Green Coffee Origins and Regions

Every single bean of every single cup of coffee you drink is connected to the original coffee plants of Ethiopia.  

Coffee was discovered over 1000 years ago in Africa in the Kaffa region.  The legend goes that a goat herder named Kaldi saw his goats eating some red berries then getting very excited afterwards.  He then tried them himself and he too got very excited.  So the very first time a human consumed coffee, it was as a fruit.  Kaldi then shared his discovery with some local monks who feared they were the devil’s work and promptly tossed them in the fire.  When they started to roast in the fire, a wonderful aroma emerged so they went back and retrieved the hot beans.  They soaked them in water to cool them and then decided to drink the water and viola – coffee!  

There are only two commercially available species of coffee: Arabica and Robusta.  Arabica is the #1 species by a wide margin.  Robusta may be the weaker cousin, but it does have twice the caffeine per bean in comparison to Arabica.  The downside (why is there always a down side?) is that it tastes woody, has very strong earthy flavours – think wet grass and straw and is an acquired taste.  There is a reason Robusta is used for instant coffee and is found in concentrations of up to 20% of “espresso blend” coffee beans.  Robusta is the Chevy of the industry and Arabica is the Rolls Royce.  

There are actually 129 species of coffee and within those species, another 50 to 60 varieties alone in the Arabica family.  

The three major coffee growing regions of the world are Africa, Central/South America and Middle East/South East Asia.  Of course there are many more regions but these are the big three.  All of the coffee growing regions are between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer.  

There are essentially three types of coffee farms in all coffee growing regions: Forest coffees, Garden coffees, and plantation coffees.  Plantation coffee produces coffee beans from large scale, tree-dense, commercial farms using growing techniques like fertilizer application, weed and pest control, and other commercial levels techniques.  Garden coffees are those planted in close proximity to the farmer’s home.  This is where the vast majority of African coffees come from (especially Ethiopia).  Most garden coffee farms use organic fertilizers.    Forest coffee comes from guess where?  Yup, the forest.  This coffee is grown in the wild under shade cover of other forest trees.  All the trees live with mutual benefit and ecological balance.  

There are way too many coffee regions to discuss in detail – a whole book could be and has been written on that alone (a book that we have) so if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us.  

We will be posting the origins for each bean that we buy and roast so that you know where they came from and how we roasted them and what to expect when you drink it.  We can even roast you some coffee that is going top taste like berries.