What is the Coffee Bean Belt?
When sipping on your freshly brewed cup of coffee each morning, do you ever wonder about the origins of your coffee beans? While the majority of coffee is currently produced in Brazil, with around 25 percent of coffee in the world originating there, coffee beans are now grown across the world. If you look at a map of the key coffee producing areas, a clear trend will become apparent, as they are all located within the same horizontal strip across the world. This area is known as the Bean Belt.
Geographically, the Bean Belt is the area between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, spanning in a horizontal strip across the globe – from Mexico to Papua New Guinea! Coffee bean production originated in Africa and has since expanded both East and West, creating the so-called Bean Belt. With these areas being so close to the equator, the climate experienced in the countries found within the Bean Belt is ideal for the growth of coffee beans. As such, it should come as no surprise that all ten of the top ten coffee bean producing countries can be found within the coffee Bean Belt!
It isn’t just about being grown in a hot country though, as coffee beans have some specific requirements for their perfect growing conditions! Coffee trees thrive in moist, tropical climates that have both wet and dry seasons, with the perfect balance between rain and shaded sun. They also grow best in rich soil and at high altitudes, and many of the countries found within the Bean Belt meet all of these specifications.
Coffee Bean Growth in America
The only area of North America to grow coffee beans is Mexico, who are the 9th biggest exporter of coffee in the world. Only the central and southern areas of Mexico are found within the Bean Belt, and therefore, these are the primary regions for coffee production in Mexico. In Central America, Guatemala is a key player, making the most of its volcanic soil, which helps to produce flavourful beans. Costa Rica, while a relatively small producer, has gained a great reputation for quality coffee, as most of the coffee is grown in small farms, allowing for each coffee tree to get all the attention it deserves!
In South America, Peru and, of course, Brazil, are responsible for producing some amazing tasting beans. The majority of Brazilian coffee is grown in the southeast of the country, with plantations taking up around 10,000 square miles!
Coffee Bean Growth in Africa
It is believed that Ethiopia is the country of origin for the beloved coffee bean. As such, Ethiopia was the first coffee growing region in Africa (and likely, the world). Ethiopia accounts for around 3 percent of the global coffee market; however, much of what they produce is enjoyed within the country itself. With 6.5 million bags of coffee made, but only 3.5 million bags exported, around half of Ethiopian coffee is drunk by locals. Neighbouring country, Kenya, is also renowned for its coffee production, creating one of the most sought after brews in the world.
Coffee Bean Growth in Asia
Vietnam is by far the biggest producer of coffee in Asia, and is the second largest of exporter of coffee in the world; just behind Brazil. While coffee was being grown in Vietnam in the 19th-century, the Vietnam war put a halt on production, and so the country has only been growing coffee commercially since the mid-1980s.
Indonesia is another big player in Asia, with coffee cultivation commencing in the country during the 1600s. Producing the likes of Java and Sumatra, Indonesian coffee amounts for around 6 percent of global exports.
Where does your favourite coffee come from? Finding the perfect coffee beans is only the first step in your delicious coffee journey; to get the best flavour out of them, ensure you’re using the best kit with the Rhinowares hand grinder and AeroPress!