Where Do Coffee Beans Come From?

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Coffee is one of the biggest global commodities. In fact, it’s the second most traded commodity after oil. It’s also the third most widely consumed beverage after water and tea. People around the world drink almost half a trillion cups of coffee every year. So where does all this coffee come from?

Where Does Coffee Come From?

Coffee comes from coffee plants, which grow in certain parts of the world. Most coffee plants are located in what’s known as the “Bean Belt,” an area that circles the equator. The Bean Belt includes parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Central and South America.

Coffee plants develop cherries, and coffee beans are located within these cherries. Each cherry holds two beans. After the cherries are harvested, the beans are extracted and roasted. This provides coffee its brown and dark color. The delicious flavor depends on factors such as:

  • The level of ripeness in which the cherries were picked
  • The specific maturity process
  • Harvesting operations

You might be wondering: who produces and consumes all this coffee? It turns out that there are few countries which dominate.

Top 5 Coffee Producing Countries

Coffee plants are harvested in more than 70 countries throughout the world. However, these five countries produce the most:

  1. Brazil is the world’s biggest producer of coffee and has been for more than 150 years. In 2016, it produced more than 2.5 million metric tons of coffee beans.
  2. Vietnam, which produced 1.6 million metric tons in 2016. Coffee is the second-greatest export in Vietnam, with rice being the country’s biggest.
  3. Colombia, which produced more than 800,000 metric tons in 2016 and is well known worldwide for its coffee beans.
  4. Indonesia is the fourth-largest producer with 660,000 metric tons in 2016. The country is ideally located for growing coffee plants and 90% of its crops are operated by small-scale producers.
  5. Ethiopia, which is the home producer of Arabica beans. It’s estimated that Ethiopia’s coffee industry employs 15 million citizens, and it produced 384,000 metric tons in 2016.

Top 5 Coffee Consuming Countries

Every year, billions of cups of coffee are consumed around the world. Who drinks the most? The top five countries are:

  1. Finland, 26.45 lbs (12 kgs) per person per year.
  2. Norway, 21.82 lbs (9.9 kgs)
  3. Iceland, 19.84 lbs (9 kgs)
  4. Denmark, 19.18 lbs (8.7 kgs)
  5. The Netherlands, 18.52 lbs (8.4 kgs)

This is crazy: worldwide, about 10 million tons of coffee are consumed each year.

The 2 Types of Coffee Beans

Despite the variety of coffee producers and consumers, there are only two main types of coffee beans: Arabica, and Robusta.

Arabica is the most widely sold and consumed. It originated in Ethiopia and currently makes up 70% of coffee around the world. It requires a higher altitude to grow and provides a softer, sweeter taste.

Robusta is much easier and cheaper to grow. Originating from the Kongo, this type can be grown at much lower altitudes. Its flavor is stronger and harsher. It accounts for 30% of coffee worldwide.

The next time you enjoy your cup of coffee, consider this: Where it came from and what it took to get to you. Remember that you are joining millions of people around the world who also love their daily coffee!

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