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The Basics of the Bean Belt

Posted by Meera Nair on

The coffee bean belt is a term used to refer to the area where a majority of the coffee-producing countries in the world are located.

Much like the namesake, it is in the form of a belt running across the globe from one side to the other. The bean belt lies near the Equator, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.

There are a couple of reasons why the coffee bean belt is a veritable concept; one that serious coffee enthusiasts must know about. 


Why is the Coffee Bean Belt Important?

Like all plants in the world, the coffee plant too requires certain conditions for its growth - a combination of factors like the right climate, soil, rainfall, etc.

The coffee bean belt is an area that provides optimum growing conditions for the coffee plant.

A few of the countries that are a part of it are India, Costa Rica, Vietnam, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Indonesia.

coffee bean belt

Based on that alone, you can see how it makes perfect sense. Some of the best coffees you’ve probably had come from regions in the coffee bean belt.

These countries not only have the ideal growing conditions, but courtesy of that have developed a stronghold in the market. Consequently, they have developed their agricultural and roasting calibre to produce great coffees.

If nothing else, by now, you are probably well aware of the fact that coffees are grown in higher altitudes compared to certain other crops. 

In addition to this, the tropical climate of the bean belt is yet another ideal factor. There’s ample rainfall, rich soil, sufficient humidity, year-round warmer temperatures, and dry seasons too!

When all these conditions are met, the coffee bean is of a higher quality than the rest.

And this holds true for both arabica coffee and robusta coffee. There are just some slight variations when it comes to the plant itself.

For instance, arabica trees thrive at comparatively higher altitudes whereas robusta can handle slightly hotter temperatures. 


Can Coffee Not Be Grown Outside of the Coffee Bean Belt?

This brings us to the ultimate question - is it impossible to grow coffee outside of the bean belt?

coffees from the bean belt

Not impossible, but just not feasible in terms of what it takes to export coffee. In some countries outside of the bean belt, there may be tropical climates but not the right soil composition. Some other countries may have fertile soil but not enough rainfall, and so on.

Even if by some experimentation, people are able to grow coffee plants, they can’t do it at a large enough scale and do so profitably.

Just think about it, with coffee being one of the most widely consumed beverages, wouldn’t more countries naturally have been involved in the industry if they could?



Now that you know what the coffee bean belt is and why it is important, you can understand what countries to look to for good coffee.

If you need more recommendations, check out our single origins collection and also keep an eye out on our blog as we cover coffee-producing countries in detail every month.
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