Home  >>  Write  >>  Food  >>  Coffee  >>  Coffee Growing Regions  >>  Latin America - Caribbean


Latin America - Caribbean

Have you ever gone to the supermarket looking for coffee grounds and was confronted by a whole shelf full of coffee produced in the Latin America and Caribbean region?  This really shouldn't be a surprise as the majority of coffee is produced in this area.  With its tropical and subtropical climates, the Latin America - Caribbean region has all of the perfect conditions to grow coffee plants.  Ranging from low-grade Robusta coffee beans to high quality, gourmet Arabica coffee beans, this part of the country produces it all.  Coffee is a major part of many Latin American and Caribbean country's economies and this region features a strong coffee culture.  To examine this thriving coffee growing region, we will examine the largest coffee producing countries in this area.

As the largest coffee producer in the world, at some point in time you have drank coffee that is made from coffee beans grown in Brazil.  The Brazilian coffee industry can trace back its roots to the early 1720s when coffee seedlings were obtained from French Guiana.  By 1845, the title of largest coffee producer in the world belongs to Brazil and this continues today.  Accounting for approximately 35% of the world's coffee, Brazil continues to be the top producer of coffee in the Latin America-Caribbean region.  This is a little bit ironic, as Brazil is the only high-volume coffee producer that is subject to frost.  As frost tends to kill coffee plants, this continues to be a major concern among Brazilian coffee producers.

The vast majority of coffee farmers in Brazil employ the sun-dry process of creating coffee.  As one-third of the Brazilian landscape is suitable for coffee cultivation, it is not surprising that this economical method of coffee production is employed in the country.  However, this also results in the lack of specialty coffee that is produced in Brazil.  (To learn more about this method of coffee production, check out the article Organic Coffee).  The Santos coffee is probably the most famous of Brazil's coffee and is the only coffee produced in the country that is considered important by the specialty coffee industry.  Bandeirante is a popular estate grown Brazilian coffee that you can easily find in America and the Bourbon Santos coffee produced in Brazil is considered to be that country's finest grade of coffee.

As the second largest coffee producer in the world, Columbia coffee is one of the most drank coffee in America.  Accounting for approximately 12% of the world's coffee supply, Columbia's economy heavily relies on its coffee trade.  Once renowned for their exceptionally high quality, Columbian farmers are increasingly using the sun-dry process of growing coffee that has increased yield at the expense of quality.  Columbia's coffee growing industry originated in 1808 when the first coffee seedlings were brought over the French Antilles to Columbia by Jesuit Missionaries.  The central and eastern cordilleras (mountain ranges) in Columbia are renowned for their high quality coffee beans, with Medellin, Armenia, and Manizales being the most renowned.  The three are often exported together under the acronym MAM.  Other popular coffees exported from Columbia are Bogota and Bucaramanga, which is produced in Columbia's eastern cordillera.


When the tiny republic of Costa Rica received its first coffee seedlings from Cuba in 1779, it had no idea that coffee would become so vital to its economy.  Currently the ninth largest coffee producer in the world, Costa Rica coffee is renowned for their exceptionally high quality.  To show how serious Costa Rica takes its coffee, there is a law that bans the cultivation of the lower quality Robusta coffee plant.  As a result, the only coffee grown in Costa Rica is the more premium Arabica coffee plants.  Predominantly grown around the capital of San Jose, Columbian coffee farmers tend to be comprised of small farmers organized into co-operatives that form a federation responsible for exports.  Some of Costa Rica's most famous coffees are: San Marcos di Tarrazu, Tres Rios, Heredia, and Alajuela.