Photo credit by amanda28192
First things first, coffee did not originate with Starbucks. It is a plant, specifically a shrub or tree, that is grown, nourished, and cultivated, before being transformed into your favorite caffeinated beverage. Coffee can only grow in certain locations outdoors, but coffee can also be grown indoors under the correct conditions. If you are looking for a guide for the best locations to grow coffee then you have found the right place.
Coffee grown around the world: Coffee is most commonly associated with Colombia, so it is a frequent misconception that Columbia is the world's top coffee producer. In reality, Colombia ranks third, behind Vietnam, and top producer, Brazil. Some of the world's other top coffee producers include Mexico, India, Ethiopia, and Peru. Coffee is also grown in Jamaica and the state of Hawaii. Of the world's top coffee varieties, Arabica and Robusta are two of the most popular.
Arabica coffee, said to be the first-ever cultivated coffee, is best grown in the high altitudes of the subtropical (e.g. Brazil) and equatorial (e.g. Colombia) regions. Temperatures for growing should remain between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, but Arabica grows best around 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Robusta coffee, another common variety, has more caffeine than Arabica. It can also be grown at lower elevations, and can tolerate warmer temperatures than Arabica coffee. Since Robusta is not as highly valued as Arabica coffee, it is cheaper to produce. Robusta is native to western Africa and is most commonly found in Africa and Brazil. Vietnam, the world's second largest coffee producer, only exports Robusta coffee.
Shade-grown coffee vs. sun-grown coffee: To say that coffee has become highly commercialized is one of the most obvious statements of the last two decades. Therefore, like many other popular products, the natural growth patterns of coffee have been altered to meet its demand. Coffee is naturally grown in the shade, but most cultivated coffee is grown in the sun. Sun-grown coffee has done to shade-grown coffee what Wal-Mart has done to mom-and-pop shops. Therefore, shade-grown coffee is preferred by environmentalists. Shade-grown coffee does not deplete as many soil resources, and it also lives twice as long as sun-grown.
Growing coffee indoors: Tired of standing in line at the coffee shop for your favorite morning pick-me-up? Even if you don't live in a subtropical or equatorial climate, you can grow your own coffee tree. Under the right conditions coffee can be grown indoors. Coffee plants can be grown from seeds, from stem cuttings, or you can purchase a three to four year old mature plant. It takes approximately three to four years for coffee plants to yield the fruit from which coffee is made. Coffee plants need filtered sunlight and lots of water. They also need fertilizer, and need to be kept at a temperature averaging 70 degrees. Keeping the coffee tree hear a heat lamp may be necessary, depending on the temperature of your home.
For many, coffee is a food group. It is a cultural phenomenon, and oddly enough, partaking in a coffee drink identified by fourteen adjectives is a status symbol. However, coffee is not grown in the back alley of Starbucks, it is a crop that is indigenous to certain regions, and a plant that only grows in certain conditions. In fact, the best places to grow coffee are in subtropical and equatorial climates, and even in your own home.