The Bean Belt
In co;ee, as in real estate, the three most important things are location, location, location.
Plants of the genus Co;ea like warm days and cool nights, high humidity and high altitude (roughly 3,000 to 6,000 feet above
sea level). Where do all those requirements come together? In a belt around the equator that extends as far north as Mexico
and India and as far south as Bolivia, southern Brazil and Madagascar.
Botanically, co;ee plants are evergreen shrubs. At altitudes above about 6,000 feet, colder temperatures stunt the plant’s
Below are the top 10 co;ee-exporting nations of 2014, with their annual exports and comments on flavor and style by Greg
growth and increase the risk of frost damage. Below 3,000 feet, the plant grows too fast. At either extreme, says Adam Bossie,
CEO of Co;ee A;cionado (see page 32), “the co;ee is going to have an underdeveloped character.”
The Co;ee Belt produces and sells nearly 20 billion pounds of co;ee a year, according to the International Co;ee Organi-
zation. Beans are universally shipped in 60-kilogram (132-pound) burlap sacks. Virtually all of the beans brewed in the United
States are one of two species: Arabica or Robusta.
Lewis, a 30-year industry veteran who owns Fair Mountain Co;ee in Atlantic Highlands.—Breanne McCarthy
45 MILLION BAGS
Brazil’s (mostly Arabica) beans, have
a “delicate but rich” taste, Lewis says,
with “slightly sweet undertones.”
27. 5 MILLION BAGS
While Vietnam exports more Robusta
than Arabica, its arabica beans typically have “low acidity, with nutty and
12. 5 MILLION BAGS
Colombia’s all-Arabica crop is “
full-bodied” with “rich acidity and nice
9 MILLION BAGS
Arabica and Robusta beans from the
islands of Indonesia (which include
co;ee-famed Java and Sumatra) have
a “very distinct, deep flavor” with a
“slight spiciness and syrupy” taste.
Indonesian co;ees are generally full-bodied.
6. 6 MILLION BAGS
Ethiopia’s all-Arabica crop produces
a medium-to light-bodied co;ee with
“overwhelming floral notes” a “soft
acidity” and hints of lemon.
5. 7 MILLION BAGS
Lewis terms India’s Arabica, the
smaller part of its crop, compared
to Robusta, as “pleasant, low keyed,
sweet,” with chocolate and floral
4. 7 MILLION BAGS
“Not an overwhelming co;ee” says
Lewis of Honduras’s all-Arabica crop.
“But the best can be sweet, low keyed
4 MILLION BAGS
“Brisk,” with a gentle acidity, Mexico’s
all-Arabica beans have a delicate
flavor that works well in blends. Those
grown at higher elevations have
“more complex and brighter flavors.”
4 MILLION BAGS
Uganda grows more Robusta than
Arabica, the latter “exhibiting berry,
chocolatey and slightly spicy” flavors.
3. 5 MILLION BAGS
The crop (more Arabica than Robusta)
is known for “complex” flavors with
“rich acidity” and spiciness that makes
for a medium- to full-bodied drink.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES WORRELL
WHERE T O FIND
JERSEY’S; B EST;CUPPA