The World’s Leading Coffee-Producing Countries

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Coffee is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, with billions of cups consumed daily.

The production of coffee is a major industry, with countries in the coffee belt growing and exporting coffee beans. The coffee belt includes many countries that fall within the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

In this article, we will take a look at the top coffee-producing countries in the world and examine their unique contributions to the global coffee market. From the lush, volcanic soils of Brazil to the misty, high-altitude farms of Ethiopia, these countries produce some of the most sought-after and delicious coffees on the planet.

We will also discuss the challenges that these countries face in the coffee industry, and the efforts they are making to improve their reputation and quality. Whether you’re a coffee lover or just curious about the industry, this article will provide a comprehensive overview of the top coffee-producing countries in the world.

Worlds coffee regions

14 Coffee-producing Countries

These are not necessarily the top 14, just a selection of noticeable coffee-producing countries and the weight of coffee they produce annually.

1. Brazil – 5.7 billion pounds

The largest coffee producer in the world, Brazil is known for its high-volume and consistent coffee production. The country’s diverse landscape and ideal climate make it perfect for growing a variety of coffee varieties.

Brazilian coffee is known for its high quality and consistent flavor profile. The country has a long history of coffee cultivation, dating back to the 18th century. It is the largest coffee producer in the world, and its coffee beans make up about a third of the world’s coffee production.

The coffee is grown on large and small farms, mostly in the southern and southeastern regions. The coffee is grown at elevations between 600 and 1,200 meters above sea level, which allows for a fast maturation process and a consistent bean. The country’s diverse microclimates and soil conditions allow for a variety of coffee varieties, such as Bourbon, Catuai, and Mundo Novo.

Brazilian coffee is typically processed using the dry method, where the cherries are removed from the coffee beans and then left to dry in the sun. This method allows for a consistent and mild flavor profile, with notes of chocolate and nuts.

The coffee grown in Brazil is known for its consistent and high-quality varieties, the most famous being Santos, which is considered one of the best coffee-producing regions in the country. This variety offers a smooth and mild cup with notes of chocolate and nuts. Another famous variety is the Mogiana, which is known for its balanced and rich flavor profile.

Brazilian coffee is considered a commodity coffee, and it’s widely used for blending and commercial purposes. The country is also committed to sustainable and ethical coffee production, with many farmers implementing organic and shade-grown methods.

2. Vietnam – 3.6 billion pounds

Vietnam is one of the largest coffee producers in the world, second only to Brazil. The country has a long history of coffee cultivation, dating back to the late 19th century when it was introduced by French colonizers. Today, coffee is an important part of Vietnam’s economy, with the majority of production taking place in the Central Highlands region.

Coffee is grown mainly on small farms, with the average farm size being around 2-3 hectares. The main variety grown is Arabica, although there is also a significant amount of Robusta produced as well. The coffee is grown in a tropical climate, with high temperatures, ample rainfall, and rich soil.

Vietnam’s coffee industry has grown rapidly in recent years, with exports increasing by over 20% annually. The country is now a major supplier of coffee to countries like the United States, Japan, and Germany. The majority of the coffee is exported in the form of green beans, although there is also a growing market for instant coffee and coffee-based products.

One of the challenges facing Vietnam’s coffee industry is the low productivity of its coffee farms. The average yield per hectare is around 1.5 tons, which is much lower than other major coffee-producing countries. This is due to a lack of investment in modern farming techniques and equipment, as well as a lack of education and training for farmers.

In recent years, there have been efforts to improve the productivity of Vietnam’s coffee farms. The government has invested in research and development, and there are a growing number of private sector organizations working to support farmers. These efforts are helping to increase yields and improve the quality of Vietnam’s coffee, making it more competitive in the global market.

3. Colombia – 1.7 billion pounds

Known for its high-quality Arabica beans, Colombia is the third-largest coffee producer in the world. The country’s diverse landscape and ideal climate make it perfect for growing a variety of coffee varieties.

Colombia is one of the most renowned coffee-producing countries in the world, known for its high-quality Arabica beans. The country’s diverse landscape and ideal climate make it perfect for growing a variety of coffee varieties, resulting in coffees that are rich, well-balanced, and flavorful.

One of the main reasons for the success of Colombian coffee is the country’s ideal growing conditions. With a range of altitudes and microclimates, Colombian farmers are able to grow a wide variety of coffee varieties and cultivars.

The Andean region, for example, is home to high-altitude coffee farms where the cool temperatures and high rainfall provide the perfect environment for growing Arabica beans.

