The best coffee is certainly made from plants cultivated in the best areas to grow coffee beans. Coffee is an extraordinary plant that is very sensitive and very resilient at the same time and for its fruits to be able to deliver the special aromas and flavors that make us all so happy and eager to consume our favorite beverage, the plant needs the perfect environment.
Coffee does not grow everywhere – the world’s so-called Coffee Belt runs close to the Equator, the largest coffee producers being the countries in Central, North and South America, in Africa, in the Caribbean region, in Asia and in the Middle East. While most of us know only two coffee plant species – Arabica and Robusta (and indeed, these two are the most popular and, according to many experts, there are actually hundreds of different species used and enjoyed around the world and all species prefer very similar conditions to be able to thrive. Here are a few of the features that the land used for coffee growing must have – features that all great coffee producing regions share.
Coffee needs humidity as well as dry periods to be able to grow properly and to develop the flavorful fruits. The region used for coffee plantations needs to have well defined dry and humid seasons – the plant develops during the hotter, drier months and the fruits mature during the colder periods, usually at the end of fall. The plant requires fairly stable humidity conditions in the 70-90% range – in certain equatorial regions, where the plantations get lots of rain, the coffee plants keep flowering almost all year long, so the coffee farmers there get not one, but two harvests.
Prolonged cold periods and frost are the worst enemies of coffee – the plants can survive short periods of low temperatures, but frost kills them. The plants thrive well in the 15-30 degrees centigrade range – temperatures that are much higher or much lower than that can severely damage the trees.
Coffee thrives best in soil that is well-drained and rich in nutrients, such as slopes facing the north, the east or the north-east.
While all species of coffee trees prefer a warm environment, high humidity and rich soil, each coffee plant species have different preferences when it comes to altitude. As a general rule, the best areas to grow coffee beans are situated at attitudes between 1800 and 3600 feet are the best, but Robusta loves lowlands areas and thrives best in the lower areas of the altitude range, usually up to 200 feet, while Arabica prefers much higher altitudes.
As you see, best areas to grow coffee beans share certain features related to the climate and they composition of the soil, but many people nowadays try to create those conditions artificially in their garden green house to grow a few plants for their morning brew – experimenting with coffee plants is great fun, so who knows, maybe you can also get your own plants to give you the beans for your brews within a few years.