From its beginnings in Ethiopia, coffee is now consumed all over the world although much of coffee is still produced in Ethiopia. Coffee tress require plenty sunshine and moisture and, as such, they grow successfully only in tropical and sub-tropical regions bordering the equator.
The narrow swath of earth centered around the equator stretches from 23 degrees North to 25 degrees South. From this strip comes the entirety of the worlds coffee supply. A Turkish saying calls the bean black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love. On the market, coffee production is second largest commodity on earth, second only to oil.
Overall, Brazil puts out the largest coffee crop, producing around twenty-eight percent of the total amount produced each year. Even Colombia, which is famous for its coffee production, comes up with a lowly sixteen percent of the output. Indonesia exports less than half that figure at only seven percent, followed by Mexico which grown only four percent.
Methods of harvesting vary according to the region and geography. In Brazil, a plantation extends over a many thousands of acres and requires droves of workers to care for the plants. As for Colombia, the rugged mountainous landscape and poverty of the producer keeps the operation much more simple. Often, coffee beans make their way to a processing center in an individual jeep or on the back of a mule.
In Colombia, coffee is planted along the mountains where as it is grown on the foot of a volcano in Hawaii. The volcanic ash is rocky and might seem inhospitable, but it drains well and is rich in nutrients. Plenty of showers also aid growth.
Indonesia is a nation made up of thousands of islands. Coffee has been grown there ever since Dutch settlers began cultivating it over four hundred years ago. Though other coffee-growing regions have more advanced technology, nothing beats Indonesias climate for growing coffee. Hundreds of tiny farms, often just one or two acres, sit on Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi and make these islands famous for their coffee.
Much like Indonesia, Mexican coffee farms are usually small. However, there are at least one hundred thousand of them in total. Most of these are found down south around Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz. It is here that the treasured Altura bean is grown.
Recently, Vietnam has mounted a challenge to Indonesias regional dominance. The Tonkin area was originally cultivated with arabica plants by nineteenth century French settlers. Today, tiny plantations now grow the robusta plant, a variety of arabica.
In Africa, Kenya and the Ivory Coast produce lovely beans known for their quality. Kenyan coffee is known for its light but rich fruity flavor. The Ivory Coast, on the other hand, is known for its robusta, the primary ingredient of most espresso blends.
Local Market in North Sulawesi, Indonesia
Werner Kreis visited the Local Market in North Sulawesi.
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