now producing quality varieties (Antigua, Coban, and Huehuetenango). Costa Rica is renowned for its vintages: Montebello and Tres Volcanes, for example. Mexican varieties include Izapa, Oaxaca or Vera Cruz.
South American coffee
Brazil is the main coffee producer in South America. It is in fact the largest coffee producer in the world with a quarter of worldwide coffee production! Brazilian coffee plants were introduced from French Guyana. And following close behind this coffee producing giant, you'll find another – Columbia – followed by other Central American exporters: Peru, Ecuador and Venezuela. They all produce Arabica, the most consumed variety of coffee in the world.
Quality: Brazil produces all the varieties of coffee imaginable, including veritable “vintages”, but a large part of this is for local consumption. Colombian coffee is highly reputed for its quality, particularly Popayan, Bucaramanga or Santa Marta.
Asia has developed in coffee production and today includes important coffee-producing countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam and India. Indonesia mainly cultivates Robusta, very little Arabica, but it is nevertheless the third world producer, all varieties included.
Quality: High quality varieties of coffee are produced in Indonesia (Kalosi, Sulawesi, Celebes and Macassar). India is known for its special-tasting “monsoon” coffee.
Where coffee originates from is not the only factor influencing taste, of course. The way in which it is processed, roasted and climatic conditions during harvest also influence bean quality. It’s up to you to try out the different varieties available and thus discover your favourite coffee!
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