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South American Coffee
Coffee and south and Central America are synonymous. It seems like you cannot have one without the other. The main reasons for this are varied. First of all this area has one of the best climates in the world for growing coffee beans. The tropical and subtropical climates are perfect and the soils are still rich and varied. These regions offer beans ranging from the low cost Robusta to the special gourmet Arabica and more. And since many of the countries have coffee as a major contributor to their economies, it is no wonder coffee is a part of the Latin American culture.
By far, the largest producer of coffee in the world is Brazil which has a coffee industry that can be traced as far back as the early 1700?s. Brazil produces about 35% of the world's coffee. As funny as it may sound, many of Brazil?s coffee producing regions is subject to frost. When the frost kills the crop, the price of coffee on the world market will skyrocket until the situation is resolved. Most Brazilian coffee is sundried and processed by hand, leading to a higher quality bean than most available. Approximately one-third of Brazil is capable of producing beans but that doesn't leave much room for any specialty coffees available from many countries. The only real specialty coffee available from Brazilian crops is the Santos brand, which is a house hold name among coffee drinkers.
The second highest producer of coffee in the world is also in South America. Columbian coffee is probably the most commonly known coffee producer because of the famous Juan Valdez ads a couple of decades ago. The country used to have the highest quality coffee but have sacrificed much of that quality for increased production. Not as old as Brazil the Columbian coffee industry was originated in 1808 by Jesuit missionaries with seeds brought from the French Antilles. Some of the most well known brands of Columbian coffee are the Medellin, Armenia, and Manizales which are exported jointly under the name MAM.
Many countries around the world produce good coffee but South American coffee is and always has been synonymous with quality and taste. If you are an old coffee hand you will already know this. If you are just starting to experiment with different coffee however, start with the ones with the longest history. Learn from the best, and then try the rest.