How Coffee is Grown and Harvested in Various Countries
So many of us enjoy the flavours, aroma and even lifestyle that great coffee brings to us. Despite this, only a few of us are aware of how it is grown and harvested throughout regions and countries all over the world.
The things that influence the harvesting of coffee are often region specific, such as the chemistry of the soil, the weather, the amount of rainfall and sunshine, the environment, and even the precise altitude at which the coffee grows.
These key variables, combined with the way the cherries are processed after being picked, contribute to the distinctions between coffees from countries, growing regions and plantations worldwide.
Coffee is currently grown exponentially in more than 50 countries around the world, but we thought we’d focus on slightly lesser known coffee producing countries so that you can gain some niche knowledge and be the envy of your fellow coffee-loving peers both at home and at the coffee shop.
Hawaii’s Kona coffee is always in high demand. It is within the Hawaii Islands that nature provides just the right environment for the coffee trees on the slopes of the active Mauna Loa volcano.
Young trees are planted in black, volcanic soil so new that it can appear as though farmers are growing seedlings in rock. Afternoon shade from tropical clouds forms a natural canopy over the trees to protect them from the effects of intense sunshine, and frequent island showers give the plants a perfect amount of rain, allowing them to blossom beautifully.
Small coffee farms are more common than large plantations in Mexico, but due to the sheer volume of coffee farmers, over 100,000, Mexico ranks as one of the largest coffee producing countries in the world. Most farms are in the southern states of Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas. Mexico provides an excellent bean for dark roasts and is often used in blends. A Mexican coffee designated as Altura means that it was grown at high altitudes.
In the country where coffee was commercially cultivated for the first time, coffee in Yemen is still grown in the age-old, century-proven manner. Since water is fairly scare due to the lack of rainfall, coffee beans grown here tend to be smaller and less predictable in size and shape. Less use of water also means that the coffee cherries will be dry processed only after they’ve been harvested. The result is that Yemeni coffee has a distinctive taste that is deep, rich and like no other.
In ancient history, it’s been documented that when coffee was shipped from the famous Yemeni port of Mocha to destinations all over the world, the word Mocha became synonymous with Arabian coffee. The Netherlands began combining Arabian coffee with coffee grown on the island of Java to make the first coffee blend, which is still renowned to this day: the Mocha Java.
While arguably not as recognised as some of its South American neighbours, such as Brazil, Guatemala's coffee has a distinctive taste quality favoured by many for its rich flavour. There are three main growing areas of Guatemala: Antigua, Coban and Huehuetanango.
Each of these locations have a stunningly rugged landscape and a rich volcanic soil. Microclimates have a huge influence on the quality and flavour of the coffee beans, with some even grown at altitudes of more than 4500 feet!
Costa Rica is unique for producing only wet-processed Arabicas. With its medium body and sharp acidity, it’s often described as achieving a fine, delicate coffee balance. Costa Rican coffee is mainly grown on small farms or fincas. After harvest, the cherries are carefully taken to state-of-the-art processing facilities, known as beneficios, where wet method processing is initialised.
The attention shown to quality processing and conscientious growing methods – ethically, environmentally and economically – have built Costa Rica’s reputation for the brilliant delivery of great coffee.
With their coffee predominantly grown on the foothills of Mount Kenya, Kenyan producers often place an unparalleled emphasis on quality and as a result, processing and drying procedures are stringently controlled and monitored. Fascinatingly, Kenya has its own unique coffee bean grading system. Kenyan AA is the largest bean in a 10-size grading system, and AA+ means that it was estate grown.
We end our list with a high profile coffee harvesting region that is often in Brazil’s shadow as the second highest yearly producer. However, Columbia prides itself on maintaining a standard of excellence when it comes to coffee; with thousands of small family coffee farms across the land providing the love, care and expertise that goes into both exported coffee and coffee for their fellow people.
The rugged Colombian landscape provides an amazing natural environment for growing, however due to a challenging terrain, the transport of harvested coffee beans to production and shipment centres is still often done by jeep or mule; even in the present day.
Colombian Supremo, the highest grade of coffee in Columbia, has an, delicate and enveloping sweetness while Excelso Grade is softer and slightly more acidic.
Now that you know more about the ways coffee can be harvested, and the impact that the environment can have on the growth of coffee beans in different parts regions of the world, you might sense that even the minutest details can have an impact on the type of coffee and taste that you produce.
This is why using right coffee preparation and using the highest quality equipment is so important when you’re striving to make the kind of coffee that’s simply unrivalled in excellence; soon converting the envy we spoke of earlier into appreciation and admiration for both your coffee and your skills
Coffee Hit can help you achieve these goals and have you making the beverages of your dreams in no time at all. Browse our ranges of manual coffee brewers,electric coffee makers and coffee gear to get the equipment that you need to deliver the aromas and flavours, that lay within your beans of choice, impeccably.
Take no half-cup measures with the things that you love in life!