Can coffee be grown in the US? Yes it can! In today’s article we are going to discuss the regions in the United States where the coffee plant is grown. So, let’s dive in!
Can coffee grow in the US?
Coffee can mostly be grown in two locations in the United States; Hawaii and Puerto Rico. In Hawaii, coffee grows on Maui; another coffee grower is the state of California. Hawaii and California are the areas where coffee is grown on a commercial scale.
The United States is one of the countries that consume the most coffee. As a sort of performance enhancing drug, most Americans cannot live without it. The US makes it into the top ten countries that consume the most coffee.
However, coffee is grown in countries on or near the equator. As a tropical crop, coffee needs a moderate temperature and heavy rainfall. The state of California seems suitable, but it misses the threshold for rain. California receives 15-30 inches of rain per year while the harvest should be between 40 and 60.
Other economic factors play a role in growing coffee in the United States. The main problem is that irrigation is required to make up for the deficit in rainfall. Coffee growing has a large gap in production costs in the United States.
To offset the cost, Hawaiian farmers adulterated 90 percent of the best-selling coffee. Since the coffee offered by Latin America is already famous and thriving, competition for American coffee is fierce.
With all the hassle and money, it is impractical for the average US citizen to buy American-made coffee. Not only will American coffee cost twice what people are used to, but it may not reach the standard and quality that they are already used to.
What do you need to know about the coffee plant?
Coffee is grown at high altitudes where countries have tropical climates near the equator. The equator is known as The Bean Belt because the regions promote the cultivation of bean crops including coffee.
Worldwide, 70 countries produce coffee, of which the countries share the largest exports: Honduras, Indonesia, Colombia, Vietnam and Brazil.
Although Asia, Africa and Brazil grow most of the coffee consumed in the world, the US has started growing some in its own country as well, mainly in the state of California, aside from the territories of Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
Coffee farming in the U.S.A.
The United States has a history of coffee production, mainly in Hawaii, where coffee was first introduced about 200 years ago. In 2020, Hawaii produced 5.12 million pounds of coffee (about 38,000 bags), according to World Coffee Research.
The value of coffee used from the state's 2020 crop was valued at approximately $ 54.3 million, 8.25% more than the previous season, according to the Hawaii state Department of Agriculture.
Hawaii was the only state where coffee was grown until recently, but the harvest has been part of the history of Puerto Rico, a US territory, for nearly 300 years. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, coffee production in Puerto Rico has declined from $ 29.3 million in 2012 to $ 4.8 million in 2018.
Santa Barbara in California is home to small coffee farms
Let's shed some light on the current state of the coffee harvest:
There is a local coffee-growing initiative in California. More than 70 coffee farms under the direction of Frinj Coffee founder Jay Ruskey are in various stages of production. Together, the farms have planted more than 100,000 coffee trees in central and southern California.
The state of California also has 30 farms dedicated to the coffee plant. The state has 30,000 coffee trees in the Santa Barbara and San Diego areas. In Southern California, where the avocados grow, the coffee plantation began on the side.
Hawaii is home to one of the most expensive coffees due to the black, volcanic soil. Although Hawaii produces coffee all year round, the season particularly blooms after summer.
Hawaii has around 7,000 acres of land where it produces one of its most valuable raw materials. In 2009, Hawaii produced 8.6 million pounds of coffee.
Kope or Kona is one of the most expensive coffees you can buy in the US. Kona is a district in Hawaii where coffee is grown. Pure 100% Kona has a well-rounded and fulfilling coffee taste. Kona has a nutty note and a fruity taste.
A conscientious process of growing and processing Kona coffee is carried out in the late winters and early spring. Hawaii has a well-suited climate with fertile land and volcanic soil that the coffee plant could harvest.
Puerto RIco has an ideal climate for coffee growing
Puerto Rico was the sixth largest coffee maker in the 19th century. Puerto Rico has declined in coffee harvest due to climate change and hurricanes, but is still holding its own for its high quality arabica beans.
Coffee growing in Puerto Rico has a long history: the first coffea seedlings reached the Caribbean state as early as 1750. The popular beans have been cultivated here ever since. Mainly Arabica is grown, the varieties Typica, Catimor, Pacas and Bourbon are particularly noteworthy.
The conditions for growing coffee are ideal in Puerto Rico. The tropical climate with average temperatures of around 28 ° C (somewhat more moderate in the highlands) ensures that the sensitive coffee plants feel really comfortable here. The soils are extremely fertile. The combined cultivation of several crops at the same time ensures an even higher nutrient density.
Due to the political situation, the high production costs and climate change, however, coffee cultivation in Puerto Rico is declining today.
The United States is the world's leading coffee importer, buying the equivalent of 27.7 million bags weighing 60 kilograms (about 132 pounds) between October 2020 and September 2021, according to the International Coffee Organization.
While the US is the biggest buyer of coffee, Americans are not the biggest coffee drinkers in the world. Americans drank 327.4 cups of coffee per capita in 2020, according to research firm Euromonitor. Several countries drank more, including Lebanon (1,294.1 cups per capita in 2020), Sweden (1,170.6), Finland (1,065.1), the United Arab Emirates (994.6), and Slovenia (928.7).
As for coffee growing, there is still much to be explored not just in territories like Hawaii and Puerto Rico but also in locations where the climate might be favourable for coffee plantations, like California and Florida.