Today, coffee is enjoyed in every country in the world. In terms of trade, coffee is second only to petroleum in dollar value.
It is grown in more than 50 countries world-wide with about 30 of those countries producing more than five million tons of coffee each year. For many of these countries their economic success pivots on the success of their valuable coffee crops.
Brazil is by far the largest supplier of coffee today. Columbia is second with about two-thirds of Brazil's overall production.
Americans consume more than a third of all the coffee grown in the world. The green coffee beans come in to our country through sea ports in New York, New Orleans and San Francisco and from there are shipped to coffee roasters around the country.
All coffee is grown between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. These names represent two imaginary "lines" that circle our globe approximately 23 degrees north and south of the equator.
Here in the "middle of the world", the climate is warm and humid - Necessary conditions for growing the sensitive coffee plant.
Hawaii is the only place in the USA where coffee is grown.
Although there are more than 60 varieties of coffee that grow in the world, only two types are commercially cultivated. These are Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica coffee is a higher quality coffee. It is naturally lower in caffeine than Robusta and grows at elevations of 3000 to 6000 feet and above, where frost is rare. The Arabica tree is not as hardy as the Robusta, and a single Arabica tree typically yields only 1 - 1 ½ pounds of green coffee beans per season. Gourmet coffee companies purchase the highest grades of Arabica beans.
Robusta coffee plants are more resistant to disease and drought than the Arabica and are grown from sea level up to 2000 feet. Robusta trees yield twice as many beans per tree per season, but produce a coffee that is of lower quality. Most Robusta beans are blended with Arabica coffees and used by large commercial coffee companies for canned and instant coffees.