According to statistics* the world’s leading produceers are, in order: Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia. Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Peru, Ethiopia and India follow, with varying order depending on the year.
Surely the tropical belt is the most affected area, as it presents the most favorable climatic conditions for coffee cultivation. We will analyze here the individual production of each country, in order to have a better idea and find out where does the coffee come from.
Which countries are the world’s top coffee producer?
The country, favored by the two-season tropical climate, was until a few years ago among the five largest world producers of Robusta, but current production is significantly reduced. Angola also produces Arabica, in fairly small amount, and preferably used for mixtures.
This African Republic has a convenient double rainy season in the south. Among the commercial crops are both Robusta and Arabica.
Washed Arabica coffee produced in Bolivia is normally consumed by the country’s domestic market when crop is not abundant. The Bolivian washed coffee is generally prepared with great care and has a good-looking.
Brazil is the first producer of unwashed Arabica: Arabica grown in the Brazilian highlands is capable to meet most of the world demand. Currently Brazil also produces the Cohillon quality (Brazilian Robusta), while the most demanded quality is Bourbon Santos that grows in a rough and mountainous terrain. Other appreciated qualities are the Parana and Rio.
The Arabica and Robusta plantations are an important resource for this very poor nation. Arabica is very good, full-bodied and tart, and is exported mainly to the United States.
The area of the nation’s capital, Yaounde, is the one that offers the best features of the climate balance for growing Robusta (natural) and Arabica (washed): it stands out for its excellent, almost spicy aroma.
Plantations are located in the mountainous region of Yunnan, furrowed by the valleys of the Red River and Mekong. Yunnan is a variety that assures a rich drink, full-bodied and slightly acid, especially appreciated by the American market.
Worldwide, Colombia is second to Brazil for the volumes of grown coffee, while it is first in terms of quality by producing so many different varieties of excellent coffee. In fact, in this regard, the Government decided to bring together under the name MAM (derived from the cultivation centers of Medellin, Armenia, Manizales) all the best Colombian productions. The Medellin quality is the best for full body and acidity, Armenia is a little lighter but still excellent for flavoring.
The only quality cultivated in Congo is a natural and washed Robusta, an important export resource for this country.
Among the major producers of coffee, Ivory Coast reaches sufficient quantities to meet most of the world demand with the natural and washed Robusta. Besides Robusta grows Arabusta, cross between Arabica and Robusta created a few years ago and aimed at the French market.
Among the major coffee producers, Costa Rica received the coffee plants from Cuba at the end of 1700. Only Arabica is cultivated, according on a law that prohibits the cultivation of Robusta. The most popular coffees are San Marcos Tarrazú, Tres Rios, Heredia, Alajuela the: these coffees are cultivated with wet process, have a full and sweet body and a strong acidity.
Cuba produces, although in small quantities, natural and washed Arabica coffee.
This country produces washed Arabica and Robusta. Coffee is usually cultivated near to bananas and cocoa in order to favor profitability.
It produces natural and washed Arabica Maragogype. Three-quarters of the production is aimed at foreign markets. Coffee from El Salvador is produced in high altitudes, obtaining a coffee with light taste, sweet and moderate acidity. The plantations that are located at lower altitudes make a less full-bodied coffee called Central Standard. They are also treated with the wet method.
Here Coffea Arabica found its origins, particularly in the Caffa region. Climate and territory make the plants grow coffee spontaneously, requiring the hand of man only for the drying. From the east comes the Harrar variety, with a dark red juice, a full-bodied flavor, sweet taste and high acidity, divided into the quality Longberry Harrar (large bean), shortberry Harrar (small berries), Mocha Harrar (peaberry or small berries) and Ghimbi. Compared to Harrar, these have a richer and firmer body and a good aftertaste.
Also the coffee production of the Philippine contributes to the world’s needs: thanks to its favorable geographical position, it can partially satisfy the American and Japanese markets.
Being in the equatorial belt and with high temperatures, the country only produces little quantities of Robusta coffee .
The scant coffee cultivated in Ghana is Robusta quality; cocoa remains the country’s main product.
This country is home of the most esteemed coffee of the Caribbean. Jamaican coffee is grown in the mountainous areas and stands out with Blue Mountain, Mountain High, Jamaica Mountain Choice and Prima Washed varieties.
Guatemala is another country to be counted among those that satisfy the world demand with the qualities washed Arabica and Robusta. Regarding Arabica, the best varieties are Bourbon, Tipica, Maragogype, Coban, Antigua, Amatitlan. Produced with the wet method, these have high acidity, a spicy aroma and chocolaty aroma. They are intended for export.
