Where Does Coffee Come From?

A cup full of coffee beans fill the brim of a coffee mug

Have you ever thought of where your coffee comes from? Many people are asking that question and many roasters are using different beans from around the world to create more than just a cup of joe – they’re creating experiences. But, why does the location of where the bean was grown matter and how does it affect our roasts? Here are some things to consider:

The Coffee Bean Belt

There are three primary growing regions in the world – Central and South America, Africa and The Middle East, and Southeast Asia. Each of these regions are located along the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, also known as the Bean Belt. The tropical and subtropical climates found in this global region make for ideal conditions when growing beans.

In fact, the majority of coffees on the global market are grown in an estimated 10 million hectares of farms in the Bean Belt. While many of these farms grow within a similar climate, beans in these regions have very different flavor profiles, resulting in a different experience in every cup. These distinct flavors are a result of the region’s different soil chemistry, weather, sunshine, rainfall, altitude, and overall processing methods.

The Coffee Plant Matters

At this point, you probably know beans are a product of the coffee plant, a shrub that resembles a berry bush. Most plants have rich, dark green, and waxy leaves, although these leaves can take a more purple or yellowish hue. There are two kinds of plants: the Arabica and Robusta.

  • Arabica Plants: Between the two, the Arabic plant is by far the most prominent, with many varieties being grown all over the world. You’ll find that most of your favorite beans probably come from the Arabica plant. 
  • Robusta Plants: Despite its bad rap, Robusta plants provide a different experience than coffee grown from Arabica plants. Beans from the Robusta are typically more bitter and acrid, resulting in a less desirable taste. However, many people use it as a blend component to bring things like espresso to a new level.

Coffee Beans From Central and South America

Probably the most prominent continent for beans, Central American countries like Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica offer climates for exceptional coffee with aromatic flavors. South American countries such as Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador offer mild-bodied beans that take on a creamier, chocolatey taste. 

Africa and The Middle East

Another region of the Bean Belt that’s making a name for themselves for their coffee is Africa and The Middle East. African countries like Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania produce unique and complex beans that are sweet, fruity, and contains a floral aroma. 

In The Middle East region, Yemon is the biggest producer. Beans from this region originate from Ethiopia, so they’re very similar in characteristics. Yemen growers dry-process beans to create a bright, full-bodied brew that excites taste buds. 

Southeast Asia Offers Exceptional Coffee Beans

Since the 17th century, coffee has played an integral role in the culture of Southeast Asia; particularly in Vietnam and Indonesia. The Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Java, and Sumatra produce full bodied beans. Vietnam, the world’s 2nd largest coffee exporter, produces a range of different bodied beans to satisfy every coffee drinker.  

Mokas Cafe Offers a Range of Delicious Brews

Mokas Cafe was founded in Salina, Kansas over 15 years ago. Since our opening, we strive to create a worthwhile experience for everyone who walks through our doors with friendly customer service and delicious food and brews. One way we do this is by offering our guests the most flavorful coffee around and this starts with our coffee beans. Visit our locations page to find the nearest cafe to you!