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The Coffee Belt

There is a ‘belt’ that spans across the globe, roughly bounded by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, with climate and conditions that are just right for coffee growing.

These regions typically offer moderate sunshine and rain, steady temperatures around 20 ℃ (70 ℃) and rich, porous soil. In return, the delicate tree yields beans that are an economic mainstay for dozens of countries and about 25 million people and, among natural commodities, have a monetary value surpassed only by oil.

Of the two main coffee trees, Arabicas beget better beans and from about 70 percent of the harvest. The harsher beans of the hardier Robusta tree account for the remainder 30 percent.

The Indonesian connection

The Dutch unwittingly gave coffee a nickname in the late 17th century, when they began the successful European coffee plantation on their island.

Top-grade Arabicas are still produced in Java as well as in Sumatera, Sulawesi and Flores. Though the Indonesian archipelago is most notable as the world’s largest producer of Robusta beans.