The coffee plant grows in tropical areas. It grows between 600 to 7200 feet above sea level. Fundamentally, coffee beans are of two types:
Arabica
Arabica is the earliest cultivated species of the coffee tree. It grows best in altitudes between 4000 and 6000 feet above sea level. It requires special soil conditions with just the right balance of warmth and moisture. It is considered a higher quality bean and produces very flavorful and aromatic coffee. It takes six to nine months to mature.
Arabica trees are susceptible to disease, frost, and drought, and fall to the ground soon after they ripen. Hence they must be harvested as soon as they ripen. They require careful labor-intensive cultivation and produce only 1 to 1.5 pounds of beans per year. For this reason they are more expensive. The beans are low in caffeine content and high in flavor and aroma. Arabica beans account for about 75% of the beans that are grown around the world.
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Robusta
Robusta grows best in altitudes above sea level and up to 2500 feet. It is mainly cultivated in West Africa and Southeast Asia. It is less flavorful and less aromatic. It is more tolerant of the cold and moisture. Robusta beans do not fall to the ground once they ripen, hence it does not need to be harvested immediately. This species is normally purchased as 'filler' bean for canned coffees to reduce the roasters cost. Robusta has twice the caffeine content of Arabica. In fact, Robusta takes less time to mature, typically half the time needed for Arabica beans, and tend to yield twice as many cherries and therefore it is less expensive. Robusta accounts for about 25% of the coffee grown around the world. Its taste is more of an earthy quality.
Some of the countries that produce coffee are mentioned below along with the characteristics of each coffee type.
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Brazil
The Brazilian coffee industry has concentrated from the beginning on producing "price" coffees: cheap, fairly palatable, but hardly distinguished. Of the many market names for Brazilian coffee, only one, Santos, is of importance for the specialty-coffee trade. Another, Rio, is significant mainly because it lends its name to a peculiar medicinal flavor that coffee people call Rioy. The cheaper Brazilian coffees are occasionally for sale in specialty stores, presumably to be used by consumers to save money in their private blends. As the world's major coffee producer for more than a century, Brazil holds the record because one third of its landscape is suitable for coffee cultivation. The country produces excellent specialty coffees from the Bahia and Minas Gerais regions.
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Colombia

The two most famous coffees of the eastern cordillera are Bogota and Bucaramanga, Bogota, considered one of the finest coffees grown in Columbia, is less acidy than Medellin, but equally rich and flavorful. Bucaramanga is a soft-bean coffee, with some of the character of fine Sumatran coffees: heavy body, low acidity, and rich flavor tones. As the second largest exporter, Colombia produces coffee with superb flavor and many Andean farmers still harvest the beans by hand. The light, slightly sweet coffee comes in "supremo" (large beans) or "excelso" (smaller).
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Mexico

Most Mexican coffee comes from the southern part of the country, where the continent narrows and takes a turn to the east. They are not among the world's greatest coffees, because they often lack richness and body, but at their best they are analogous to a good light white wine delicate in body, with a pleasantly dry, acidy snap. If you drink your coffee black and like a light, acidy cup, you will like the best Mexican coffees.
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Guatemala

The central highlands of Guatemala produce some of the world's best and most distinctively flavored coffees. The most famous regional market names are Antigua, Coban and Huehuetenango. The finest Guatemalan coffees are medium to full in body and rich in flavor. You will like Guatemalan coffees if you like their smoky, distinctive flavor and fairly rich cup.
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El Salvador
The general consensus for El Salvadoran coffee is that has a flavor somewhere between neutral and mild. One brochure calls it slightly sweet, which is about the most positive comment I've heard about it. We would say El Salvadoran coffee has decent body but rather ordinary flavor. The best grade is labeled strictly high grown.
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Brazil