Guinea is starting to develop the technical and crop extensions. The coffee is not among the main sources of the country yet.
Haiti produces natural and washed Arabica. Among the varieties obtained from unwashed Arabica the Port Au Prince stands out, offering an almost spicy aroma.
From Hawaii comes Kona coffee variety, characterized by full-bodied and sweet taste. It is cultivated in holes dug in the volcanic rocks
Coffee grown in Honduras is produced with the wet method and is used to correct other qualities. Natural Arabica and Maragogype come from Honduras, they give a coffee which is delicate and slightly sour.
India is also among the countries that meet the world’s need for coffee with its own production. Indian coffee usually has a mild and pleasant taste, and it’s grown in various qualities: Robusta Monsonato, Arabica Cherry, Arabica Monsonato. Also, there are two varieties that stand out with a full and delicate taste: Mysore and Malabar.
It has plantations of Arabica and Robusta. The best variety is Mandheling.
Dutch explorers brought the Arabica trees in Java, which became the leading coffee producer in the world until, in 1870, the parasites destroyed the entire industry. The soils were then cultivated again, using plants resistant to disease but qualitatively less valid.
Some coffees are stored in a warehouse for two or three years and are sold as Old Java: through this process, coffee lose acidity and gets a firmer body and a sweeter taste.
The plantations are of natural and washed Arabica: they give high quality coffee, witha delicate, excellent flavor. Noteworthy are the variety Chragga and Kenya AA considered rarer than Jamaican Blue Mountain. Summer Kenya, considered one of the best coffee in the world.
The cultivated species are: Robusta, Arabica and Excelse.
This country has a relevant presence of Coffea, although its exports have always suffered from competition of Cuba and Puerto Rico.
The Mexican coffee has a light and fragrant taste, and it’s entirely produced with the wet process. The most appreciated variety is the Altura Coatepec, which has a light body, sweet taste, chocolate hints and acid aftertaste. Coffee Pluma is also considered excellent.
The world’s largest beans of the Maragogype variety come from this country. Nicaraguan coffees are valuable and appreciated for their scent.
Papua New Guinea
With its production of natural and washed Arabica, Papua New Guinea competes with the neighboring islands of Java and Timor.
Peru is a remarkable producer of good natural and washed Arabica. The best quality comes from the Andes Mountains.
Central African Republic
The plantations are of natural Arabica. It is mainly exported to France, the country that provides financial support to CAF for the harsh problems due to drought.
Democratic Republic of Congo
Both Arabica and Robusta are cultivated in DRC. The good potential, though, is compromised by poor selection and diligence in the production.
The most common quality is Santo Domingo, which has a full and strong taste. Other varieties are the Cibao, Bani and Ocoa, all produced with the wet process.
Panama, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan
Unfortunately, in these countries, natural disasters and political problems have greatly reduced the production capacity.
Two of the best and most popular coffees in the world come from Sumatra, Mandheling and Ankola, and both are processed dry. The value of coffee from Sumatra is that the harvest is exclusively by hand: the flavor is so strong and persistent that it is advisable to mix it with milk.
Most Tanzanian coffee varieties are grown on the slopes of Kilimanjaro and are called Kilimanjaro, Moshi or Arusha. Another coffee, grown in the south, is called Mbeya. The natural and washed Arabica have a winy and sweet flavor. Robusta species are also present.
Despite the little production, it produces an excellent Arabica coffee.
In Uganda one inhabitant out of four cultivates coffee. Most notable Robusta is called Bugishu, and has full aroma and spicy taste.
Local “Maracaibo” coffees divide into several varieties: Meridas, Caracas, Caracas Blue, Tachiras, Cucuta. From each of these qualities it derives a sweet and delicate coffee, among the most popular in the world.
Around the middle of 1860 the French missionaries introduced the first coffee in Vietnam. The production was negligible until 1980. Since 1990, production grew at a furious pace, becoming the first world coffee exporter in the production of Robusta coffee.
Coffee known as Mocha is grown in Yemen: the name comes from the port from where once the product was shipped. One of the oldest and best coffee in the world, Arabian Mocha is well known for its typical chocolate flavor. The two names by which this coffee is known in the market are Mattari and Sanani. The first has a full body and a chocolaty taste, the latter presents Sanani ‘marked and tasty acidity.
* The most accurate and updated data are available on the website of the ICO, the International Coffee Organization, www.ico.org