Our coffee comes from more than 20 countries around the world. These countries make up part of the ‘Bean Belt’ – an area around the tropics where coffee plants can be grown successfully. Coffee can be found in Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Coffee grows best in the tropics because it is best suited to mild temperatures, loves lots of rain, rich soil, and shaded sun. Soil, climate, and altitude all influence the taste of the coffee beans, so coffee from each region tastes different and unique.
In Central America, coffee tends to have fruity flavours such as apple or cherry, with a hint of chocolate or a buttery finish. This results in a balanced cup when the beans are roasted. Countries like Honduras and Costa Rica are renowned for creating coffees that have a broad appeal to many coffee lovers.
South America is the world’s biggest exporter of coffee. If you’re looking for coffee, this is where you should start. It forms a critical part of the economies in Brazil, Colombia, and Peru. As the biggest producer of coffee, Brazil annually exports 2.5 million tons of coffee every year.
Coffee from South America varies thanks to the diverse geography of the continent. From Peru, you can expect floral and herbal flavours. While in Colombia, coffee is more full-bodied with a caramel flavour and a nutty undertone. Coffee from Brazil is much heavier bodied, making it perfect for espresso blends.
About 12% of the world’s coffee comes from Africa. Ethiopia and Uganda dominate the region's coffee production. 62% of sub-Saharan Africa's coffee output comes from these two countries. It is rumoured that coffee originally comes from Ethiopia. As such, Ethiopian coffee is often prized by connoisseurs.
Coffee in Africa is amazingly diverse. In Ethiopia alone, you can find coffee ranging from blends with fruity, almost wine-like tones to Ghimbi coffee, which is renowned for its sharp acidity and complex flavours. Africa is sometimes called the Cradle of Coffee. And it’s a moniker that’s well earned.
The Middle East
Arabic coffee in the Middle East is known for its unique serve and aromatic flavours. You’ll often find Cardamom used to spice it up. Coffeehouse culture began in the Middle East, where it soon spread to the rest of the world. Traditional Arab coffeehouses are places where mostly men meet to socialize over games, coffee, and water pipes.
You will usually find arabica coffee beans in the Middle East. As the most popular coffee bean, there is little variation from other regions. What makes Middle Eastern coffee special is the way it’s produced and served.
More coffee comes from Asia than you might think. Indonesia produces a third of the world’s coffee beans, favouring the robusta coffee beans. From the islands of the South Pacific, to countries like Vietnam, coffee is a major export crop for Asia. And some of them have only recently got into the game. While coffee has been grown in Indonesia since the 1600s, Thailand only started growing it in the 1970s.
Coffee from Asia is as varied as the countries that grow it. However, most of the coffee is of the robusta variety. Roasted robusta beans produce a strong, full-bodied coffee with a distinctive, earthy flavour. It is used in Italian espresso blends to create its famously powerful taste.