Where Does Coffee Come From?

Coffee is a truly delicious drink that keeps us focused, but it takes a long time to get from bean to cup. Coffee plants take years to flower and can only grow in a certain part of the world. The good news is that this area spans several continents, giving us a wide variety of coffee to choose from. The place where coffee is grown has a big impact on its taste and for more detail on this see other articles how coffee beans grow and the journey from bean to cup.


I - Coffee: A Global Obsession

II - African Coffee

III - South American Coffee

IV - Central American Coffee

V - Asian Coffee

VI - FAQ's

Coffee: A Global Obsession

The British public alone spends over one billion pounds on coffee each year. That's a lot of coffee! To keep up with demand, goliath quantities of coffee are shipped around the world every day.

Coffee is grown primarily in South and Central America, Africa, and Asia. There's a reason for that: the climate closer to the equator is ideal for coffee production. This area is known as the "coffee belt," and it includes over 70 countries, more than half of which can grow coffee. The most famous coffee-producing countries include Brazil, Ethiopia, Jamaica, and Indonesia.

What do these countries have in common, besides delicious coffee? A tropical climate with high elevation, which provides enough sunlight, moisture, heat, and humidity for Arabica coffee to grow. Arabica beans are hardier and are used for specialty coffees.

Of course, not all coffee is created equal. The taste of coffee varies depending on the region and country where it is grown. Just as different cultures have developed different cuisines, they have also developed different coffee traditions.

Brazilian coffee is known for being low in acidity, very smooth, and with hints of chocolate. Ethiopian coffee is more delicate, with fruity and even botanical characteristics. Indonesian coffee has a darker, bolder flavour profile with earthy notes like tobacco, leather, wood, and spice.

It's amazing that even though these countries have similar environments, the coffee they produce is so different. This is due to a variety of factors, including the specific varieties of coffee grown, the processing methods used, and the altitude and climate of each region.

South American Coffee: A Rich and Diverse Tradition

South America is home to some of the world's most famous and beloved coffee-producing countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guatemala, and Peru. Each of these countries has its own unique coffee culture and produces coffee with its own unique flavour profile.


Brazil is the largest producer of coffee on the planet, and its coffee is known for being rich, full-bodied, and very low in acidity. It has chocolatey and nutty characteristics and is not too bitter, making it perfect for sipping throughout the day.


Colombian coffee is known for its smooth flavour and low caffeine content. It is also said to have several health benefits, including reducing the risk of heart failure, liver cancer, and Parkinson's disease. Colombia is one of the few countries in the world that produces exclusively Arabica beans, which are of higher quality than Robusta beans.

African Coffee: A Cradle of Diversity and Flavour

African Coffee Producers

Africa is the birthplace of coffee, and its coffee-producing countries are known for producing some of the most unique and flavourful coffees in the world. Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, and Zambia are just a few of the African countries that produce world-class coffee.


Kenyan coffee is known for its bright, acidic flavour and intense floral and fruity notes. It is grown on high-altitude volcanic land, and the unique climate and processing methods used by Kenyan coffee growers produce beans of exceptional quality. Kenyan coffee is also known for its fair-trade practices and commitment to sustainable agriculture.


Ethiopia is the birthplace of the Arabica coffee bean, and it is home to some of the most diverse coffee varieties in the world. Ethiopian coffee is known for its complex flavour profile, which can range from fruity and floral to earthy and spicy. Ethiopian coffee growers are known for their traditional processing methods, which produce coffee with a unique and distinctive flavour.

Central American Coffee: A Treasure Trove of Flavours

Central American Coffee Producer

Central American coffee is some of the most prized in the world, and for good reason. Countries like Guatemala and Honduras produce coffee with a wide range of flavours from the bright and acidic coffees of Guatemala to the sweet and chocolatey coffees of Honduras.


Guatemala is one of the largest coffee producers in the world, and its coffee is known for its acidity, fruitiness, and sophistication. Guatemalan coffee is grown in a variety of microclimates with rich volcanic soils, which contributes to its complex flavour profile. The higher altitudes and relatively harsher conditions in Guatemala also mean that the coffee plants take longer to grow, resulting in a more concentrated flavour.


Honduran coffee is known for its sweetness, chocolatey notes, and caramel-like flavour. Honduran coffee beans can be roasted from light to dark, and they produce complex flavours at all roast levels. Honduran coffee is also generally more affordable than other specialty coffees, making it a great value for coffee lovers.

Asian Coffee: A Diverse and Flavourful Landscape

Sumatran Coffee Farm


India has been cultivating coffee since the fifteenth century, and its coffee is known for its intensely rich and smooth flavour. Indian coffee is typically grown in the hills of southern India, where the perfect environment for coffee beans to thrive.


Indonesia is one of the world's leading coffee producers, and its coffee is known for its bold and complex flavours. Some of the most popular Indonesian coffees include Sumatran coffee, which is known for its earthy and smoky notes; and Java coffee, which is known for its smooth and nutty flavour.

Other Asian Coffee-Producing Countries

Other Asian coffee-producing countries include Vietnam, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea. Vietnamese coffee is known for its strong and robusta flavour, while Thai coffee is known for its sweet and nutty flavour. Papua New Guinea coffee is known for its unique and complex flavour profile, with notes of chocolate, fruit, and spice.

The Positive Impact of Coffee on Communities

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, and for good reason. It's delicious, invigorating, and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. But did you know that coffee also has a positive impact on communities around the world?

The coffee industry employs millions of people around the world, and it is a vital part of the economy for many countries. For example, in Colombia, coffee is the third largest export after coal and oil. In Ethiopia, an estimated 15 million people rely on coffee production for their livelihood.

The coffee industry also provides communities with access to essential services such as housing, education, and clean water. Organisations like the Rainforest Alliance and Fairtrade Foundation work to ensure that coffee-growing communities receive fair prices for their coffee and that they have access to the resources they need to thrive.

At Stokes, we are committed to supporting coffee-growing communities. We purchase our coffee and tea through companies that have direct links to farmers, and we source coffee from the most sustainable farm in Brazil. This way, we know that our coffee is not only delicious, but it is also ethically sourced.


Where did coffee come from?

It all started with a goat with a lot of energy. According to legend, a goat herder in Ethiopia noticed that his goats were more energetic after eating the berries of a certain plant. He tried the berries himself and found that they gave him a boost of energy as well. He took the berries to the local church and brewed them into a drink, which quickly became popular among the monks.

Today, we call that drink coffee. And we all have goats to thank for it.

Is there any coffee grown in the UK?

Not unless you're a very patient gardener. The UK is not in the Coffee Belt, which is the region of the world where coffee grows best. Unfortunately, the UK weather, lacks the humidity for coffee plants to thrive, and it is not at the right altitude, (although a few of staff here at Stokes grow, just for fun, potted coffee plants on their desks). But don't despair! As discussed in this article, there are amazing coffees from all over the world available, so you can still enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, even if it's not grown in your own garden.

You might also be interested in these:

- The History Of Coffee

- How Is Coffee Decaffeinated?

- How Are Coffee Beans Roasted?