It is widely believed that Ethiopia is the birth place of coffee, even today wild Arabica coffee trees grow in the mountains of the Ethiopian highlands. These wild coffees beans are often harvested for local and international sales, other forms of coffee cultivation include garden and estates. Estates are where the vast majority of very high quality coffee is produced to be traded around the world. From Ethiopia Sufi pilgrims spread coffee to the Middle East where it became vastly popular due to its energising properties and rich creamy fruit and spice scented character. Ethiopia’s 700 000 small hold farmers produce approximately 200 000 tonnes of coffee per year, these farms are organised into cooperatives in order to gain access to wider markets and expensive processing machinery. Belonging to these co-ops also provides farmers with access to micro finance, development opportunities and better pay and work conditions. Ethiopian coffee is widely renowned for its fruit and winey tones with a light body and balanced flavour.
The majority of Kenyan coffee is grown on high plateaus in volcanic soil at altitudes ranging from 1400m-2000m. Kenyan coffee is derived from small hold farms, cooperatives and estates. Cooperatives provide Kenyan coffee farmers access to processing mills and broad markets and also auctions are held where Kenya’s best coffees are pitted against each other to achieve high market prices. Kenya is revered as one of the most consistent producers of high quality beans. Kenyan coffee is regarded as very sweet with rich intense flavours and a distinct wine like finish with tones of fruit and berry, similar to Ethiopian coffees but with a fuller body.
Coffee is grown mostly in the eastern and western highlands province of PNG, it can also be found in the Simbu, Morobe and east Sepik regions. Large scale estates and plantations are virtually non-existent in PNG, rather small hold farms and coffee gardens (less than 20 plants) make up the majority of coffee production in PNG. Due to the isolation of many of these farms they predominantly grow organic coffee. Arabica Coffee accounts for roughly 95% of coffee production in PNG while the inferior lowlands Robusta represents around 5%. Nearly 100% of the 1.18 million bags produced by PNG is exported to western markets. Coffees from Papua New Guinea display sweet and floral characteristics while the best Papua New Guinea coffees display a vibrant mango, papaya and stone fruit fruitiness with a clean full-bodied flavour.
Colombia is one of the biggest producers of coffee globally along with Vietnam, Brazil and Indonesia. Colombia is divided into two by the Andes Mountains, which separate into three parallel mountain ranges running north south. Coffee grows wonderfully well in these mountains and also in the smaller Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta plateau, an isolated mountain range in the north of the country which is home to indigenous tribes who produce organic- and Fair Trade-certified coffees.
These mountain ranges possess unique and diverse micro-climates. The majority of Colombian coffee regions have two harvests: principal and the fly crop, which is usually smaller. In the northern plateau, the principle harvest is in November and the fly harvest in May – June. The Southern ranges are the opposite of that with the principal harvest in May – June and fly harvest in November.
Colombian coffee beans are rich in flavour, heavy bodied, have bright acidity, and are intensely aromatic.
Colombia has a wonderful coffee growing climate which allows it to produce great coffee all year around.
Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee and in the last few years is steadily becoming a leader in the specialty coffee industry. Most coffee farms in Brazil are small family owned estates located primarily in the regions of Santos, Parana, Sao Paulo, Bahia and Minas Gerais.
Around 75%- 80% of Brazilian coffee is Arabica with the main varieties being Typica, Bourbon, Mundo Novo and Caturra.
Coffee plays a large part in the Brazilian economy and has helped to stimulate jobs, social improvements and economic growth and stability. The Brazilian coffee growing regions all produce uniquely flavoured coffees and to this day are the foundation of many of the best blends around. Brazilian coffees are typically harvested from June-September are available all year round. Your typical Brazilian will display a sweet, nutty chocolate flavour with a medium citric acidity and full body. They are available nearly all year round so can be enjoyed everyday!