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What and where is the coffee belt?

…coffee to make you smile

The Coffee Belt

Across the middle of the world around the Equator is the region known as the Coffee Belt.

Stretching roughly from the tropic of Cancer to the tropic of Capricorn. It covers countries that have warm and humid climates ideal for growing coffee. Nutrient-rich soils and ideal average temperatures ensure that coffee plants flourish and thrive here.

Covering South and Central America, Africa, and Asia, it is divided between those countries best suited to growing either Arabica or Robusta coffees (also known as coffee Canephora) and it is responsible for providing the majority of the coffee that is consumed worldwide.

the coffee belt

Major Coffee Producing Countries

Among the tropical-equatorial coffee-growing countries of the coffee belt, Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, India, Uganda, Mexico and Guatemala are among the top 10 largest (raw) coffee producers. 

Vietnam is the second-largest exporter of coffee in the world, and Africa, Ethiopia, and Uganda dominate the market. In West Africa, the largest national producer is the Ivory Coast.

Both Arabica and Robusta varieties are grown in Brazil, although Arabica leads the way.

Specialist Coffee From South America and Africa

Other South American countries grow coffee beans with rarer and more specialised flavours. Colombia, for example, grows one of the most expensive coffees in the world, Hacienda El Roble. Just 22kg a year are produced.

Robusta/Canephora grows indigenously in Western and Central Africa from Liberia to Tanzania and south to Angola.

It is less susceptible to disease than Arabica. Robusta is the cheapest to produce because it is easy to care for, has a greater crop yield, has almost double the amount of caffeine and has more antioxidants.

Arabica remains the most popular as Robusta tends to produce a strong, full-bodied coffee with a distinctive earthy flavour, but usually with more bitterness than Arabica.

Liberica or Liberian Coffee

In addition to Arabica and Robusta there is a lesser-known variety of coffee, liberica, commonly known as the Liberian coffee, native to western and central Africa (from Liberia to Uganda and Angola). The size of the cherries, the beans, and the leaves are also among the largest of all coffee varieties. Liberica accounts for less than 1.5% of commercial coffee grown.

Liberica coffee has a fruity and floral aroma; however, it produces woody, full-bodied tasting notes. The beans also have a significantly lower level of caffeine compared to Arabica and Robusta coffee beans.

Smaller Coffee Producing Countries

Less well-known countries producing coffee include Australia, Jamaica, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Jamaica, of course, is where the cleverly branded and marketed Jamaican Blue Mountain hails from*. The largest coffee-producing region among these is Hawaii, where Kona and ‘Kona coffee’ has become a popular brand name.

*If you like Jamaican Blue Mountain, you may also wish to try our Christopher Montrose ‘Drip Brew Special’ which, in spite of its name, also makes a marvellous espresso. We crafted our Drip Brew Special blend to be like Jamaican Blue Mountain but to cost much less. Indeed, many of our patrons, baristas, and chefs think that our Drip Brew Special tastes better and are delighted with the result. 

CHRISTOPHER MONTROSE COFFEE
…coffee to make you smile
London. Paris. New York
+44 (0)20 3627 0969 [email protected]
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