In contrast, the lower-altitude regions such as the Magdalena and Cauca Valleys offer a warmer and drier climate that is ideal for growing Robusta beans.

Colombian coffee is also known for its consistent quality. The country has strict regulations in place for coffee production, ensuring that only the highest-quality beans make it to the market. Colombian coffee farmers also take great care in the processing and drying of their beans, using traditional methods passed down through generations to ensure that the coffee retains its unique flavor profile.

Colombia is also known for its socially responsible and sustainable coffee production. Many farmers in the country are part of cooperatives that focus on improving the lives of farmers and their communities. The country has also invested in research and development to improve coffee production and promote sustainable farming practices.

A friend of mine insists that Colombian coffee is the best in the world. He may be right but since he comes from Columbia his opinion may be a little biased.

Harvesting coffee in sacks in Colombia
Coffee harvesting in Colombia

4. Indonesia – 1.4 billion pounds

Indonesia is known for producing unique and complex coffees and is home to a wide variety of coffee varieties and cultivars including Arabica and Robusta, which are grown on the islands of Sumatra, Java, and Sulawesi. The country’s diverse landscape and ideal climate make it perfect for growing a variety of coffee.

The flavor profile of Indonesian coffee is heavily influenced by the country’s unique terroir and processing methods. The beans that are grown in :

  • Sumatra are known for their earthy, full-bodied taste with notes of chocolate and low acidity.
  • Java beans, on the other hand, have a more balanced, smooth taste with a hint of sweetness.
  • Sulawesi beans are known for their rich, complex, and full-bodied taste with notes of dark chocolate, tobacco and some smokiness.

Indonesia’s traditional wet-hulling process also contributes to the unique flavor profile of its coffee. This method involves removing the outer layers of the coffee cherry before the bean is fully dried, which results in a distinct earthy and musky taste.

Indonesia’s coffee industry has been facing some challenges, such as the low quality of some of the beans produced and the low price that the farmers receive. However, there are also farmers and cooperatives that are working hard to improve the quality and reputation of Indonesian coffee by using sustainable farming practices and implementing proper post-harvest processing methods.

In recent years, Indonesian coffee has gained recognition in the specialty coffee industry, with more and more roasters and coffee shops starting to source and serve Indonesian beans. The country’s beans are becoming increasingly popular among coffee enthusiasts who are looking to explore new and unique flavors.

5. Ethiopia – 846 million pounds

Often referred to as the “birthplace of coffee,” Ethiopia is home to countless coffee varieties and cultivars. The country’s unique terroir and traditional farming methods result in some of the most complex and flavorful coffees in the world.

Ethiopia is considered to be one of the oldest and most traditional coffee-producing countries in the world. The coffee plant, Coffea Arabica, originated in the Kaffa region of Ethiopia and has been grown there for centuries.

Ethiopian coffee is grown on small, family-owned farms, with traditional methods passed down from generation to generation. The coffee is typically grown in high altitudes, between 1,500 and 2,000 meters above sea level, which allows for a slower maturation process and a more flavorful bean.

The coffee is typically processed using the wet method, where the cherries are first removed from the coffee beans, then the beans are fermented and washed. This method allows for a more nuanced flavor profile, with notes of fruit, berry, and floral notes.

Ethiopian coffee is also known for its unique and diverse varieties, with over 7,000 known varieties found in the country. The most famous varieties include Harar, Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, and Limu. These varieties offer a wide range of flavor profiles, from fruity and floral to chocolatey and nutty.

Ethiopian coffee is considered a specialty coffee, and it is highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs around the world. The country is also the largest exporter of organic coffee and is committed to sustainable and ethical coffee production.

Ethiopia is also the birthplace of the famous coffee ceremony, which is an important social and cultural ritual that is still practiced today. Coffee is considered a sacred drink and is often served to guests as a sign of hospitality.

6. Honduras – 767 million pounds

Honduras is one of the largest producers of coffee in Central America, with a history of coffee cultivation dating back to the 18th century.

The country has a diverse landscape, including mountains and valleys, which provide ideal growing conditions for coffee. The majority of coffee production in Honduras is concentrated in the western and central regions of the country, with the department of Copán being the largest coffee-producing area.

Coffee is a major economic factor for Honduras, with the industry providing jobs and income for many families. The country is known for producing high-quality coffee beans, with many farms using traditional methods of cultivation. The country’s coffee is grown on smallholder farms, and as a result, the majority of the coffee production is organic and shade-grown. As a happy bi-product, this method of cultivation provides a habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.

