Coffee arrived from the Ethiopian highlands and was first introduced to the Arabian Peninsula before it gained popularity. Today, coffee is grown worldwide, with more than 27 million acres dedicated to coffee cultivation. There are specific regions around the world where coffee grows best, known as the bean belt.
Coffee grows best in cool to warm tropical climates with rich soils that are resistant to pests and diseases. The regions around the equator on the world map—South and Central America, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean, and Africa are known to grow the best kind of coffee.
Even though there are specific regions around the equator where coffee grows best, that does not mean that coffee can not be cultivated elsewhere. Given the ideal conditions, coffee can be grown in certain other parts of the world as well. Keep reading to find out more.
Where Do Coffee Trees Grow Best?
Healthy coffee trees grow best when they are exposed to tropical climates and get rich soil. Many factors affect the growth of coffee trees. These trees thrive in soil that is resistant to pests and bugs. Pests and diseases tend to drain the soil of its nutrients, and poor nutrient soil never yields good crops.
Mountains that get a lot of mist are also great places to grow coffee. As long as these coffee trees get dappled sunlight, whether from taller shrubs and trees or because of the sporadic sunshine, they will grow and produce healthy coffee beans. To understand where coffee grows best, we will need to look into some of these factors in greater detail.
Coffee is native to Ethiopia, and tiny coffee beans grow around the plant’s glossy green leaves. The coffee plants grow into medium-sized trees. In the spring, white flowers blossom and bear the tiny berries that gradually darken to form dark pods. Each of these pods contains the seeds that become the coffee beans widely used today for brewing coffee.
Best Growing Conditions for Coffee
It is helpful to mimic the temperature, humidity, and other growing conditions found in their natural habitat around the tropical belt to grow a coffee plant. Coffee plants thrive in a mid-elevation mountainside. They enjoy a well-draining soil that is also rich in nutrients and free from pests. High humidity and cool temperatures also help in the growth of the tree.
Arabica coffee grows best in altitude between 1800-6300 feet (548-1920 meters), while robusta coffee grows at much lower altitudes ranging from sea level to 3000 feet (914 meters).
The Copper Moon Guatemalan Antigua Blend is a coffee blend from Guatemala in Central America, and they roast single batches of beans for the best flavor. Their variety of origins, blends, and roasts give you the freshest coffee with a delightfully full-bodied finish. They sustainably source the coffee by focusing on the social, economic, and environmental impact it will have on the world.
Another one in this category, the Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee Blend is an arabica blend and is rich and smooth in taste. It is custom roasted in small batches to ensure the finest coffee experience.
Temperature and Humidity
Arabica coffee does well in temperatures ranging between 15ºC to 24ºC (59°F to 75°F), while robusta needs 24ºC to 30ºC (75°F to 86°F) to flourish. Hotter temperatures may help in accelerating growth. In fact, robusta grows well in hot and harsh climes, but too hot temperatures may cause the coffee bean’s quality to deteriorate.
Coffee trees also need annual rainfall of 1500mm to 3000 mm (150cm to 300 cm), and they thrive in surroundings that have plenty of fog and highly humid conditions.
Light, Water, and Soil
In higher latitudes, coffee plants prefer dappled sunlight. Lower down the tree line; the coffee tree will need full sunlight to thrive. They generally like to live and grow under a forest canopy. However, if they do not get a layering of shade above them, they may develop crisp brown edges around their leaves.
They grow in rich soil that also has a good drainage system. Avoid limey soils for your coffee plants. Instead, use peat to make your soil rich in organic matter. Coffee trees love water and require frequent and ample watering.
You need to water the plant before the soil dries out completely. When watering the plant, it is important to remember that the soil needs to stay moist, but not waterlogged.
Can Coffee Grow in Cold Climates?
There are certain parts of the world where coffee is grown in relatively cooler climates. As long as there is optimum humidity in the air, and the temperatures are not too low, coffee plants can do well even in cooler climates.
In certain parts of Australia, coffee is grown in cooler conditions compared to the usual coffee growing regions of the bean belt, and unlike the hot tropical zones, coffee in Australia is grown in cooler subtropical areas. Due to the dip in temperature, there are fewer pests compared to the other places.
