When it comes to coffee, Brazil dominates the global market. Brazil produced a remarkable 2,993,780 metric tons of coffee beans in 2021. Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee beans for more than 150 years, so this is not a new development.
What is Coffee?
Coffee is a drink made by brewing roasted coffee beans, the seeds of berries from the coffee plant. The Coffee beans plant is native to tropical Africa and Asia, and Ethiopia is where it was first grown for human use. More than 70 countries worldwide grow coffee plants, but Brazil is the biggest producer of coffee beans.
Facts about Coffee Production:
- Brazil and Vietnam are responsible for over fifty percent of the world’s annual coffee exports.
- Most of Brazil’s approximately 27,000 square kilometers of coffee plantations are found in the three southeastern states of Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, and Parana.
- Ethiopia is the geographical origin of Arabica coffee, the world’s most popular bean.
History of Coffee
People have consumed this energizing plant for thousands of years, though not always as a drink. It’s been a part of history, like the Boston Tea Party, and the Pope even blessed it. Read on to learn how this drink has been around for a long time.
Ethiopia is where the coffee plant comes from. A story says that an Ethiopian goatherd named Kaldi discovered coffee. He saw that when goats ate certain beans, they got very involved. By the 1500s, coffee was being drunk in Yemen. By the 1600s, coffee was expanded in Persia (now called Iran) and Turkey. People could drink and talk to each other in the many coffee shops.
At the end of the 1600s, trade brought coffee to Europe. Coffee was first brought to Italy. (Italian people still drink a lot of coffee every day.) During the 1600s, coffee really took off in Europe. Europe got its first coffee shops in the 1600s. In 1651, Oxford was home to England’s first coffee house. At the close of the 17th century, coffeehouses became common gathering places for merchants and businesspeople in urban regions of England.
There were literally hundreds of coffee houses in London by the end of the 17th century. The first one opened in 1652. In the 18th century, Lloyds Coffee House opened in London and quickly became a center for marine insurance. But by the middle of the 1800s, coffee houses in England were no longer as popular as they used to be. In expert exchanges, merchants met to do business, and well-off men went to gentlemen’s clubs to socialize and talk.
In the same year, 1689, the first coffee shop in the United States opened in Boston, Massachusetts. In 1737, Merchants Coffee House opened in New York, and it quickly became a popular place to meet. After the Boston Tea Party in 1773, it became patriotic in America to drink coffee instead of tea (a protest against a British tax on tea).
In Indonesia, the Dutch started growing coffee at the beginning of the 18th century. In the 18th century, people in Brazil also started growing coffee. At the beginning of the 1800s, coffee plantations in Brazil were doing very well. Uganda made a huge amount of coffee in the 20th century. Hanson Goodrich came up with the modern coffee percolator in the year 1889.
Coffee Production in South America
South America has the best weather for growing coffee beans because it has both high mountains and wet rainforests. In South America, there are two kinds of coffee beans that grow best in different conditions.
- The most popular type of bean, Arabica, requires a humid climate between 1200 and 1800 meters above sea level to grow.
- The optimal altitude for growing robusta beans is between 750 and 1,500 meters above sea level.
As much of South America is located at higher altitudes, Arabica beans are typically the most widely cultivated crop on the continent.
South America has the best weather for growing coffee beans because it has both high mountains and humid rainforests. In South America, there are two kinds of coffee beans that grow best in different conditions.
- Most people consume Arabica beans, which grow best in humid places between 1200 and 1800 meters above sea level.
- Robusta beans grow well both near the sea and up to 750 m above sea level.
Since most of South America is at a higher point, Arabica beans are usually the ones that are grown there the most.
There are roughly 220,000 coffee farms in Brazil, with large and small plantations covering approximately 10,000 square miles. Much of this territory is devoted to coffee-bean-producing trees, often known as cherries, until they are dried. Due to its tropical climate, Brazil produces one of the world’s most abundant coffee harvests.
Once the cherries have been plucked, they are frequently sorted by color and density, with the riper cherries advancing as distinguished lots for coffee of higher quality. After this stage, coffee production in Brazil takes a distinctive turn.
Coffee is normally processed in three ways: wet, dry, and semi-washed. The vast majority of Brazilian coffee is processed using the dry technique because, despite the tropical climate, the regular dry season provides the ideal temperature for its successful completion.
When coffee beans are made naturally, they are dried while still cherries. Dry processing is done only on the ripest cherries that float. The cherries are left to dry on their own, and sweet mucilage comes into contact with them (a coating that occurs around the bean). This makes an end product that is full-bodied, sweet, smooth, and complex all around.
Even though fermentation could ruin the coffee, Brazilian coffee brands have almost perfected this method and are still putting time and money into making it better.
After the drying process, farms are left with the whole dry bean, which you can buy in stores and grind into coffee grounds.
Best Coffee Brands in Brazil:
- Café Pilao
- Brazil Santos Coffee
- Cafe Melitta
Brazil Coffee Facts
Want to know more about coffee in the country? Here are some more interesting facts about how much coffee Brazil makes:
- Brazil makes about 30% of the world’s coffee, according to estimates.
- There are many kinds of coffee in the country, but 80% of it is Arabica.
- Every year in Brazil, about 6 billion coffee plants grow.
- Minas Gerais is the largest coffee-growing state in Brazil. It is in the country’s southeast, where the weather is perfect for growing coffee.
- From May to September, coffee beans are picked in the country.
- 71% of Brazil’s coffee farms are smaller than 25 acres, which means there are more small, independent farms than big plantations.
