25 Feb

Map of the Week: World Coffee Economy

Map and article by: Nicholas Schmidt

Coffee is produced, exported, imported, and consumed across the entire globe. This map shows the world’s top 25 consuming countries (shown in shades of brown) alongside the top 25 producing countries (shown in shades of green). The 49 nations highlighted on this map, are the largest coffee producers and consumers in the world.

Coffee is everywhere. From your favorite café to the shelves of our local stores, it has become a popular commodity in the United States. Not many people think further than the breakfast table of where their coffee comes from. This became a curiosity for me when I signed up for a delivery service to receive a monthly shipment of coffee beans. Every month, a new country’s coffee would arrive on my doorstep. It was fascinating to me to read about the nations and regions where the beans were produced and exported. 

After a while, a seemingly general theme began to reveal itself. I felt as if I was catching on to a global trend. That is when making a world map sounded like a good idea. I was interested in seeing if my assumptions were correct in that most coffee was being produced in the same general world region. As the gray world map was being decorated with shades of green, it became apparent to me that coffee was indeed being grown and exported from regions in the world that I could group into three categories. I found that the majority of coffee production was in East Africa, Central and northern South America, and East Asia. 

One country, Brazil, is by far the leading producer of coffee accounting for 40% of the world’s supply. With over 2.5 million metric tons (2.8 million U.S. tons) produced every year, Brazil’s production alone is capable of serving every person in the United States with 86 cups of coffee every year!

Now that the producing countries were displayed in a visual form, I was equally as curious to see where coffee was going. I arrived at the conclusion that a similar trend could be found in coffee consuming countries. With a little more research and mapping, it turns out the answer to that question was a resounding yes. Europe, with the vast majority in the west or north, claims 22 out of the 25 coffee consuming countries in the world with a few nations consuming nearly 12 kilograms (26 pounds) of coffee per person, per year.

Next time you find yourself enjoying a cup of coffee, sit back and think of the journey those coffee beans encompassed to make it to your hands. They may have been brought to life halfway around the world under the Equatorial sunshine.

Sources: World Atlas, Daily Coffee News, BBC News, The Telegraph, My Friends Coffee, Driven Coffee Roasters, World Economic Forum, Eleven Coffees.