Order Online -OR - Call


Order Online -OR - Call


What are the Main Kinds of Coffee, and Where Are They Grown?

What are the Main Kinds of Coffee, and Where Are They Grown?

There are two main species of coffee plants: Arabica and Robusta. Within these two coffee species, there are more than 60 varieties of coffees. Coffee is grown in over 50 countries around the world. Of these, 30 produce over 5 million tons of coffee per year. Most coffee comes into the United States through New Orleans, San Francisco, and New York. Hawaii is the only American state where coffee is actually grown.

Around the world, coffee is grown between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, where the humid and warm climate is ideal for growing coffee.

Arabica coffees account for 70% of the world's coffee production. Arabica coffee is considered to be a superior species of coffee, with a more delicate coffee flavor, having a slightly caramel aftertaste and a more refined coffee aroma. However, Arabica coffee plants are more delicate and harder to grow than Robusta coffee plants. Arabica coffees are mostly grown in the following regions of the world:

  • South America: Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela;
  • Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama;
  • Eastern Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia;
  • Papua & New Guinea; and
  • India.

Robusta coffees account for about 30% of the world's coffee production. Robusta coffees have a higher caffeine content than Arabica coffees. Robusta coffees also have a stronger flavor than Arabica coffees, generally with a slightly woody aftertaste. Robusta coffee was first discovered growing naturally in Africa in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo. Robusta coffee is mainly grown in the following regions of the world:

  • Malaysia: Java, Sri Lanka, Sumatra, and Vietnam;
  • Western & Central Africa: Angola, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Uganda;
  • India; and
  • Brazil.
  • Another way that coffees are sometimes classified in marketing and distribution chains is according to their geographic origins used in a more generic sense. The four major "coffee types" that are sold according to this kind of classification are:

    • Arabian & African: This coffee has the most distinctive taste and is grown in countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. Arabica coffee is believed to have originated from Ethiopia.
    • The Americas (i.e., South America): The coffee grown here is present in the largest number of coffee blends. Some countries where this coffee is grown are Costa Rica, Colombia, and Guatemala. Coffee was first introduced to Colombia in the nineteenth century. Today, Colombia produces 12% of the world's coffee.
    • Exotics: This refers to coffee coming from Jamaica and Hawaii. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is very popular, and often fetches very high prices in the coffee market. The Hawaiian Kona coffee is nearly as popular as Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee.
    • The Pacific: This includes coffee from Indonesia (Java), Sumatra, New Guinea, and Sulawesi. Indonesian (Javan) coffee was once so widely traded that the term "java" became synonomous with the word "coffee."

    The biggest coffee producer is Brazil, although Vietnam recently took a large market position with large quantities of Robusta coffee. Coffee Mocha, grown in Yemen, is believed to be the first coffee used in a blend with Java coffee.

    The well known Hawaiian Kona coffees and Jamaican Blue Mountain coffees are sometimes blended with other coffee beans to provide varieties at a lower price. The resulting blended coffees are often labeled "Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee," even though they may contain a only small amount of the prestigious Jamaican coffee.

    ...written by your friends at The Coffee Brewers