For millions of people across the globe, coffee is a magical elixir that gets them going in the morning and boosts their mood. This is why coffee is the second most traded product worldwide, with over 19 billion pounds produced each year. Even though coffee beans are sourced from over 70 countries worldwide, the bean’s quality depends on where it was cultivated, the area’s climate, soil composition, and more. This makes many people wonder, “Which country has the best coffee?”
The short answer is that Colombia tends to have the highest-ranked coffee. This is due to the country’s superior growing conditions and thriving coffee culture.
Want to learn more about which countries have the best coffee? Keep reading to find out!
What’s the Best Type of Coffee?
First, let’s find out which coffee is the best.
Coffee experts and connoisseurs worldwide agree that the best coffee bean is Arabica. Made from the Coffea arabica plant, Arabica makes up more than 60% of the world’s coffee production.
One reason for its popularity is its smooth taste, sweet aroma, and many health benefits. While all coffee is high in antioxidants, Arabic is especially high in lipids.
These organic compounds play a major role in the rich flavor and aroma of the coffee. They also help give the coffee a smooth, creamy texture.
Moreover, Arabica contains high levels of natural sugars. They reduce the bitterness in the coffee and make it taste well-balanced.
Which Country Produces the Best-Tasting Coffee?
The Arabica coffee plant was originally found in Ethiopia. Nowadays, it’s cultivated in many other countries around the world.
Yet, the main producer of this aromatic and flavorful coffee bean is Colombia. Colombian coffee farmers pick their harvest by hand to distinguish the ripe and unripe beans. This is in contrast to mechanized harvesting, which gathers all the beans regardless of their state.
Another reason is the country’s ideal growing conditions. It gets the right amount of sun, rain, and wind. Plus, Colombian soil has the perfect blend of nutrients and minerals.
The Coffee Belt
Each of the 70 coffee-producing countries is unique in its culture and heritage. They have one common factor: they’re located in the tropics.
The tropics cover the middle region of the globe, reaching 23.5 degrees to the equator’s north and south. Coffee experts call this area the ‘coffee belt.’
These countries are located in Africa, Asia, North America, and South America. We’ve chosen five countries from each continent where you can find the best coffee in the world.
Let’s dive in!
Africa is home to some terrific coffee plants. After all, it’s believed that coffee drinking first began in Ethiopia in the 9th century.
Ethiopia is blessed with high altitudes and suitable soil conditions for 4% of the world’s coffee. It mostly grows Arabica with some Robusta as well. Ethiopian coffee is known for its fruity flavors that sometimes has a spicy kick. Ethiopia has three main coffee brands: Limu, Harrar, and Yirgacheffe.
Kenya is known for its famous brand of coffee: Kenya AA. With its large areas of highland and fertile soil, Kenyan coffee has maintained its top-quality for hundreds of years. Currently, it produces nearly 0.4% of the global coffee output.
Tanzania is another country with its coffee brand: the Tanzanian Peaberry coffee. It’s the country’s largest export crop, producing 52% Arabica and 48% Robusta. On average, this comes to about 35 to 40 tons each year and makes up for 0.7% of the world’s coffee.
The northern parts of Zambia have some of the best growing conditions for coffee plants because of their high altitudes. Since it sits close to the equator, it also enjoys moderate weather. These factors combined help create some of the world’s best Arabica beans.
Uganda is a big player when it comes to producing coffee. It mainly grows Robusta plants, which are known for their low acidity. Yet, they’re more bitter than Arabica coffee. In recent years, Uganda has started growing Arabica beans, as well. This boosts its world production to almost 2.4%.
With its lush soil composition and varying climates, Asia is home to one-third of the world’s coffee production. Below are Asia’s five main coffee-producing countries.
India is a country that has been growing coffee for years. At the end of the 19th century, most of their crops were affected by a disease known as coffee rust. This led farmers to switch out their coffee plantations to tea instead.