The coffee industry in Honduras has been hit hard by the recent coffee leaf rust outbreak. This disease, caused by a fungus, has affected coffee crops in many countries in Central and South America. The outbreak has led to a significant reduction in coffee production and income for farmers. The government and international organizations have been working to support farmers in the recovery from this outbreak and to improve production methods and quality.

Despite the challenges, Honduras continues to be a major player in the global coffee market, exporting coffee to countries all over the world. The country is also a member of the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA), which promotes the production of high-quality coffee beans.

7. India – 767 million pounds

India is one of the world’s top coffee producers, with a history of coffee cultivation dating back to the 18th century. The majority of the coffee production in India takes place in the southern states of Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu. These states have a favorable climate, soil, and altitude for coffee cultivation. The coffee produced in India is mainly of the Arabica variety, which is known for its mild flavor and low acidity.

Coffee is an important crop for India, providing livelihoods for millions of smallholder farmers. Coffee production in India is mainly done on small landholdings, with the average size of a coffee farm being around 3-4 hectares. Many of these farmers are part of cooperatives, which provide them with technical and financial assistance, as well as access to markets.

The Indian coffee industry is facing challenges such as rising labor costs, aging trees, and poor infrastructure. There’s also a lack of investment in research and development, which limits the ability to improve the yield and quality of coffee beans. The industry is also facing competition from other crops like rubber and tea.

Despite these challenges, the Indian coffee industry continues to grow, with the country exporting coffee to over 80 countries worldwide. India is also a member of the International Coffee Organization (ICO), which promotes the production and consumption of coffee. The Indian government also supports the coffee industry through various policies and programs aimed at improving the livelihoods of farmers and increasing the productivity and quality of the crop.

how to harvest cherry bean coffee

8. Guatemala – 449 million pounds

Known for its vibrant and complex coffees, Guatemala is home to a wide variety of coffee varieties and cultivars. The country’s diverse landscape and ideal climate make it perfect for growing a variety of coffee.

Guatemalan coffee is known for its unique and complex flavor profile. The country has a long history of coffee cultivation, dating back to the early 19th century. It is considered one of the top coffee-producing countries in Central America and is known for its strict quality standards.

Guatemalan coffee is grown on small family-owned farms and cooperatives, mostly on the highlands region. The coffee is grown at elevations between 1,200 and 1,800 meters above sea level, which allows for a slow maturation process and a more flavorful bean. The country’s diverse microclimates and soil conditions allow for a variety of coffee varieties, such as Bourbon, Caturra, and Catuai.

Guatemalan coffee is typically processed using the wet method, where the cherries are first removed from the coffee beans and then the beans are fermented and washed. This method allows for a clean and bright flavor profile, with notes of chocolate, nuts, and a hint of fruity taste.

Guatemalan coffee is known for its unique and diverse varieties, the most famous being Antigua, which is considered one of the best coffee-producing regions in the country. This variety offers a smooth, balanced and medium-bodied cup with notes of chocolate, nuts, and a hint of fruity taste. Another famous variety is Atitlan, which is known for its complex and rich flavor profile.

Guatemalan coffee is considered a specialty coffee, and it’s highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs around the world. The country is also committed to sustainable and ethical coffee production, with many farmers implementing organic and shade-grown methods.

9. Costa Rica – 197 million pounds

Known for its sustainable and socially responsible coffee production, Costa Rica is home to some of the highest-quality Arabica beans in the world. The country’s volcanic soil and ideal climate make it a great place for growing coffee.

Costa Rican coffee is known for its high quality and unique flavor profile. The country has a long history of coffee cultivation, dating back to the early 19th century. It is considered one of the top coffee-producing countries in the world and is known for its strict quality standards.

Costa Rican coffee is grown on small family-owned farms and cooperatives, mostly on the Central Valley region. The coffee is grown at elevations between 1,200 and 1,800 meters above sea level, which allows for a slow maturation process and a more flavorful bean. The country has a diverse range of microclimates, which allows for a variety of coffee varieties, such as Arabica and Catuai.

Costa Rican coffee is typically processed using the wet method, where the cherries are first removed from the coffee beans and then the beans are fermented and washed. This method allows for a clean and bright flavor profile, with notes of citrus and chocolate.

Costa Rican coffee is known for its unique and diverse varieties, the most famous being Tarrazu, which is considered one of the best coffee-producing regions in the country. This variety offers a bright, acidic and clean cup with notes of citrus and chocolate. Another famous variety is Tres Rios, which is known for its balanced and smooth flavor profile.

Costa Rican coffee is considered a specialty coffee and it’s highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs around the world. The country is also committed to sustainable and ethical coffee production, with many farmers implementing organic and shade-grown methods.