Presence of Micro-climate That Are Conducive for Growth
Coffees originating from the higher altitudes are renowned for their flavors. The cooler conditions in these high altitudes play a very important role in this. The cover of the rain-forest trees, the nutrient-rich soil, and the fog and rainfall in these regions also add to the coffee’s flavor.
Coffee grown in hot tropical climates will usually develop a cooler micro-climate, which aids in adding sweetness to the coffee flavor. It also encourages a slower ripening season, and over the years, coffee connoisseurs have sought out high altitude coffee for these very reasons.
Coffee Growing Regions
Coffee is largely grown in the continents of Asia, Africa, and America. Various regions within these continents have found their climate to be ideal for growing coffee. Most of these regions fall under the tropical belt and lie just around the equator.
Everything affects the coffee beans’ quality and flavor, right from the variety of the plant, the richness of the soil, the annual rainfall, and sunshine. Even the altitude at which the coffee is grown can affect the taste of the final product. Even the method adopted for the processing of the coffee beans affects the taste of these beans.
Other distinctions largely depend on the geographical origins of the coffee. Coffee coming in from different countries, and even from different regions and plantations within those countries will have a different taste.
The Bean Belt
Even though coffee first originated in a single country, it is now grown all over the world. Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula and Indonesia, Southern India, and Vietnam have large coffee cultivation.
In Central America, you will find coffee cultivations in Costa Rica and Guatemala; in South America, it is Colombia and Brazil. In North America and the Caribbean region, coffee is grown in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Mexico. Africa has coffee plantations in the Ivory Coast, Kenya, and Ethiopia.
Kona Coffee from Hawaii is one of the most famous blends and is always in high demand. Mexico ranks as one of the top coffee producers with large farms in Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas being one of the most farmed regions.
The coffee from Colombia is probably considered the world’s best coffee due to its consistently good and mild coffees with a well-balanced acidity. Colombian Supremo is considered to be the highest grade of coffee with a delicate sweetness. The Kirkland Signature 100% Colombian Supremo coffee can be found at your nearest grocery store.
Brazil has devoted immense amounts of land for the production of coffee. It gives employment to hundreds of people there who need to look after the plantations. In this region, both arabica and robusta are grown in large quantities.
As per the origin of coffee, Ethiopia is the land where coffee beans are believed to have first originated. This place has three main growing regions—Sidamo, Harrar, and Kaffa, and the coffee is full-bodied and earthy in flavor.
Climate Change and Its Impact on Coffee Production
Due to climate change and rising temperatures, coffee may not have a very bright future in terms of cultivation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) has predicted that there will be a reduction in the area suitable for coffee cultivation in the near future.
The rising temperatures have also increased pests in the soil. As the Earth’s temperature continues to warm, the problems associated with coffee plantations will only increase.
The video below shows how climate change is threatening the coffee industry and global food security. The changing weather patterns also have a direct impact on coffee cultivation and, in turn, threatens the livelihoods of many who earn their living through it:
Even though the coffee belt is limited to the equator’s areas, experimental cultivators have found new ways to create microclimates in cooler regions to promote coffee growth. With climate change looming large, new cultivating coffee methods will soon need to be developed to keep the beverage affordable and available for the world.
- Climate.Gov: Climate and Coffee
- The Spruce: Coffee Plant Profile
- Bean Scene Mag: Cool Climate Coffee
- Wikipedia: Coffee Production in Hawaii
- EGU: What’s Geology Got to do With It?
- Coffee Research: The Optimal Coffee Environment – Best Climate Conditions for Growing Coffee Beans
- Coffee and Health: Where Coffee Grows
- NCAUSA.org: Coffee Around the World
Should My Coffee Beans Be Oily?
Coffee beans should be ground and brewed as close to their roasting date as possible. Should my coffee beans be oily? Read our article for more.
How Hot Should Coffee Be Served?
Coffee is great, but you don't want to burn the beans - or your mouth. How hot should coffee actually be served to get an optimal experience?
What Is Blonde Coffee?
We don't know of any jokes about blonde coffee, but it is sweeter than dark roasts. Find out more about this delightful roast in our article.