Complete Guide On Types of Coffee
Coffee is one of the most popular drinks in the world. Its significant consumption requires a colossal production in terms of grains and processing factories are established all over the planet. Discover in this guide what are the different types of coffee products that exist in the world as well as the main countries that produce them.
The Different Types Of Coffee
There are generally 2 main categories of coffee and many others which are a little less known, but which the connoisseurs can easily distinguish from each other. Each stands out for its flavour, scent, and colour.
It is the most widespread and known various types of coffee. Arabica comes in more than 200 subspecies which are further divided into several variants. Drawing its origins in Ethiopia, this type of coffee generally grows at high altitude and its tree particularly appreciates the acid soil rich in minerals.
Its seeds are oval in shape with light green colouring and reach maturation after about 9 months. Its unique flavour with its more pronounced aromas as well as its low caffeine content makes it the most appreciated variety. Moreover, Arabica appropriates 70% of world production with Brazil, Ethiopia, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico as main producers.
The main variations of arabica are:
• Pure arabica green coffee from Ethiopia;
• Bourbon coffee from Reunion;
• Moka coffee from Ethiopia;
• Maragogype coffee from Brazil;
• Java coffee.
Read More About Arabica Coffee
The robusta takes its name from the robustness of its tree. Unlike arabica, it is perfectly resistant to the most capricious weather conditions as well as to diseases that affect coffee trees and plant pests.
The coffee bean takes on colour between yellow and green and is rounded in shape. It matures after 10 months. Compared to that of arabica, the aroma of robusta is less subtle, but its flavour has more bitterness, which makes it more full-bodied. And then, it contains twice as much caffeine, which is very popular with enthusiasts.
Robusta occupies around 30% of world production. The main growers are Indonesia, India, Madagascar, Mexico, and many other countries.
Among the varieties of robusta coffee, the best known are:
• Kouillou coffee from Equatorial Africa;
• Robusta green coffee from Africa and Brazil;
• The robusta from India.
There are many varieties familiar to the two big ones mentioned above, which are much less known, but which have their particularities.
• Liberica: this is a coffee whose production is almost tiny that it is negligible on the world scale. It is found in West Africa, but also in Indonesia.
• KopiLuwak from Indonesia and KapeAlamid from the Philippines: This coffee is the most expensive in the world and develops a flavour close to chocolate or caramel. Its particularity lies in the fact that its grains are harvested in elephant excrement which gives it this unique taste.
• Eugenides Coffee: close to arabica, this coffee comes from the Kivu region of Congo and has one of the lowest caffeine content.
• Stenophylla coffee: also very familiar with arabica, it is cultivated in Sierra Leone, in West Africa and gives off a very light aroma.
• Excelsa Coffee: originally from Chad, this coffee produces a relatively bland flavour compared to the others.
• Blue Mountain: from Jamaica, Blue Mountain is highly prized for its flavour that is both stable and refined. Little cultivated, it becomes expensive and not very accessible.
• Huehuetenango: this coffee is grown in very remote areas of Guatemala, with an altitude generally exceeding 1,500 m. Its aroma is pronounced and its taste is more full-bodied.
Top 10 Global Coffee Producers
In this second section, find out which countries produce the most coffee in the world.
Brazil advocates the lead with a production of over 2.5 million tons per year. It is no coincidence that it has occupied the first rank for ten years, given that the Brazilian economy relies heavily on this sector.
Three regions, namely Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, and Parana are the biggest players that drive local coffee production. The climate and temperature are suitable for growing.
The peculiarity of Brazil also comes from the fact that the coffee is processed dry and that the beans, which are still wet, are dried naturally in the sun.
The second place in the ranking is occupied by Vietnam. Compiling an annual production of around 1,650,000 tonnes, it is indisputable that this country is both a major producer and consumer of coffee.
It also takes its reputation for its famous Vietnamese coffee, black coffee mixed with sweetened condensed milk so popular all over the world.
If the culture knew a considerable brake of the time of the war of Vietnam, the coffee remains today one of the pillars of the local economy with the rice. Production growth is such that it was around 6,000 tonnes per year in 1975 to more than 1,500,000 tonnes in the mid-2010s.
Colombia is a major player in the production of coffee in the world. Its place in the top 3 is not undeserved and little yet, it beat Vietnam. It is thanks to the strong expansion of its local culture that it managed to cross Colombia.
