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The Coffee Belt – All You Need to Know

If you’ve ever wondered about the origins of your morning mocha, there’s a high chance that it came from the coffee belt. Also known as the “bean belt,” it’s a region around the equator that offers excellent growing conditions for coffee trees, and it’s responsible for most of the world’s total coffee production.

Here is a graphic that well illustrates the ‘coffee belt’.

(Click on the image for a larger size)

There are a few reasons why the environment of the coffee belt is so ideal for beans:

  • Fertile soil
  • Subtropical temperatures
  • Lots of rain
  • Shade from the sun

There are also quite a few volcanoes located along the “Ring of Fire” in the Pacific Ocean, and this helps with the richness of the soil and the denseness of the vegetation.

So which countries are located in the coffee belt? Here are the major ones that you can thank for your lattes and fraps.

Ethiopia

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee. Its growth has been celebrated for centuries, and there are many traditions and cultural values associated with it. More than 60 percent of the country’s foreign income is related in some way to coffee.

As for its flavor, that depends on what kind of Ethiopian coffee that you consume. It can taste like blueberry, jasmine, bergamot, chocolate, syrup and more. There are literally thousands of variations of Ethiopian coffee. The country definitely lives up to its reputation as a coffee mecca.

Colombia

Colombian coffee is famous around the world for its smooth flavors and low acidity. Have you ever wondered why?

The secret lies in its growing conditions. Most Colombian coffee is harvested at high altitudes where the sun, shade and rain are in perfect harmony with each other, so the beans flourish in the good weather and elevated hills.

If you’ve never tried a brew from the coffee belt, start with Colombian coffee. There’s a reason why it’s so popular.

Indonesia

If you like your coffee with a kick, Indonesia is the country for you. Its rainy climate leads to dark, rich soil, and many of its beans are harvested with a process known as wet hulling.

The end result is a country that produces a lot of bold-tasting coffee flavors. They’re usually quite strong, especially when they have earthy or mossy notes, and they tend to be more full-bodied than Western coffee. Sumatra coffee is one of the most popular Indonesian coffee types, but there are many others.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is famous for its coffee production. Not only do the beans grow in ideal conditions, but there used to be laws that banned farmers from selling anything less than 100 percent arabica beans! The laws have been relaxed recently, so robusta can be grown now, but the country is still best-known for arabica.

Costa Rican coffee is usually mild and somewhat sweet. It can have notes of fruit, honey, molasses and similar flavors. There’s a touch of acidity, but it isn’t overpowering.

Kenya

Almost all of Africa is located within the coffee belt, but a few countries stand out from the rest in terms of the quality and quantity of their beans. Kenya is one of them.

Kenyan coffee is a well-known kind of “specialty” coffee. It has bold, strong flavors, and it’s graded on a scale that goes all of the way up to AA, so connoisseurs can order “Kenyan AA” coffee if they want the very best. These beans are hand-picked by local farmers to ensure maximum freshness and flavor.

Mexico

You’ve probably tried Mexican coffee before. It’s responsible for more than half of the world’s organic roasts, so even if you’ve never sought it out, you’re probably familiar with its tastes or brewing traditions.

Almost all of Mexico is located within the coffee belt, so flavors can vary depend on the region. In the north, you might find dark, full-bodied roasts with bitter aftertaste. In the south, you might find sweeter, nuttier flavors with low acidity levels. It really depends on what you buy.

These are just a few of the best coffee-growing regions located within the coffee belt. It stretches for thousands of miles across dozens of countries, so there’s plenty more. You could keep yourself occupied for a long time by exploring all of the tastes and flavors of coffee belt countries!

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