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Has anyone wondered what type of soil is best for growing coffee beans? Of course, this all depends on the type of java bean being grown. This article will discuss some of the best types of soil to grow the perfect bean for a good cup of joe.
First up is the birthplace of the coffee bean, Ethiopia. The countries rich, moist, and slightly acidic — 6.0 to 6.5 pH balance — allows the coffee plant to grow into a medium-size tree. In the spring, the plant begins to sprout with small white flowers.
Eventually, half-inch berries appear. These berries will gradually darken from green to blackish pods. Each of these pods contains two seeds that eventually become the java bean people use to brew a cup of joe.
Ethiopia produces roughly 3.98 million bags of java a year. Their coffee has a syrupy taste due to the dry processing methods that leave the skin intact on the bean.
Next up is the soil in Kenya. This country grows Arabica java. Around 250,000 Kenyans are employed by small landholders to help grow the Arabica beans. Kenya’s rich volcanic soil — found in the highlands of this country — produces one of the finest cups of joe in the world.
In recent years, Kenya’s coffee farmers have developed a new plant they call Ruiru 11 hybrid. This new plant has many of Kenya’s coffee lovers a bit concerned. This is based on the fact the Ruiru 11 hybrid is not grown like traditional Kenya java.
The Kenya Coffee Board has been promoting Ruiru 11 as an alternative for local farmers to grow. However, rumors that the java hybrid tastes like a low-grade coffee from another country. This has caused many farmers to deter away from growing the Ruiru 11.
Kenya’s traditional java has a wine-like acidity with a deep flavor — a bright, berry-like taste. Kenyan’s use a wet process to produce a medium to full body cup of joe.
South America produces a lot of the world’s java beans. The various micro-climates throughout the country allow it to grow many different types of java — including some that typically grow in other countries.
Panama’s Boquete region is East of the Baru volcano. It has many micro-climates within its small land area. This includes the legendary Bajareque area. Here it mists acts as a natural cooling system during the coffee’s ripening period.
Panama’s Geisha is the most expensive cup of joe. According to Sweatpants and Coffee, a 10-ounce bag is priced at $396. That is a lot of money for some java. This cup of joe is said to have a unique flavor profile of bergamot and honeysuckle all in one — and without having strong acidity.
On the western side of the Baru volcano is Volcan. Here the java plant benefits from its rich volcanic soil. Volcan shares a border with Costa Rica.
Many people believe that Costa Rica produces the best coffee. Costa Rica’s largest region is called the Terrazu. This region produces 35 percent of all the coffee in this country.
The coffee in the Terrazu is grown in the Quepos Mountains. Here the high altitude provides several nuanced profiles of flavor.
Costa Rica’s “Bordeaux” of java is grown in the small region of Tres Rios. The coffee grown in Naranjo won the Cup of Excellence four years in a row.
Much of South America has a higher altitude than other countries. Due to this much of the java beans grown here are Arabica. The Robusta bean flourishes in the country when it is grown between sea level to 750 meters above sea level.
Seven unique kinds of Arabica beans are grown in Guatemala. This is due to the area’s soil, rainfall, temperature, humidity, and altitude. Guatemala’s volcanic soil and rainforest-like climates provide the perfect climate for beans to grow to make the perfect cup of joe.
There is a very limited area for coffee beans to grow in the United States of America. These areas are Hawaii, California, and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico. Even though California has disparaging effects of climate change on the coffee plants, it is hailed as the next golden coffee producer.
In 2018, there were roughly 800 java farms in the state of Hawaii. At that time the state produced around 9 million pounds of unroasted coffee. The U.S. is steadily climbing into the coffee production world as it makes its mark as a competitor.
These are just some of the java-growing regions in the world.
Written by Sheena Robertson
The Spruce: How to Grow Coffee Plant; by Jon VanZile
Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI): Coffee Research Institute
International Coffee Trading: PANAMA
Sweatpants and Coffee: Top 10 Coffee-Growing Regions in the World; by Kacey Mya
Top and Featured Image Courtesy of Martin Diepeveen’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Sheep”R”Us’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License