The Brazilian coffee industry has concentrated from the beginning on producing "price" coffees: cheap, fairly palatable, but hardly distinguished. Of the many market names for Brazilian coffee, only one, Santos, is of importance for the specialty-coffee trade. Another, Rio, is significant mainly because it lends its name to a peculiar medicinal flavor that coffee people call Rioy. The cheaper Brazilian coffees are occasionally for sale in specialty stores, presumably to be used by consumers to save money in their private blends. As the world's major coffee producer for more than a century, Brazil holds the record because one third of its landscape is suitable for coffee cultivation. The country produces excellent specialty coffees from the Bahia and Minas Gerais regions
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Colombia
The two most famous coffees of the eastern cordillera are Bogota and Bucaramanga, Bogota, considered one of the finest coffees grown in Columbia, is less acidy than Medellin, but equally rich and flavorful. Bucaramanga is a soft-bean coffee, with some of the character of fine Sumatran coffees: heavy body, low acidity, and rich flavor tones. As the second largest exporter, Colombia produces coffee with superb flavor and many Andean farmers still harvest the beans by hand. The light, slightly sweet coffee comes in "supremo" (large beans) or "excelso" (smaller).
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Mexico
Most Mexican coffee comes from the southern part of the country, where the continent narrows and takes a turn to the east. They are not among the world's greatest coffees, because they often lack richness and body, but at their best they are analogous to a good light white wine delicate in body, with a pleasantly dry, acidy snap. If you drink your coffee black and like a light, acidy cup, you will like the best Mexican coffees.
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Guatemala

The central highlands of Guatemala produce some of the world's best and most distinctively flavored coffees. The most famous regional market names are Antigua, Coban and Huehuetenango. The finest Guatemalan coffees are medium to full in body and rich in flavor. You will like Guatemalan coffees if you like their smoky, distinctive flavor and fairly rich cup.
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El Salvador
The general consensus for El Salvadoran coffee is that has a flavor somewhere between neutral and mild. One brochure calls it slightly sweet, which is about the most positive comment I've heard about it. We would say El Salvadoran coffee has decent body but rather ordinary flavor. The best grade is labeled strictly high grown.
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Nicaragua
Nicaraqua coffee is as middle-of-the-road as El Salvadoran: decent, straightforward flavor, fairly acidy, with medium to light body. Jinotega and Matagalpa produce the best-known Nicaraguan coffees.
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Costa Rica
Costa Rican is a classically complete coffee; it has everything and lacks nothing. The best displays an exceptionally full body and robust richness. Good Mexican coffees are brisk; good Costa Rican coffees are hearty.
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Jamaica

Jamaican coffee is a story of extremes: The lowland coffees of Jamaica are so ordinary that they are seldom sold in the United States except as fillers for cheap blends. On the other hand, the highland coffees traditionally rank among the world's most distinguished, and Jamaican Blue Mountain, however one defines that name, is the world's most celebrated, most expensive, and most controversial coffee.
The original Wallensford coffee from fifteen years ago was an understated masterpiece, a quintessentially classic coffee with enough of everything: rich flavor and aroma, full body and moderate acidity in perfect, subtle balance. The Blue Mountain coffees shipped today retain the body and richness, but lack the acidity; they are smooth, well-bodied, moderately rich coffees deserving to be drunk, but not to be carried on about.
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Dominican Republic

