What do you do not eat raw but throw away after cooking? Can you guess the answer? Yes, I can hear all the coffee lovers screaming, “it’s the coffee bean”! But, do you know where the gold-standard coffee beans are grown? The answer is, all across the bean belt.
Growing the best quality coffee beans requires three things. -Environment, environment, and environment. The most suitable coffee-growing environment is high altitude and mild temperature. In addition, it should have a moist tropical climate, lots of rain, rich soil, and shaded sun.
So, where do we get a magical combination of all these simultaneously? It is in the bean belt. If you don’t know what it is, no worries. Let us take a journey through the coffee bean growing belt.
What Is A Coffee Bean Belt?
You may wear a fashion accessory belt around your waist. Similarly, the globe wears an invisible coffee belt around it. The belt represents locations where coffee bushes thrive the most. A particular part of the world provides the ideal conditions required for coffee plants’ growth for agricultural producers.
The bean belt is located along the equator between 25° North and 30° South between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. The strip extends from Central America and South America to Africa and Asia. North America and Oceania are also placed under the coffee bean belt.
Which Countries Comprise the Bean Belt?
The mysterious horizontal strip includes more than 50 countries. The reason why all these countries lie in a band is not coincidental. They share similar climates because of their geographic locations.
|COUNTRY (AFRICA)||FLAVOR PROFILE|
|Ethiopia||Chocolate, cherry, earthy, nutty, floral, herbal|
|Kenya||Floral, citrus, herbal|
|Congo||Chocolate, earthy, nutty, spicy, vanilla|
|Ivory Coast||Chocolate, earthy, nutty, spicy|
|Uganda||Creamy, vanilla, chocolate|
|Rwanda||Chocolate, nutty, floral|
|Tanzania||Woody, earthy, spicy|
|COUNTRY(CENTRAL AMERICA)||FLAVOR PROFILE|
|El Salvador||Fruit, citrus, chocolate|
|Costa Rica||Nuts, citrus|
|Honduras||Nutty, spicy, orange, caramel|
|Nicaragua||Chocolate, vanilla, pear, hazelnut|
|Guatemala||Chocolate, sweet, earthy, fruity, floral|
|Panama||Herbal, spicy, lemongrass|
|COUNTRY (SOUTH AMERICA)||FLAVOR PROFILE|
|Brazil||Chocolate, floral, fruity, spicy|
|Colombia||Nutty, citrus, fruity|
|Peru||Chocolate, nutty, earthy|
|Ecuador||Floral, fruity, caramel, nutty|
|COUNTRY (ASIA)||FLAVOR PROFILE|
|Indonesia||Chocolate, earthy, nutty|
|India||Earthy, spicy, tropical fruity|
|Vietnam||Bitter woody, vanilla, spicy|
|Myanmar||Complex, floral, fruity|
|Bali||Nutty, vanilla, chocolate, earthy|
|COUNTRY (ISLANDS)||FLAVOR PROFILE|
|Hawaii||Chocolate, berry, citrus, vanilla|
|Jamaica||Sweet, herbal, floral|
|Dominican republic||Sweet caramel|
|Puerto Rico||Chocolate, caramel, nutty, citrus|
Other countries of the bean belt include Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Cuba, Haiti, Cameroon, Liberia, Malawi, Madagascar, Guinea, Zimbabwe, etc.
Why Is Bean Belt Important?
Altitude, soil, temperature, sunshine, and rainfall: Each of the components of the environment contributes to a good coffee crop and the final taste of the cup. Coffee grown in different climates have varying taste, flavors, and aromas. However, the effect on the environment is exact. Coffee enthusiasts can even tell the differences between coffees grown only five feet apart.
Of course, a coffee tree can grow in places outside the bean belt. But nothing can beat the taste of coffee grown within the bean belt. Therefore, the specific environment needed to produce a delicious coffee cherry exists only within the coffee bean belt.
The climate should have both a dry season and a wet season with a lot of rain. And the year-round temperature should be mild, between 15 to 30°C. Devoid of considerable fluctuations in temperature. The plants thrive on warm days with shaded sun and cooler nights.
