The story of coffee begins in Ethiopia, the original home of the coffee plant now known as Coffea Arabica. In 1753, the botanist Linnaeus identified coffee Arabica as one of two major species of coffee and that accounts for over 70 percent of all coffee grown. The other major species is Coffea Canefora, which is most commonly known as Robusta. This coffee is mostly used in blends with the coffee Arabica.Therefore, the Coffea Arabica plant will be the main focus. The coffee Arabica still grows wild in the forest of the highlands and on cultivated lands of Ethiopia, which many claim began in the early 800s AD. Because the man who found the beans and took them home to Yemen in 575 AD, many claim that the coffee Arabica plant has been cultivated there since then. The Arabica coffee was found growing in Sri Lanka and Ceylon as early as 1505 and in Constantinople 12 years later and then in Damascus a few years later. By the early the 1600s the beans were grown in South-West India.
Today, there are selected regions in the world where the best coffee is grown. Ethiopia is the worlds’ sixth largest producer of Arabica coffee. This includes several types such as Sidamo, Harrar and Yirgacheffe. Other African countries that grow Arabica coffee are Kenya, Tanzania, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Ivory Coast produces Robusta coffee beans while Uganda produces Arabica Bugisu beans.
The once Dutch colony of Java and the rest of Indonesia remain a major world exporter of both Arabica and Robusta coffee beans. Arabica coffee bean varieties Sumatran, Java and Sulawesi are grown on old plantations on the islands of Java, Sumatra, Flores, and Sulawesi, which is one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia. Another Asian country, India, produces several notable Arabica coffee beans, such as the Monsooned Malabar and the Mysore. Vietnam’s subtropical climate produces Robusta coffee beans. Arabica coffee beans are now grown commercially in the southern regions of Dehong, BaoShan, Simao, and Ruili in Yunnan province of China.
Central America and the Caribbean island nations are well-known for their coffee plantations, as well. Today, plantations and families grow Coffea Arabica bean varieties. Jamaica is famous for its Blue Mountain coffee beans, while Guatemala produces several types of coffee beans such as Acetenango, Antiguak Atitlan, Huehuetenango and Coban. These beans are grown not only in its volcanic mountainous areas, but in the western and northwestern highlands and in central Guatemala. Guatemala has preserved more of the traditional Typica and Bourbon varieties of Arabica beans than many other Latin American countries.
In North America coffee is grown in Mexico and is the largest coffee-producing area on the North American continent. Most Mexican coffee beans are grown in the southern states of Oaxaca and Chiapas where Pluma Coixtepec, Altura and Liquidambar beans are most common. Mexico grows coffee in both low and high altitudes. The only other perfect low altitude growing area in North America known for its Kona coffee beans is on the big island of Hawaii.
In South America, Brazil is the top-producing coffee area in the world and has been a thriving producer of coffee since the 18th century. Some of their most well-known beans include the Bourbon and Bourbon Santos. Typica, Caturra, and Mundo Novo are grown in the states of Paran, Espirito Santos, So Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Bahia. In Columbia, the Medellin, Supremo and Bogot varieties are most popular. Peru is quickly building a global reputation for producing traditionally cultivated, shade grown, high quality Typica, Caturra and Ja Muita Arabica beans.
Arabica Coffee beans and Robusta beans that are grown in large amounts commercially are mentioned here. Arabica and Robusta coffees are also grown by families and tribes in smaller amounts in such places as the Philippines and northern Thailand.