The Optimal Coffee Environment:
Best Climate Conditions for Growing Coffee Beans
For growing Arabica coffee beans, there are two optimal growing climates:
The subtropical regions,
at high altitudes of 16-24° (Illy,
21). Rainy and dry seasons must be well defined,
and altitude must be between 1800-3600 feet. These
conditions result in one coffee growing season and one maturation
season, usually in the coldest part of autumn. Mexico,
Jamaica, the S. Paulo and Minas Gerais regions in Brazil,
and Zimbabwe are examples of areas with these climate
conditions (Illy, 21).
The equatorial regions at
latitudes lower than 10° and altitudes of 3600-6300 feet
(Illy, 21). Frequent rainfall causes almost continuous
flowering, which results in two coffee harvesting seasons.
The period of highest rainfall determines the main harvesting
period, while the period of least rainfall determines
the second harvest season. Because rainfall is too frequent for patio
drying to occur, artificial drying with
mechanical dryers is performed in this
type of coffee growing environment. Examples of countries that have
this climate are Kenya, Colombia, and Ethiopia (Illy,
Robusta coffee is grown at much
lower altitudes (sea level-3000 feet) in an area 10° North
and South of the equator (Illy, 22). It is much more
tolerant to warm conditions than Arabica coffee.
For more information about coffee growing regions, ecology, and the best climate for coffee trees, visit the National Coffee Association or the International Coffee Organization.