Nowadays, almost every country has gotten into coffee cultivation. So you may find it difficult to really know which countries grow the best-tasting coffee beans and which ones supply huge quantities to meet the global coffee demand.
To answer the question – what country is known for coffee? – we’ll look at which countries produce the best quality beans as well as see which ones are the biggest producers.
Let’s get to it!
What Country Is Known for the Best Coffee?
Best quality coffee beans come from a group of established coffee-growing countries with the most ideal conditions for cultivating superior coffee varieties. Many of these countries are situated along common geographical zones, mostly in Central America.
The top three producers of the highest quality coffee include Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica.
- Colombia: Colombia is an undisputed global leader in the production of high-quality Arabica beans. Most of their coffee beans are used as quality benchmarks for some of the popular coffee grades in the market. For instance, Colombian coffee beans are the best for brewing exclusive espressos, including Supremo, Excelso, and Extra.
- Guatemala: Guatemala’s mountainous landscape enables nurturing of more intense, acerbic coffee flavors. Their most famous variety, Antigua Volcanic, is loved for its sophistication and boldness in flavor. It is believed that Guatemalan coffee derives its quality and uniqueness from the nearby ocean winds.
- Costa Rica: Costa Rica is famous for the wet-processed Arabicas, which are both soft and rich in walnut-like flavors. Due to this unmatched quality, Costa Rican coffee is recommended for preparing some of the most exclusive coffee drinks, like Margarita, Costa Rica, and Cashier.
Top 5 Coffee Producing Countries
Brazil tops the list of the world’s coffee-producing countries (for nearly 150 years). This Southern American nation accounts for a sizable 40% share of the global coffee supplies, equivalent to 3.5 million metric tons (or 7,844 million pounds) per year. So, it takes home a whopping 40% proportion of the global coffee consumption revenues. You’ll agree with me that these figures are impressive, especially for the country’s financial and foreign exchange position.
This production capacity is sustained by Brazil’s over 1.8 million hectares of coffee plantation. These plantations are spread across various agricultural hotspots, including Espirito Santo, Minas Gerais, Rondonia, and Bahia. Note that these provinces are known for their creamy body, low soil acidity, refined bittersweet, and caramel notes, all of which are ideal for cultivating flavored coffee products.
What’s more, a significant portion (over 70%) of Brazil’s coffee comprises the high-quality Arabica species. The focus on the much-sought Arabica beans strengthens the country’s coffee production capability through economic multiplier effects. Basically, improved earning potential comes from the high-priced Arabica beans. Indeed, Brazil is a true coffee-producing giant of our time!
Vietnam is the world’s second-largest coffee supplier. It accounts for a 17% share of the global coffee requirements, which is equivalent to an annual output of up to 1.83 million metric tons (or 4,034 million pounds).
Even so, a significant proportion (95%) of Vietnamese coffee production yields “low-quality” Robusta. This leaves a mere 5% coverage for the production of the preferred Arabica type of coffee. That is why a majority of their coffee is consumed in ordinary shops or home instant coffee.
Notably, Vietnam’s specialization in Robusta coffee production has deepened its brand’s presence in households and coffee shops around the world. Currently, more than 40% of the global Robusta consumption comes from this Southeast Asian nation. To top it all, the country’s coffee cultivation efficiency is considerably high compared to other major producers.
Colombia, being the third-largest coffee supplier in the world, produces up to 0.86 million metric tons (or 1,892 million pounds) per year. This quantity covers nearly 8% share of all coffee requirements worldwide.
What makes Colombia exceptional is its focus on Arabica coffee only. In fact, this specialization in one coffee variety makes it the second-largest producer of Arabica beans. Specialization also enables the country to nurture the best quality coffee. That is why Colombian coffee comes with unique aromatic and fruity tastes.
No other country can provide such an exceptional level of coffee quality.
Another advantage of Colombia’s coffee cultivation comes from the fairly spread growing regions. They include Cauca, Huila, Caldas, Narino, Antioquita, Sierra Nevada, Valle del Cauca, and Santander. Other regions are Tolima, Risaralda, Norte de Santander, Quindio, and Cundinamarca. This situation reduces the risks associated with weather fluctuations as agricultural issues vary with geographical zones.
Indonesia comes fourth among the world’s top coffee producers. It supplies up to 0.642 million metric tons (or 1,415 million pounds) per year. This capacity meets 6% of the global coffee consumption requirements.
The country’s coffee production advantage is largely due to the unique land topography—mostly islands. Notably, dominant agricultural features in these islands are conducive for the efficient cultivation of both Arabica and Robusta coffee.
However, a majority of these islands do not support the production of the preferred Arabica coffee. A paltry 9% share of the country’s coffee production capacity is reserved for the Arabica variety. This situation undermines Indonesia’s long-term coffee production advantage since other countries are steadily adopting the “not-so-complex” Robusta cultivation techniques. Even so, the country is home to Kopi Luwak, the rarest type of coffee that is loved in the vast Western markets.
Arabica plantations are concentrated in the New Guinea island, with Robusta farms mostly occupying the Central Borneo regions. Other coffee plantations are spread across various regions, including Sulawesi, Java, Bali, Sumatra, and Flores.
Ethiopia is Africa’s leading coffee producer and the fifth in the world. It produces 0.441 million metric tons (or 972 million pounds) of coffee per year. This output sufficiently addresses 4% of the world’s total coffee demand.
The country’s coffee production dominance is due to its ability to cultivate premium Arabica beans. This premium value comes with full-flavored, full-bodied, and down-to-earth coffee qualities that are desired in nearly all consumer groups. No wonder Ethiopian coffee remains competitive in the global marketplace—used by leading cafe and restaurant brands.
Consequently, the country’s coffee sector employs over 12 million people. You’ll agree that these employment opportunities come in handy for an economy, which is struggling to create decent jobs for its citizens.
Nonetheless, there’s a long-term productivity concern in Ethiopia’s coffee cultivation subsector. This comes from its overreliance on coffee exports—28% share—to fund agricultural sustainability programs. The 28% economic risk can be unbearable for a middle-income country such as Ethiopia.
Even so, this disadvantage is suppressed with the country’s association with some of the leading trademark varieties of beans, like Yirgacheffe. The presence of such exclusive varieties makes it hard for the upcoming competitors to learn and implement.
So, what country is known for coffee? This question can be best evaluated from two important sides: quality and quantity. On the one hand, quality coffee products originate from specific countries, with a proven record of cultivating the highest quality coffee beans. Central American countries, such as Colombia, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, are known for producing top-quality coffee products.
On the other hand, a significant proportion of the global overall coffee originates from a small category of countries, all of which have fairly identical physical and climatic features. The world’s top seven coffee producers include Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Honduras, and India. These seven countries account for nearly 75% of global coffee production.