Among 80 different countries, only 50 of them are capable of producing coffee at an industrial rate. Like grapes, coffee has a taste that is influenced by a variety of factors such as social, climate, and growing conditions as well as altitudes above sea level. When it comes to having the best coffee in the world, it’s usually the highest quality.
There are five countries which seem to have the highest amount; Colombia, Guatemala, Costa Rica, the Arabian Peninsula, and Ethiopia. As these countries reside near the equator, coffee plants need to be grown in tropical-like climates where they can receive plenty of water, just enough sunshine, and no frost.
Colombia supplies 15% of the world’s coffee, making them considered to be a giant in the coffee business. Arabica coffee is their main bean produced, typically known for their high-quality and to be America’s top choice.
Colombia has a long history of coffee growing, dating back all the way to the early 1700s. It has become such a dominant crop that it has about 2.3 million acres of land to produce coffee plants. 885 metric tons of coffee beans a year.
Around 555,000 coffee growers reside in Colombia. Most Colombian coffee plantations are even family owned. Handed down from generation to generation, coffee plantations have been in the family since coffee was produced.
Due to the country’s perfect soil, excellent climate, and the right amount of sunshine and rainfall, coffee plants thrive in Colombia due it’s perfect mixture of plant care. Farmers pick the cherries when they're ripe by hand, making the picking process easier to harvest the most immaculate bean.
Guatemala is known for high-quality coffee because of their plantations being amongst the mountainous areas of the country. Due to receiving a higher altitude, these beans develop a more intense, tart flavor, becoming some of the best Robusta beans out there.
The rich, volcanic soil and microclimates help create the rich flavors in the coffees grown in Guatemala, giving off hints of chocolate or spices. Due to the three volcanoes in the country, it gives the soil extra nutrition and the coffee smoky notes.
With the high altitudes in Huehuetenango region, the coffee grown there is given a caramel-like sweetness, making a few Arabica beans taste like gold.
Guatemala produces about 225 metric tons of coffee beans a year. Over 100,000 people are part of the production of coffee beans. Anacafe, the National Coffee Association in Guatemala, helps with the research of the best coffee around the world, promoting Guatemalan coffee to be one of the highest in quality.
Costa Rica is known for its classical taste in their coffee, giving them a good reputation. Their Arabica beans are wet-processed, giving the beans a less sweeter taste while still giving a smooth mouthfeel.
With high altitudes and mild temperatures, Costa Rica makes some of the world’s most delicate beans, making them some of the highest in quality. Similar to Guatemala, their soils are mixed with volcanic ash from their mountainous regions. This soil will give off a rich, walnut-like flavor to any of their coffee plantations.
One percent of the world’s coffee is produced by Costa Rica, but that is because pineapples and bananas are their main export. It may seem like a small amount, but 90 out of the 555,000 coffee farmers reside in Costa Rica who work on less than five acres.
Similar to Colombia, their farmers pick the coffee cherries by hand in order to achieve the ripest of beans to harvest. They dry process their beans in order to keep the mucilage intact, giving the beans a honey-like sweetness to them.
Most of their beans have some sort of honey-like flavor. Depending on how much mulicage is removed, the beans can be White Honey (80-90% removed), Yellow Honey (50% removed), Red Honey (80-90% removed, dried in shady areas), and Black Honey (none removed).
The Arabian Peninsula is made up of Oman, Saudi Arabia and the southwest of Yemen. Coffee began to be produced in the Yemen district of Arabia in the 15th century, becoming the second oldest country to produce coffee.
At the beginning, coffee was used for medical and religious purposes, but soon became popular in everyday life. It is still used for religious reasons after prayer, but has become a leisure delicacy.
Their most famous coffee is known as the “Arabian Mocha” as it has been grown and cultivated for centuries in the mountains of Yemen. You wouldn’t expect such flavors like chocolate wine to come from small, unstandardized shaped beans. But due to the process of drying the beans instead of weting them, the sweetness has been captured in each bean.
On average, 482 metric tons of coffee are produced annually in Ethiopia. The country has been thought to be the original home of Arabica coffee, due to its familiar legend of Kaldi.
Some of the world’s best coffee varieties have grown in Ethiopia, like “Harrar”. This coffee bean is grown in the highlands of the eastern part of Ethiopia where the plants are grown on small coffee farms. This gives the beans a dark dry wine taste, but depending on the growth conditions they can also be spicy or fruity.