10. Kenya – 110 million pounds

Known for its bright and fruity coffees, Kenya is one of the most renowned coffee-producing countries in Africa. The country’s high altitudes, volcanic soil, and ideal climate make it perfect for growing high-quality coffee.

Kenyan coffee is known for its unique and complex flavor profile. The country has a long history of coffee cultivation, dating back to the early 20th century. It is considered one of the top coffee-producing countries in Africa and is known for its strict quality standards.

Kenyan coffee is grown on small family-owned farms and cooperatives, mostly in the highlands region. The coffee is grown at elevations between 1,200 and 2,200 meters above sea level, which allows for a slow maturation process and a more flavorful bean. The country’s diverse microclimates and soil conditions allow for a variety of coffee varieties, such as SL28, SL34, Ruiru 11, and Batian.

Kenyan coffee is typically processed using the wet method, where the cherries are first removed from the coffee beans, then the beans are fermented and washed. This method allows for a complex and nuanced flavor profile, with notes of berry, citrus, and floral.

Kenyan coffee is known for its unique and diverse varieties, the most famous being Kenyan AA, which is considered one of the best coffee-producing regions in the country. This variety offers a bright, winey and complex cup with notes of berry, citrus, and floral. Another famous variety is Kenya Peaberry, which is known for its smooth and well-balanced flavor profile.

Kenyan coffee is considered a specialty coffee, and it’s highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs around the world. The country is also committed to sustainable and ethical coffee production, with many farmers implementing organic and shade-grown methods.

Does Kenya produce coffee

11. Philippines – 26 million pounds

Coffee is an important agricultural product in the Philippines, with a long history dating back to the 18th century. The country is home to a wide variety of coffee varieties, including Arabica, Robusta, and Liberica. These beans are grown in the mountainous regions of the country, particularly in the Cordillera Administrative Region and the Benguet Province.

The flavor profile of Filipino coffee is heavily influenced by the country’s unique terroir, with beans grown in the Cordillera region known for their bright acidity and fruity notes, while those grown in the Benguet province have a more balanced flavor with nutty and chocolate notes.

One of the challenges faced by the Filipino coffee industry is the limited access to markets and lack of recognition. However, there are initiatives aimed at promoting and improving the reputation of Filipino coffee, such as the Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) which aims to promote the country’s coffee industry through research and development, market development, and capacity building.

The Specialty Coffee Association of the Philippines (SCAP) is also actively promoting the country’s specialty coffee and supporting the farmers and the industry. They are also participating in international competitions such as the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) event, and some of the farmers and roasters have been recognized in these events.

In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Philippine coffee among specialty coffee enthusiasts, and it’s becoming increasingly popular as a unique and exotic origin. With the efforts of organizations and farmers to improve the quality and reputation of Filipino coffee, it is expected to gain more recognition in the international coffee market.

12. Yemen – 15 million pounds

Known for its traditional and unique coffee production methods, Yemen is home to some of the oldest coffee varieties in the world. The country’s rugged terrain and ideal climate make it perfect for growing high-quality coffee.

Yemeni coffee is known for its unique and complex flavor profile. The country has a long history of coffee cultivation, dating back to ancient times. It is considered one of the oldest coffee-producing countries in the world and is known for its traditional methods of cultivation and processing.

Yemeni coffee is grown on small family-owned farms, mostly in the highlands region. The coffee is grown at elevations between 1,200 and 2,200 meters above sea level, which allows for a slow maturation process and a more flavorful bean. The region’s unique microclimate and soil conditions create ideal growing conditions for coffee.

Yemeni coffee is typically processed using the dry or natural method, where the cherries are removed from the coffee beans and then left to dry in the sun. This method allows for a complex and nuanced flavor profile, with notes of dark chocolate, spices and a hint of fruity taste.

Yemeni coffee is known for its unique and distinctive varieties, the most famous being the Mocha, which is considered one of the best coffee-producing regions in the country. This variety offers a complex and nuanced cup with notes of dark chocolate, spices and a hint of fruity taste. Another famous variety is the Haraz, which is known for its smooth and complex flavor profile.

Yemeni coffee is considered a specialty coffee, and it’s highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs around the world. The country has been facing a lot of challenges in recent years, but it is still committed to traditional and sustainable coffee production.

where are coffee beans grown

13. Panama – 13 million pounds

Known for its high-quality Geisha coffee, Panama is home to some of the most sought-after coffees in the world. The country’s ideal climate, volcanic soil, and high altitudes make it perfect for growing coffee.