When conditions improved, India became a large producer of Arabica coffee. Over 60% of its coffee production is Robusta, which accounts for 3% of the world’s coffee.
The production of coffee in Indonesia started in the late 17th century. It began on the island of Java, where the famous Java coffee is grown to this day. Known for its earthy undertones and full-bodied flavors, Indonesian coffee makes up 6% of the global market.
Sumatra is famous for its one-of-a-kind coffee blend with a rich, smooth flavor. This delicate taste is one of the reasons why many people enjoy Sumatran coffee. Another reason is that it’s made from 100% Arabica beans, known for their delicious and distinctive taste.
Vietnam has made a name for itself as one of the most competitive producers of Robusta coffee. It’s now the second-highest coffee-producing country in the world after Brazil. It produces nearly two million tons of coffee per year, which accounts for 17% of global coffee output.
Thailand is becoming a fierce contender in the coffee industry with its production of high-quality Robusta plants. Its coffee production comes to about 0.4% of the world’s coffee supply. Yet, the numbers are growing steadily each year.
The majority of North America’s coffee-producing countries are found in the continent’s southernmost area, Central America. This small, but highly influential region consists of seven countries:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
Out of these seven, only five produce coffee.
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rican coffee is known for its classic taste. Thanks to the rich, volcanic soils of this country, Costa Rica grows high-quality Arabica beans, which account for 0.8% of the world’s coffee production.
2. El Salvador
In the past, El Salvador used to be one of the top producers of high-quality Arabica coffee in the world. Yet, its production has taken a significant hit in recent years. It still manages to produce 0.4% of the world’s coffee.
Guatemala has many mountainous areas, which help its coffee plants to produce 2% of the world’s coffee. The altitude, along with the moderate temperatures, create high-quality coffee beans. Over 97% of its coffee beans are Arabica.
The perfect weather conditions and fertile soil in Honduras make it one of the world’s best coffee-producing countries. Sadly, its weak infrastructure has led to reduced coffee production rates. Yet, Honduras is adamant about maintaining its high production rates, currently generating almost 4% of the world’s coffee.
Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America. Yet, its coffee production comes to about a little over 1% of the world’s coffee. Nonetheless, it’s known for growing some of the best quality Arabica plants in the region, thanks to its excellent weather conditions.
South America is a diverse mix of humid rainforests and soaring mountains. It has one of the most unique climates in the world, which makes it perfect for cultivating coffee plants.
Over one-third of the world’s coffee comes from Brazil alone. It has been named the largest coffee producer for the past 150 years! There are more than 10,000 square miles of coffee plantations in Brazil. Most of them are in the southeastern regions, where the weather and soil conditions are ideal.
As we’ve mentioned earlier, Colombia is a large producer of Arabica coffee. In fact, it’s responsible for supplying almost 15% of the world’s most superior coffee beans. It’s known to have the perfect balance of rain and sunlight for growing high-quality coffee.
Venezuela is rich in highlands and mountainous regions, making it suitable for the cultivation of top-quality coffee. Not only does Venezuela share a border with Colombia, but it also shares its fertile soil and moderate climate. This South American country produces 0.3% of the world’s coffee supply.
Like Brazil, Peru invests most of its land in coffee plantations. It grows coffee from the north to the south and from the east to the west. Over 2% of the world’s coffee is produced in Peru, thanks to the country’s agreeable temperatures, moderate rainfall, and perfect soil compositions.
Ecuador produces some of the most delicious coffee in the world, thanks to its rich volcanic soil and high altitudes. This country’s coffee beans are known for their rich flavors and enticing aromas. The country mainly grows Arabica beans, yet there are areas where Robusta is also cultivated.
Coffee plays a major role in our lives, socially and economically. Countries depend on it to boost their economies, while we rely on it to boost our energy levels.
We talked about some of the most influential coffee-producing countries around the world. So, the next time someone asks where coffee comes from and, “Which country has the best coffee?” Don’t be afraid to share all the fun and fascinating coffee tidbits that you now know!
Stay caffeinated friends!