- Because it is so big, Brazil’s coffee industry is responsible for about 8 million jobs in the country.
Vietnam is the world’s second-largest producer of coffee, after Brazil, with Robusta coffee accounting for 97% of the country’s total output. However, in contrast to Brazil, Vietnam’s coffee production is primarily by Robusta, with an estimated 3% arabica.
80% of the nation’s coffee is planted in a smaller sub-region in the Central Province, where the majority of arabica coffee is produced. The province of Lam Dong is located in this northern region. This area consists primarily of what is colloquially known as “Bazan Red land” (red basalt soil) and is ideal for growing coffee.
This rich volcanic soil, together with the highland elevations, helps the slow, even development of the coffee cherry, resulting in a superior cup of coffee.
Types of Vietnamese coffee
Nowadays, Arabica and Robusta are the two most popular coffee kinds in Vietnam.
- 90% of Vietnamese coffee production is Robusta, making Vietnam the second largest coffee exporter in the world.
- Arabica: Only 10% of Vietnamese coffee is produced from Arabica, but it has the potential to develop specialty coffee in the future.
Indonesia ranks among the countries that make and sell the most coffee globally. Indonesia is also renowned for its specialty coffees, such as kopi luwak, known as the world’s most costly coffee, and kopi Mandailing, known as the most expensive coffee in the world (see below). In terms of agricultural products, coffee is Indonesia’s fourth biggest source of foreign currency after palm oil, rubber, and cocoa.
The Dutch brought coffee to the archipelago. At first, they planted coffee trees around their stronghold of Batavia, but in the 17th and 18th centuries, they quickly spread coffee production to the Bogor and Sukabumi regions in West Java. Indonesia had a climate that was almost perfect for growing coffee, so plantations were quickly set up on other parts of Java and on the islands of Sumatra and Sulawesi.
Today, there are about 1.24 million hectares of coffee plantations in Indonesia. There are 933 hectares of robusta plantations and 307 hectares of arabica plantations. More than 90% of all plantations are grown by small-scale farmers who each own plantations that are about 1-2 hectares in size.
Indonesia doesn’t have as many coffee plantations as some of its competitors, like Vietnam. This makes it harder for Indonesia to keep production levels and quality stable. So, it needs to make its products more competitive in the international market.
Colombian coffee is nearly solely cultivated from arabica plants. This is because the volcanic soil, yearly precipitation, and high altitudes of the major coffee-producing regions are suited for arabicas. Coffee is grown in the western areas of the United States throughout the three parallel mountain ranges that extend down the Pacific coast.
The 22 coffee-growing regions of Colombia can be split into northern, central, and southern parts. The majority of the coffee harvest is produced in the central and southern regions, although the soil conditions in the north and south are naturally more conducive to coffee farming. Organic output is only a small portion of the total, but its volume is expanding rapidly.
Ethiopia grows the most coffee in Africa and is the fifth-largest coffee producer in the world. Ethiopian coffee is usually grown 1500–2200 meters above sea level and picked between November and February. It makes up 3% of the global coffee market. On small plantations all over the country, Arabica and native heirloom varieties are most often grown. Ethiopia makes more than 850 million pounds of coffee annually, but only about half of that is exported. The rest is used in Ethiopia.
Honduras has moved up and down the list of countries that make the most coffee, sometimes getting as high as fifth place. Honduras has many places where coffee is grown, but the best beans come from the high elevations in the mountains. Honduras’s economy depends significantly on growing and selling coffee, and many farming families have been doing it for generations.
Most people know Uganda for its robusta coffee. The coffee beans have been grown for generations and can be found deep in the rain forests. They are considered some of the rarest coffee trees that grow in the wild. The regions around the western Nile, the Okoro region, the northern Lira and Gulu regions, the eastern Mbale and Bugisu regions, the central and southwestern Jinja, Mukono, Kampala, and Masaka regions, and the western Kasese and Mbarara regions are the most prolific producers of Robusta.
Its Arabica has gained popularity in recent years. It’s good knowing that Ugandan Robusta is the gold standard of coffee beans. It makes a delicious cup of coffee thanks to its wine-like acidity and rich chocolate undertones.
Peru is another South American nation growing some of the world’s best coffee beans. Most of them come from the Cajamarca region. The economy depends greatly on coffee production, one of Peru’s most exported crops. Peruvian coffee tastes like other South American coffees, but it stands out because it has more chocolate and nutty remarks.
India, which is in Asia, comes in at number nine. In the 1870s, India’s coffee farms were badly hurt by a disease called coffee rust, so many of their coffee farms were turned into tea plantations. People often think of India as a country that makes tea, but coffee has been around since the 1600s when the Mughal empire was in power. Tea didn’t come to India until the 1800s.
Traditionally, they were known for their Arabica coffee, but since the turn of the century, 60% of their crop has been Robusta.
Most coffee is grown in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Karnataka, three states in southern India. India exports most of its coffee to Europe, where it is often used to make blended coffees. Baba Budan smuggled some coffee beans from the Middle East into India and planted them in Karnataka. The rest is history.
Guatemala grows about 226,000 metric tons of coffee every year. Coffee is produced in a few key areas. The most sought-after specialty coffee bean comes from the Antigua region, known for its volcanic soil and relatively stable weather. Almost all of Guatemala’s coffee is Arabica, which is grown in the shade. Because of changes in temperature and altitude, each region has its unique taste.
The following is a list of the largest coffee producers in the world.
|Total (Metric Tonnes)
|Papua New Guinea
|Trinidad and Tobago
|Sao Tome and Principe