“Coffee belt” is the name of all the tropical-equatorial countries in which coffee thrives because of the climate there. Viewed on the globe, they result in a broad strip, similar to a belt, that extends around the equator. Most of the coffee consumed worldwide is grown there.
Where exactly is the coffee belt and which countries does it include?
It lies within the 23rd latitude north and the 25th latitude south. Here, around the equator, there is a damp and dry alternating climate, which is particularly characterized by the fact that there is sufficient rainfall and there are no extreme temperatures. Because the coffee plant primarily needs a balanced climate in which there are no extreme temperatures in order to thrive. It should also be cultivated, protected from sun and wind, and provided with sufficient moisture. All these conditions are offered by the coffee belt and, just as often, by very good soil conditions, that of the coffee plant is good for you and promotes your growth. Ideally, the soil is rich in nutrients and slightly acidic. All of these prerequisites are given in Ethiopia, for example, a country with frequent volcanic soils.
The coffee belt encloses Central and South America, large regions of Africa, but also parts of Asia. Its largest growing areas include Ethiopia, Vietnam, Colombia and Indonesia. However, Brazil is by far the largest coffee producer in the coffee belt and also worldwide. In all of the countries mentioned, the climatic conditions are ideal for growing coffee. The higher the growing area, the lower the average temperature and the longer the coffee matures. The coffee plants, which grow at altitudes of around 1000 to 2000 meters, is what the expert calls “highland coffee”.
Ideal conditions for growing coffee
Day and night, the sensitive coffee plants need a balanced climate without extreme heat and cold, sufficient rainfall and plenty of shade. Since coffee needs nutrient-rich soil, soil quality also plays a major role. A pH value between 5 and 6 is optimal, i.e. slightly acidic soil. Together with these geological components in connection with the genome of the coffee plant, these are factors that have a significant effect on the later taste of the coffee cherries.
Of the 60 existing varieties, only two are mainly used in coffee cultivation
Only two genera are important for the world market, namely ” Coffea Arabica ” and “Coffea Canephora” with their most important sub-genus the ” Robusta “. Arabica plants make up around 70 percent of global coffee cultures. There are numerous variations of this variety, such as the Maragogype, named after the Brazilian port city of Maragogipe. Because of their striking size, these beans are also known as “elephant and giant beans”. By the way, they are the largest coffee beans. They are around 30 to 40 percent larger than Arabica beans.
What are the requirements and properties of Arabica beans?
The flowering time to harvest is 7 to 9 months, with the plant fertilizing itself. It thrives best at an altitude of 400 to 2,100 meters, a temperature of 18 to 25 degrees Celsius and high humidity. Your water requirement is 1,000 to 2,000 mm per square meter per year. With a caffeine content of 0.8 to 1.5 percent and a fat content of 15 to 18 percent, it has a sour, fruity to floral taste. This coffee plant thrives in the following growing areas:
Brazil, Mexico, Panama, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Paraguay, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Ethiopia, Kenya, Burundi, Zambia and Rwanda.
In contrast, what do Robusta beans need?
They are cross-fertilized and their flowering time to harvest extends over a period of 9 to 11 months. It feels most comfortable at an installation height of 0 to 900 meters, a temperature that is around 26 degrees Celsius and a humidity that is close to 100 percent. It needs between 1,500 and 2,000 mm of water per square meter annually. Their caffeine content is 1.7 to 3.5 percent, their fat content 8 to 9 percent and their taste is usually described as “bitter, earthy, rough”. Robusta beans thrive in the following regions:
Thailand, Vietnam, Angola, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Togo, Benin, the Central African Republic, Indonesia and the island state of Madagascar.
A specialty in El Salvador, the land of the Maya with the excellent coffee
Translated into English, ” El Salvador ” means “the Savior”. This is not without a certain tragedy in view of the fact that this country has the highest homicide rate due to gang crime. The situation of the extremely poor population is correspondingly critical.
The entire coffee plantations, especially the plantation called ” Bosque Lya “, have now set themselves the goal of achieving a permanent improvement in the population situation (one in four is employed in agriculture). This is done, among other things, through a project that testifies to unprecedented social commitment. It should help to fundamentally improve the situation of the people, some of whom live in great poverty. Many families live on less than one US dollar a day! Some plantation owners have therefore made it their business to change the situation of the people for the better through their own initiatives.
Don Gustavo Videz Valdez and his plans are exemplary here
In 1932, Don Gustavo started an aid project on his coffee plantations. Not only did his workers live with him, but he also enabled them to receive training, ensured medical care and also provided for their daily food. So he had a school, a hospital and a small chapel built on the plantation. Education is something very precious in El Salvador, because there is practically no compulsory education here, and the government is far from supporting, let alone promoting, the teaching of knowledge through school attendance.
Don Gustavo Videz Valdez, an example of further initiatives in this direction, provided his employees with a permanently better quality of life. All workers are employed full time throughout the year to this day to guarantee them a secure job and a fixed monthly income. Therefore, a very extraordinary social project has been and is still being implemented on the Bosque Lya coffee plantation.
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Java: In the middle of a coffee plantation – pure wellness!
22 hectares with the lush vegetation of a coffee plantation form the backdrop for a holiday of a special kind in Central Java. The “Mesa Stila” property is a five-star wellness hotel and is located in the middle of this plantation. The area also has impressive, historical buildings, such as the former residence of a local prince. The project was set up with the aim of offering its guests a refuge in which they can find their inner balance at a high level and in a unique environment.
El Salvador and Java: the various projects could hardly be more contrasting!
Facts and figures about the coffee belt:
- The cultivation area worldwide is approximately 10 million hectares
- There are an estimated 15 billion coffee bushes
- The average yield per hectare is around 550 kg of green coffee
- The world’s annual harvest production has risen to 140 million sacks of 60 kg coffee over the past ten years. This corresponds to an increase of 30 percent.
Environmental aspects and sustainability in the field of coffee harvest in the coffee belt
In view of the undeniable increase in global warming and the associated shortage of such important resources as water, substantial measures must be taken, especially in developing countries, where the majority of the coffee harvest takes place. These must especially include those involved in cultivation, care, harvesting and processing in order to enable them to have a decent life. Because more than 100 million people in 76 growing countries make a living from the production, processing and distribution of coffee. Developments such as climate change and the scarcity of agricultural land pose major challenges for the future of the world of coffee.
Therefore, the focus must be on sustainable coffee cultivation, because that means protecting the environment and promoting the improvement of living and working conditions in the growing countries within the coffee belt. This is why non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and coffee companies are increasingly advocating the implementation of basic economic, social and ecological standards. Today (still a small percentage, but still a start), 26 percent of the world market volume for coffee comes from certified cultivation. Also many different coffee seals of approval are demonstrably contributing to a rethinking of consumers, away from pure coffee, cheap products, towards sustainably grown coffee. Consumers have the opportunity to opt for certified coffee from sustainable cultivation based on the seals such as ” Fairtrade “, “UTZ CERTIFIED” and “Rainforest Alliance” .
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“Coffee belt” is the name given to all of the tropical equatorial countries in which coffee thrives because of the climatic conditions there. Therefore, most of the coffee drunk worldwide is grown there.
- It lies within the 23rd latitude north and the 25th latitude south.
- Of 60 types of coffee, only “Arabica” and “Robusta” are of worldwide importance.
- There are an estimated 15 billion coffee bushes.
- The cultivation area is approximately 10 million hectares.
- The average yield per hectare is around 550 kilograms of green coffee.
Compliance with environmental criteria, such as sustainability, as well as fair working conditions and fair wages for all workers is the order of the day.