Coffee-growing regions require rich and fertile volcanic soil. The soil provides essential nutrients to the coffee trees. The best variety of Arabica coffee family grows on higher altitudes, between 1000 to 2000 meters above sea level.
All these conditions are fulfilled along the magical stretch of the bean belt. Therefore, this unique land strip is essential to growing the best quality coffee beans. It contributes to the richness of the beans we all crave for.
Countries With Interesting Coffee
Each region of different countries produces coffee with detectable taste notes and flavors. Let’s look at some countries with unique coffee production types and features.
Colombia is the third-largest producer of coffee worldwide. Colombian coffee is globally famous because of its well-balanced, mild taste. In addition, Colombia produces some of the gold-standard Arabica beans. These coffees are large and have a wonderful aftertaste.
Guatemalan coffee is one of the most aromatic and fragrant coffees worldwide. It is a full-bodied coffee with notes of chocolates and caramel sweetness. The taste profile ranges from light, sweet, and fruit-like to heavier, fuller, and chocolaty.
Hawaii is famous for growing expensive Kona coffee on its rich volcanic soil and an active volcano! This country exists within a different, more specific coffee belt. It’s known as the “Kona Coffee Belt.”
Kona coffee has been one of the most acceptable forms of coffee, dating as far back as the 18th century. It tastes well-balanced, clean, and sweet with chocolate, berry, and citrus notes. Its high demand and low production explain the high price.
Coffee production in Costa Rica is interesting because they classify beans based on the height above the ground produced. Sounds crazy, right? Here’s a short explanation.
In Costa Rica, beans grown above 3900 feet are classified as “strictly hard beans.” And these are considered the best beans. On the other hand, beans grown within the 3300-3900 feet height are classified as “good hard beans.”
Among the varieties of beans produced in Costa Rica, Caturra is the most popular one, a full-bodied coffee bean. Other popular types include Mondo Novo and Catuai.
Though new in the coffee market as a manufacturer, Kenyan coffee is taking over like a storm. The reason is the quality of the beans due to their optimal climate conditions. Kenya entered the coffee farmers market around the 19th century, aided by the French Holy Ghost Fathers.
Almost all of the coffee production in Kenya is done at the foot of Mt. Kenya, which has an excellent environment for the coffee beans to grow, and a rich soil that ensures the best bean quality.
Though considered a controversial opinion, many coffee connoisseurs go out of their way to state that Kenyan coffee is the best coffee in the market, placing them higher than Ethiopian coffee. This statement is made because of Kenya’s strict rating system for coffee bean exporters.
Around the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen is the first country ever to start growing coffee for business purposes.
Yemen’s coffee growers follow a more traditional approach; a farming method passed onto one generation from the previous one.
Yemen’s lack of water forces its hand into coffee production using the dry method. As a result, coffee beans grown in Yemen have an irregular shape and smaller size.
Arabica is the focus of the coffee industry in Yemen.
Jamaica is a country that may sound like it’s at a disadvantage for coffee production. Why? It has an active volcano near the production area, the Blue Mountains. This is a blessing in disguise of a natural disaster waiting to happen. But how?
Due to the volcanic eruptions, many different minerals come out and are introduced to the soil, making the soil rich and optimal for coffee production.
Most of Jamaica’s production contributes towards the Arabica variety.
End of the Journey
The bean belt consists of the most favorite places for coffee lovers worldwide. So next time when you are enjoying your favorite brew, find out where it came from. Think about the journey of beautiful beans from the belt to your cup. Each sip you savor speaks about its origin.
Guatemalan coffee is one of the most fragrant and aromatic coffees globally. The taste profiles range from light, sweet, and fruit-like to heavier, fuller, and chocolaty.
Countries across the bean belt provide the specific environment needed to grow coffee trees. It contributes to the richness of the beans we all crave for.
Yes, coffee can grow in places outside the strip of land within the coffee belt.