Coffee..."Nature's miracle"


         I took this picture at the Como Zoo in MN



            The coffee “bean belt” stretches between the northern boarder of the Tropics of Cancer and southern boarder of the Tropics of Capricorn, providing the best climate to produce the maximum amount of coffee. Brazil and Colombia are the leading producers followed by Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador.

Map of the world where differernt coffee types are grown from

            Coffea arabica beans grow best at a higher altitude (around 4000-5000 ft above sea level) in these areas with a moderate amount of sunshine and rainfall, 40-60 inches of rain spread throughout the year. The preferred temperature for the plants is 70 F. It can withstand low temperatures but is killed by frost. This tropical climate produces the best beans and also a variety in the flavor. The geography plays a major role in deciding the flavor strength and the aroma. Climate and soil are the next leading contributors to flavor and quality following the processing method. (Click here to see processing methods)

            Brazil produces coffee classified as mild flavor and aromatic accounting for 33% of the world’s production. In Colombia the beans vary among location but are known as full flavor beans producing another 12% of the total world production. Costa Rica is climbing up the totem pole in production starting from small traditional farms now being replaced by plantations that are growing improved strains of Coffea arabica, “sun coffee.” (Click here to see more on “sun coffee”) Other countries produce coffee but most of it is consumed in country and is not shipped around the world as regularly.

Bag of harvested beans in Costa Rica thanks to Wikipedia at


         Harvesting also depends on the climate the beans are produced in. The beans are typically collected during the dry season when the cherries are bright red and glossy. In Brazil the berries are only harvested in the winter during dry season but in places like Java where there is no separation of dry and wet season, the beans can be harvested throughout the year.