Melitta Costa Rican Coffee Farm Drying Cherries

Coffee does not grow everywhere in the world, as it requires special climatic conditions that are only found in tropical and equatorial countries. These countries are located in the so-called "Bean Belt", which is bound by the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, from 22° north of the Equator to 26° south of the Equator. There are more than 50 countries that are able to grow coffee commercially, because they offer frost free, damp-dry climate change and trade winds. Most of these countries are in Central and South America, Africa and Asia.

Ideal growing conditions for the coffee plant can generally be found in tropical and sub-tropical regions with temperatures of 20ºC – 24ºC, abundant sunlight, rich soil, and 1.5 meters - 2 meters of annual rainfall.  Coffee plants are sensitive and place high demands on their environment. They need plenty of light and heat, but too much sun is detrimental. Regular precipitation is also important for growth. Frost can destroy and entire harvest, plants already react sensitively to temperatures of 10°C or less. Countries such as Brazil, Kenya or India therefore grow different varieties.

Arabica coffee trees, which produce the best quality beans, grow at high altitudes. Between 1,200 and 2,700 meters above sea level, the terrain is usually impassable making cultivation and harvesting more difficult. As the temperatures are usually lower at these elevations, it takes longer until the coffee berries are ripe. However, the secret of an Arabica bean’s quality lies in all of this: The coffee has more time to develop its aromatic constituents. Therefore, highland coffees offer more enjoyable flavor.