What is the Coffee Belt?

Aug 5, 2019 | Curiosities

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What is the Coffee Belt?

This phrase is likely new to you, but do not feel bad about this, since it is a term that is not used very often in our vocabulary.

While coffee is known and consumed worldwide, it is only grown in a specific area; this area is called “Coffee Belt”.

It receives this name because the area where coffee is grown around the world is delimited between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Looking at this area on the globe, you can see that it forms a belt.

Coffee belt

Coffee belt | Credits: sehablacafe.com

Why is coffee grown in this area?

We might think that countries such as the United States, Italy or France, due to their high consumption of coffee, are large producers of the same however they only dedicate themselves to roasting the beans and distributing them. Since its soils and climates are not suitable for coffee trees to survive.

Coffee is a plant that requires certain conditions to develop and prosper successfully. Those conditions are; Tropical climates, warm temperatures, alternating wet and dry cycles, height, and soil characteristics. These conditions are only found in the coffee belt.

Two species of coffee trees are most cultivated worldwide, Arabica and robusta. Each species requires different environmental conditions.

For example, Arabica coffee comes from regions that are at a height of more than 900 meters above sea level, the average temperature at this height is around 20° C. It requires great care and is a coffee that best preserves its characteristics, is more fragrant and aromatic and easier to distinguish its notes.

Robusta coffee can be grown at lower heights, is more resistant to climatic changes. It does not require as much care as Arabica and is a bitter coffee with enough body.
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Countries in the Coffee Belt

Not all countries located in the belt produce coffee. According to the data collected by the International Coffee Organization (ICO), only 54 countries produce all the coffee consumed in the world. These countries are distributed in 3 major regions: Latin America, Africa / Arabia, and Asia / Pacific.

The 10 countries with the highest coffee production in 2018, according to the International Coffee Organization were:

Place

Country

Species

Production

(Thousands of bags of 60 Kg)

1BrazilArabica / Robusta51.000
2VietnamRobusta / Arabica29.500
3ColombiaArabica14.000
4IndonesiaRobusta / Arabica10.902
5HonduraArabica8.349
6EthiopiaArabica7.650
7IndiaRobusta / Arabica5.840
8UgandaRobusta / Arabica5.100
9PeruArabica4.280
10MexicoArabica4.000
coffee belt - highest coffee production in 2018

10 countries with the highest coffee production in 2018, according to the ICO | Credits: sehablacafe.com

As an interesting fact, depending on the region where coffee is grown, these will have certain characteristic notes and nuances.

ELatin America: This region is known for giving coffee flavors balanced cocoa or nuts, as well as intense and pleasant acidity.

EAfrica / Arabia: The coffees of this region are characterized by their notes of citrus fruits, floral aromas, chocolate, and spices.

EAsia / Pacific: This region is where many of the most popular mixes are born, their coffees tend to be robust, earthy notes and spicy flavors.

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