Doppio Coffee, UK based coffee company, have put together this incredibly informative blog post highlighting coffee beans from around the world. Read on and make sure you are close to coffee because you’ll be wanting a cuppa after this.
The international coffee trade is one of the largest parts of the global economy. In 2014, coffee was the second-most valuable global commodity behind petroleum, with the sector employing more than 25 million farmers globally (Globalexchange.org, 2015). The export industry alone is worth more than USD $20 billion annually.
Coffee is a truly global crop, with more than 50 countries growing and exporting coffee beans. Most of the coffee in the export market comes from the Americas, where 67 per cent of the world’s coffee is grown (Gourmetcoffeelovers.com, 2015).
One major benefit of coffee being a global crop is that consumers can enjoy more types of coffee from different growing regions. Here are the top 10 coffee producing countries and how their coffee beans taste written by Arik Weiss, CEO and Founder of London based coffee wholesale company Doppio Coffee.
Brazil is the largest producer of coffee beans by a huge margin. In 2014, Brazil produced 2,720,520 metric tons of coffee beans, 40% more than the next highest country. That is approximately 45,342,000 60-kilogram bags of coffee beans.
The country has remained the biggest producer of coffee beans for the last 100+ years, a trend that has no sign of ending soon. There are an estimated 220,000 Coffee plantations in Brazil, covering more than 27,000 km² (10,000 sq miles).
Brazilian coffee production is dominated by arabica and robusta varieties. Much of the coffee produced in Brazil is processed using the pulped natural technique. The skin of the coffee cherry is removed, but the fruity mucilage is left intact during drying. The process gives the coffee more body, lower acidity and a fruity flavour. It adds a peanut-like quality to the flavour with hints of chocolate and spices. Brazilian coffee is popular globally.
Many American coffee consumers don’t associate Vietnam with coffee, but the country has a huge coffee export industry. Vietnam exported 1,650,000 metric tons of coffee in 2014, equivalent to about 27,500,000 60-kilogram bags of coffee. Coffee is the second-largest export commodity for the country, behind rice.
Most of the coffee produced in Vietnam is the robusta variety, which is very popular in Europe. Coffee drinkers in the United States mostly consume arabica coffee, which explains why less Americans associate Vietnam with coffee.
Coffee didn’t come to Vietnam until the 19th-Century, when the French brought it to the country. Vietnamese robusta coffee is full bodied, strong and has a high level of caffeine. Vietnamese coffee is very popular in Italy because its qualities are useful for brewing espresso.
Columbia is another country that is synonymous with coffee. In 2014, the country exported 696,000 metric tons of coffee, approximately 11,600,000 60-kilogram bags. Columbian coffee has a great reputation for producing high-quality beans and is often regarded as the best coffee in the world.
The country mostly produces arabica coffee beans — despite being the 3rd highest producer of all coffee beans, it is the world’s leading producer of arabica beans. The coffee produced in Columbia is mild in flavour yet very well balanced. Depending on the region of Colombia where the bean comes from, it may have a sweet, chocolatey or buttery flavour to it. The balance between fruitiness and sweetness is why Colombian coffee is so popular.
Another unexpected powerhouse of coffee production, Indonesia produced 411,000 metric tons of coffee for export in 2014 (6,850,000 60-kilogram bags). Indonesia has the perfect climate and geography for growing coffee beans and the industry has rapidly expanded and improved over the past few decades. They mostly produce robusta beans with only 25% of the coffee produced being the arabica variety.
Indonesian coffee is usually low in acid, with a strong body. They are often used in blends with higher-acid coffees from central America. The beans have a very dark and earthy flavour, which is ideal for dark roasting. Robusta beans from Indonesia can be somewhat herbaceous and savoury, with a smokey taste.
Indonesia is famous for its Kopi Luwak coffee — the coffee that is eaten by the palm civit (a cat-like creature), which partially digests the berry and defecates it. The beans are gathered from the droppings and used to make a delicious (and unique!) cup of coffee.
Ethiopia has built a strong reputation as a coffee producer in recent years. The country exported an impressive 390,000 metric tons of beans in 2014, making it the 5th-largest exporter in the world. It is estimated that 60% of the country’s income comes from the production of coffee — making it a crucial component of their economy.
They mostly produce arabica coffee in three distinct varieties — Longberry, Shortberry, and Mocha. They also use a different processing technique similar to the Brazilian method where the cherry is dried around the bean before being removed. This processing technique enhances the fruitiness and flavour of the coffee bean.
Ethiopian beans produced using the more common washing method have a more delicate flavour. The mocha arabica beans are particularly sought after and have complex chocolate, spice and citrus flavours.
Just behind Ethiopia, India produces approximately 300,300 metric tons of coffee for export each year. Coffee produced in India is mostly grown in the southern states of the country. Coffee production is an important industry with more than 250,000 growers. Most of the coffee grown in India is exported to Europe and Russia.
Both arabica and robusta are grown in India. The coffee has a slightly spicier flavour than beans grown in other parts of the world. Some varieties have a musky and deep flavour, while the arabica beans can sometimes have a hint of chocolate.
Mexico has managed to increase its export of coffee in recent years, jumping from #9 in the world to #7 with 270,000 metric tons in 2014. They mostly produce arabica beans, most of which is exported to the United States.
The highest quality Mexican coffee can resemble Colombian coffee — good balance, fruitiness and a cocoa-like flavour.
Coffee production is a hugely important part of the Guatemalan economy. The country exported approximately 240,000 metric tons in 2014. The country produces mostly arabica beans similar in quality to Columbian coffee — fruity, balanced and sweet. It is mostly exported to the United States.
A recent entry in the top 10 coffee exporting countries, Peru is the #5 highest exported of arabica coffee. The country produced 210,000 metric tons of export coffee in 2014, continuing a strong period of growth.
The coffee from Peru has low acidity, a strong caramel sweetness and it often has a nutty undertone. It is sweet and balanced, like the coffee from most other South American coffee producers. The coffee produced in Peru is mostly exported to the USA, Germany, Belgium, Colombia, and Sweden.
Honduras rounds out the top 10, with 162,000 metric tons of export coffee produced in 2014. The climate and geography in Honduras is very similar to Guatemala, leading to beans produced by both countries having a similar flavour. Honduras has become the latest producer of coffee beans in Central America over the past few decades.
Most of the coffee grown in Honduras is exported to the United States. Low acid, Well-balanced, fruity with hints of cocoa, Honduras beans make a delicious cup of coffee.
Originally posted in Coffey and Cake
Arik Weiss, CEO and Founder of London based coffee wholesale company Doppio Coffee. He has extensive experience in the coffee industry in various roles.
Globalexchange.org,. (2015). Coffee FAQ | Global Exchange. Retrieved 3 December 2015, from http://www.globalexchange.org/fairtrade/coffee/faq
Gourmetcoffeelovers.com,. (2015). All About Coffee. Retrieved 3 December 2015, from http://www.gourmetcoffeelovers.com/all-about-coffee/