If you ever head into a Starbucks like most people, you will also wonder about where they get their coffee beans for delicious coffee. Coffee beans in actual fact are grown all over the world. Altitude is very important when you want to grow great coffee. You get amazing Arabica beans which come from countries that have a nice tropical climate at about 3000 to 6000 feet in altitude. Most generic coffee beans can be grown in subtropical climates at about 2000 feet. Common sources include Africa, Brazil, and India etc. This collection of countries are essentially known as the bean belt because of the shape they form when connected on a map.
The coffee trees take about 9 months to mature and produce seeds and the trees are always grown in sheltered environments for better results. These coffee trees can grow to be over 30 feet tall sometimes, even though they are referred to as bushes. Mountainous regions are not good for automation so the picking process that follows the appearance of the fruit can be a long and tedious one depending upon the country and company involved in the process. Brands like Starbucks invest heavily into the process.
The coffee tree produces a cherry fruit essentially and the beans don’t look exactly like what you find in the bags straight away. You can dry the cherries in the sun or even separate the pulp to get the actual coffee husk and the green bean. A milling process is carried out to remove the husk and polished to get the green coffee bean alone. It is then packaged and sent out all over the world.
The beans are also subject to many quality tests by brand based on appearance, smell, and even the taste. The beans are then roasted locally in countries and are sold through wholesalers or in packets to people directly. Different brands have different techniques to roast the coffee and this is a huge point of difference for them. You will often find premium roasts and premium roast blends being advertised. Coffee powder is essentially a ground version of these beans.