With annual production turning over 800,000 tonnes, Colombia has seen better days in terms of yield. Indeed, the too intense global warming undergone by this southern part of America as well as the increase in precipitations in three decades was enough to gradually deteriorate the plantations which are struggling to survive in such conditions.
Indonesia is in fourth place in this ranking with an annual production of 660,000 tonnes. If the quantity is there, the quality is much less, since the local robusta coffee is struggling to align with the competition. It is even sometimes less valued than Brazilian and Colombian arabicas.
However, the Indonesian climate is very favorable for coffee plantation, its geographical location close to the equator and its wealth in mountainous regions also favor production. It was the Dutch who introduced the culture of coffee to Indonesia, a tradition that continued long after colonization.
Today, coffee plantations occupy more than 10 million hectares of the territory, only 1% being exploited by small producers.
Among the coffee-producing countries in Africa, Ethiopia is in the first place and even boasts a fifth place in the world ranking with figures exceeding 380,000 tonnes per year.
The country also has a reputation for being the home of Arabica, the most popular coffee in the world. This can be seen in its economy, which is doing wonderful thanks to the coffee sector. Indeed, production represents around 30% of total annual exports and more than 15 million of the local population work in this sector of activity.
Arabica coffee has been grown in Ethiopia for centuries, allowing growers to find variations that are as tasty as they are flavored. There are, among others, Arabica coffee Harar, Limu, Sidamo or Yirgacheffe. In addition, patents are filed within the government to protect and preserve all of these variants.
Honduras has an annual harvest of around 350,000 tonnes. It has slowly but surely developed its production to become today the first coffee producing country in Central America.
However, the big downside from which local coffee suffers is the lack of a registered trademark. Indeed, it is often used in mixtures, which lowers its added value. Despite this, the coffee culture remains a major player in the local economy, being a source of employment and stable income for most of the population.
If India is more known for its tea than for its coffee, the country is nevertheless among the big producers of this bitterness drink so much appreciated in the world. The figures amount to more than 345,000 tonnes of grain harvested per year, which puts it in seventh place in this ranking.
It is clear that neither the climate nor the relief allows the optimal growth of the coffee tree. Indeed, torrential rains during the hot season and the absence of high altitudes leave the plantation only a small southern part of the country where the mountains are more present.
Farmers tend to plant coffee close to a spice like cinnamon, which gives the coffee a slightly spicy scent and flavor. Most of the cultivation is done through small farmers, with tea occupying the attention of large investors.
The coffee produced is mainly intended for export, since the local population by far prefers tea.
Uganda is in the top 10 thanks to its annual production of around 280,000 tonnes. It is simply the most successful export in equatorial Africa. The country grows both arabicas from the Ethiopian neighbor and robusta in the Kibale region.
Coffee cultivation plays a major role in the Ugandan economy, providing stable jobs for the local population. If the management of this sector by the government was a failure, its privatization in the early 1990s allowed a considerable expansion of the sector. Nevertheless, the State carefully controls exports in order to control production and guarantee the sustainability of production.
A major player in the importation of coffee into the United States, Mexico occupies the penultimate place in the world ranking, with production hovering around 230,000 tonnes per year.
If the culture is based on arabica, it is nevertheless of very good quality, enough to convince the American neighbor to provide him with coffee. Plantations are mainly found in coastal regions, close to the border between Mexico and Guatemala.
Although production suffered a crisis around the 1990s, causing the local economy to drop considerably, the increase in demand from the United States in the early 2000s was a turning point, which saved the industry from bankruptcy. Since then, production has steadily increased.
Guatemala closes this top 10 with an annual production of more than 200,000 tonnes. If he was the initiator of the coffee culture in Central America, he was overtaken by Honduras around 2011 for lack of an increase in production capacity which remained stable, even stagnant for years.
Coffee was introduced to redress an economy in danger which had hitherto been based on the export of indigo and mealybugs, natural dyes that were squeezed out by the advent of chemical dyes.
Since then, the coffee sector has experienced considerable growth, the government also being of considerable support to the coffee-growing population. The Anacafé an acronym meaning verbatim National Coffee Association in French was created in order to promote the national industry worldwide.
It is therefore clear that the coffee sector constitutes an unshakeable pillar for each major world producer. It is both a source of employment for the population, but also of income for the State and producers. So, as long as the world exists, be sure you will always find coffee, no matter where it comes from.