Person holding brown, light roast coffee beans over a full bowl of beans.
Educational, General

Where Are Your Coffee Beans Coming From?

Drinking a cup of coffee to keep you warm and energized has become a daily routine for many — so daily and so regular, in fact, that the origins of the average coffee drinker’s beans probably hasn’t really crossed their mind.

But we know our customers are anything but average! So, to tend to the natural curiosity of our passionate clientele, we at Planetary Design have researched the top 5 largest producers and distributors of coffee beans in the world.

Colombia

A bag of coffee beans reading product of Colombia on the front with two red strips and a blue strip in the middle.

As one of the most popular coffee producers, Colombia splits the majority of its coffee bean production between thousands of family-owned farms, scattered across the country. Known for growing some of the highest-quality beans a person can buy, the secret is in the surroundings — Colombia’s mountainous and rough land, along with its tropical climate, is the perfect environment to grow beans.

Hawaii

a green cup sits on a matching dish with a spoon resting on top. The cup is filled with coffee and is placed at the end of the table.

Have you ever experienced the sweet, full-bodied taste of Kona coffee, plucked straight from the slopes of the Big Island? It’s more common than you think — almost 7 million pounds of green coffee beans were produced and sold around the world during the 2013-2014 season.

Though Kona is the most famous caffeinated yield from Hawaii, other islands have the opportunity to grow beans as well thanks to the warm and tropical climate. Young coffee trees are mainly planted in the volcanic black soil, and consistent tropical rain showers give the sprouting plants just the right amount of water.

A warm cup of Kona coffee is made to have a rich flavor in an aroma medium roast.  

Kenya

A lush green coffee plant filled with an abundant of red coffee beans.

Popular primarily in the United States and Europe, most of the coffee grown in Kenya is planted right at the base of Mount Kenya. The beans exude an acidic taste because they are grown in direct sunlight.

The small farms around Kenya put a special emphasis on creating high-quality coffee beans through a highly monitored and controlled drying process. The result is a rich flavor with fruity qualities and a vibrant aroma, perfect to brighten any morning.  

Mexico

A large amount of freshly picked coffee, with the sunset horizon in the background.

Small, independent coffee farms are more common in Mexico than larger plantations — producing beans with a particular sense of price and attention to detail. These farms sit mostly in the southern part of the country in states like Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas.

With over 100,000 farms, Mexico is one of the largest coffee producers in the world, but the majority of their exported coffee is shipped directly to us in the United States. We’re close and we love it! Coffee grown in Mexico is best used in blends, and has a sharp, pronounced taste that is perfect for dark roasts.   

Brazil

A branch of red coffee cherries with green leaves hanging from the brach.

We saved the biggest for last: as the largest producer of coffee in the world, Brazil is most famous for their mass growth and exportation of the bean. The land is plentiful in this South American country, and Brazilians certainly use it to the best of their abilities — one coffee plantation can require the help of hundreds of employees to care and operate the high-yield facilities.

A normal cup of coffee from Brazil has a sweet, mild taste, and is best served medium-roasted. Next time you’re in the Missoula area, be sure to stop by Drum Coffee to sample a fine Brazilian blend called Airto Blend.

The Difference is in the Beans

Climate, soil quality and altitude play a huge role in the growth of a healthy coffee bean plant. But the beans come encased as red cherries first and must be processed, milled and dried (usually in their native countries) before being exported.

Only after roasting do the beans reach your cup — that morning brew truly is a work of art!