Mexico began major exportation of coffee beans in the 1870s, and is now the leading source of US coffee imports. Most of Mexico’s coffee beans are grown in the southern part of the country by small-scale farming operations that number in the hundred thousands. Exporting around 5 million bags per year, Mexico produces some very fine bean varieties such as the Altura and Pluma Coixtepec.
Ethiopians lead the continent in coffee consumption, which is fitting since Ethiopia is the natural home for the Arabica tree, and the setting for most coffee origin tales. Approximately twelve million Ethiopians make a living from coffee, producing 3.8 million bags each year. Ethiopia is the top exporter of Arabica beans on the African continent.
India produces nearly 3.8 million bags of coffee beans per year, and coffee production is strictly controlled by the Indian Coffee Board, which some believe reduces quality of beans and dampens economic benefits to growers. One special type of Indian coffee is the Monsooned Malabar, which is made from green beans that have been exposed to monsoon winds blowing through open warehouses.
Coffee cultivation in Guatemala was introduced by German immigrants in the 19th century, and coffee has since become a major industry with nearly one quarter of the population involved in coffee production. Guatemala’s high-grown beans (above 4500 feet) are among the world’s best coffee, especially those beans grown on southern volcanic slopes. This country produces 3.5 million bags per year. Coveted blends are the Atitlan and the Huehuetenango.