Coffee from the Dominican Republic is often called Santo Domingan, after the country's former name. Coffee is grown on both slopes of the mountain range that runs on an east-west axis down the center of the island. The four main market names are Cibao, Bani, Ocoa, and Barahona. All are well prepared, washed coffees.
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Haiti
Owing to continuing internal political problems, Haitian coffees are difficult to find. The best of many grades is strictly high-grown washed; second best is high-grown washed. Haiti's heavy rainfall and deep volcanic soil combined with low growing altitudes may account for the mellow sweetness that distinguishes the best Haitian coffee. It has fair body and acidity to go with the pleasantly soft, rich flavor.
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Venezuela
The best Venezuelan coffee comes from the far western corner of the country, the part that borders Colombia. Coffees from this area are called Maracaibos, after the port through which they are shipped, and include one coffee, Cucuta, that is actually grown in Colombia, but is shipped through Maracaibo. Coffees from the coastal mountains farther east are generally marked Caracas, after the capital city, and are shipped through La Guaira, the port of Caracas.
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Ecuador
Ecuador produces substantial amounts of coffee, but little seems to appear in specialty stores in the United States. This is another pleasant but unremarkable coffee in the Latin American style, with thin to medium body and occasional sharp acidity.
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Peru
Generally a mildly acid coffee, light-bodied but flavorful and aromatic, Peruvian generally resembles the coffees of Mexico. Like Mexican, it is considered a "good blender" owing to its pleasant but understated character. Peruvian also is often used in dark roasts and as a base for flavored coffees.
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Yemen
Mocha is one of the more confusing terms in the coffee lexicon. The coffee we call Mocha today is grown as it has been for hundreds of years in the mountains of Yemen, at the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It was originally shipped through the ancient port of Mocha, which has since seen its harbor blocked by a sandbar. The other ambiguity derives from the famed chocolate aftertaste of Arabian Mocha, which caused an enthusiast to use the same name for the traditional mixture of hot.
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Ethiopia
The Harrar coffees are the most widely available of fancy Ethiopian coffees. They are grown on small peasant plots and farms in the Eastern part of the country near the old capital of Harrar, at about 5,000 to 6,000 feet. You may see these coffees called longberry Harrar (large bean), shortberry Harrar (smaller bean), or Mocha Harrar (peaberry, or single bean).
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Kenya
The main growing area stretches south from the slopes of 17,000-foot Mt. Kenya almost to the capital, Nairobi. There is a smaller coffee-growing region on the slopes of Mt. Elgon, on the border between Uganda and Kenya. Kenya coffee is a fine coffee for those who like the striking and unusual, not so winey as Ethiopian Harrar, fuller-bodied but more intense than Yemen Mocha.
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Tanzania
Most Tanzanian arabicas are grown on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru, near the Kenyan border. These coffees are called Kilimanjaro or sometimes Moshi or Arusha after the main towns and shipping points. Most Tanzanian coffees share the characteristically sharp, winey acidity typical of African and Arabian coffees. They tend to be medium- to full-bodied and fairly rich in flavor.
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Uganda
The main part of the Uganda coffee production is robusta, used in instant coffees and inexpensive commercial blends. Uganda does produce one excellent arabica, however: Bugishu or Bugisu, from the western slopes of Mt. Elgon, on the Kenya border. It is another typically winey African coffee, close to Kenyan coffees in flavor but usually lighter in body.
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Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia, has been exporting an excellent coffee to the United States in recent years. It is a washed coffee grown on medium-sized farms, and still another variant on the acidy, winey-toned coffees of East Africa. Some importers rank Zimbabwe with the best Kenyan coffees. Samples I have tasted were not so full-bodied or rich, but Zimbabwe is a fine and improving African-style coffee.
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India
Monsooned Mysore coffees have been exposed for several weeks to the moist winds of the monsoon, which yellows the bean and reduces the acidity, imparting a heavy, syrupy flatness reminiscent of aged coffees. Many consider monsooned coffees a delicacy, perhaps because of the romance of the name and the process. The best monsooned coffee is called Monsooned Malabar.
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Sumatra
Some of the most famous coffees of the world are grown on the gigantic islands of the Malay Archipelago: Sumatra, Sulawesi or Celebes, and Java in Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Whereas Central American coffees are distinguished by their dry, winey aftertaste, the coffees of Indonesia and New Guinea are noted for their richness, full body, long finish, and an acidity that, though pronounced, is deep- toned, gentle, and enveloped in the complexity of the coffee.
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New Guinea
Coffee labeled New Guinea usually comes from Papua New Guinea, which occupies the eastern, half of the island of New Guinea. These coffees are grown in peasant patches and small plantations throughout the rugged mountain highlands. The best New Guinea coffee is estate - or plantation-grown. In general, New Guinea is a low-key version of the great Indonesian coffees: not as full-bodied as the best Sumatra, less acidy and aromatic than the best Celebes, but a comfortably rich cup. Coffee marketed as Arona seems to be the currently preferred New Guinea coffee among specialty roasters.
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Hawaii
The original Kona coffee was, and still is, grown on small farms above the Pacific on the lower slopes of Mauna Loa. The coffee trees are shaded by a cloud cover that appears regularly most afternoons (the famous "automatic shade"), just in time to protect them from the full devastation of the tropical sun.
The best grade is extra fancy, followed by fancy and number one grades. There are many excellent small estates in the Kona district; generally the coffee they produce is both better and more interesting than the Kona coffees that are pooled and sold generically
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