Coffee is one of Panama’s most important agricultural products, and it has a long history in the country. The first coffee plants were brought to Panama by the Spanish in the early 19th century, and since then, the country has become known for producing high-quality coffee beans with unique flavor profiles. The coffee grown in Panama is known for its bright acidity, medium body, and fruity, citrusy notes.

One of the key factors that contribute to the quality of Panamanian coffee is the country’s climate and altitude. The coffee-growing regions in Panama, such as Chiriqui, Boquete, and Volcan, have temperatures that range from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit and altitudes of 3,000 to 5,000 feet above sea level. These conditions are ideal for growing coffee, allowing the beans to develop their unique flavor profile.

Another factor that sets Panamanian coffee apart is the care and attention that goes into producing it. Many of the coffee farmers in Panama are small-scale producers who take great pride in their work. They use traditional methods of cultivation and processing, such as hand-picking the coffee cherries and using small mills to process the beans. This results in a more consistent, high-quality product.

In recent years, Panamanian coffee has gained recognition in the international coffee community. The country has won numerous awards and accolades for its coffee, including the prestigious Specialty Coffee Association of America’s (SCAA) “Coffee of the Year” award. Panamanian coffee is now sought after by coffee lovers around the world, and it’s becoming increasingly popular as a specialty coffee.

14. Jamaica – 2.7 million pounds

Famous for its Blue Mountain coffee, Jamaica’s coffee is known for its mild flavor and lack of bitterness. The country’s cool mountain climate and rich soil make it perfect for growing high-quality coffee.

The country has a long history of coffee cultivation, dating back to the late 18th century. It is considered one of the top coffee-producing countries in the Caribbean region and is known for its strict quality standards.

Jamaican coffee is grown on small family-owned farms and cooperatives, mostly in the Blue Mountains region. The coffee is grown at elevations between 1,500 and 2,200 meters above sea level, which allows for a slow maturation process and a more flavorful bean. The region has a unique microclimate, which creates ideal growing conditions for coffee.

Jamaican coffee is typically processed using the wet method, where the cherries are first removed from the coffee beans, then the beans are fermented and washed. This method allows for a clean and bright flavor profile, with notes of chocolate, nuts and a hint of fruity taste.

Jamaican coffee is known for its unique and distinctive varieties, the most famous being Blue Mountain, which is considered one of the best coffee-producing regions in the country. This variety offers a clean, bright, and balanced cup with mild acidity and a hint of chocolate and nuts. Another famous variety is High Mountain, which is known for its smooth and complex flavor profile.

Jamaican coffee is considered a specialty coffee, and it’s highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs around the world. The country is also committed to sustainable and ethical coffee production, with many farmers implementing organic and shade-grown methods.

Summary

The coffee industry is a vital and complex global industry with many players. The countries discussed in this article are among the top coffee producers in the world, each with their unique contributions to the global coffee market.

From the smooth and balanced flavor of Colombian coffee to the earthy and full-bodied taste of Sumatran coffee, these countries produce some of the most sought-after and delicious coffees.

However, the coffee industry is not without its challenges, with issues such as limited access to markets, low prices for farmers, and environmental concerns. Nevertheless, efforts are being made by countries, farmers and organizations to improve the reputation and quality of their coffee, and promote sustainable practices.

FAQs

What are the top coffee-producing countries in the world?

The top coffee-producing countries in the world are Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. These countries are responsible for producing a significant portion of the world’s coffee beans.

What are the unique characteristics of coffee beans grown in different countries?

Coffee beans grown in different countries have unique characteristics based on factors such as climate, altitude, and processing methods. For example, coffee beans grown in Ethiopia are known for their fruity and floral notes, while beans grown in Sumatra have an earthy and full-bodied taste.

What are some of the challenges facing coffee-producing countries

Coffee-producing countries face a variety of challenges such as low prices for farmers, limited access to markets, and environmental concerns. Many coffee-producing countries are working to address these challenges by implementing sustainable farming practices and promoting their coffee on the global market.

What is being done to improve the reputation and quality of coffee produced in different countries?

There are various initiatives aimed at improving the reputation and quality of coffee produced in different countries. For example, the Specialty Coffee Association of the Philippines (SCAP) promotes the country’s specialty coffee and supports farmers and the industry. The Philippine Coffee Board Inc. (PCBI) also promotes the country’s coffee industry through research and development, market development, and capacity building.

How can I learn more about coffee produced in different countries?

There are several ways to learn more about coffee produced in different countries. You can visit the websites of coffee-producing countries or organizations, attend coffee festivals and events, or try different coffees from different countries at specialty coffee shops. You could even visit some coffee plantations.

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