The Coffee Bean Belt – Meaning & Importance

The Coffee Bean Belt is a horizontal region of the planet that stretches from the Tropic of Cancer across the Equator to the Tropic of Capricorn. The area covered is ideal for growing coffee cherries. Coffee beans come from the seeds of coffee cherries.
Illustration of the Coffee Bean Belt


If you’ve ever bought coffee beans from a store or coffee shop, you probably know the country that coffee came from. Have you ever wondered why coffee comes from certain countries and not others? Coffee plants grow in the tropics, a region known as the coffee belt that stretches around the globe and covers three continents. 

What is the Coffee Bean Belt?

Like many plants, coffee plants have specific needs in order to produce good quality coffee. Coffee grows in region that stretches around the globe, making a belt. The starts north of the equator along the tropic of Cancer. It covers all the area between that and the Tropic of Capricorn which is south of the Equator. 

The area covered is roughly 20 degrees latitude north of the equator to 20 degrees latitude south of the equator. This is the region we often refer to as the tropics. Many plants grow exclusively in this region.  Coffee and chocolate are two of the big ones.

Climate and Features of the Coffee Bean Belt

The Coffee Belt has some key features and the perfect climate for growing coffee. The coffee plant is considered a fairly finicky plant. It doesn’t do well if it gets too hot or too cold. In addition, it can be over and under watered. 

The coffee bean belt provides the ideal conditions to grow coffee year-round. It does this through a combination of climate, temperature, and rainfall. In addition, the environment and the soil play a key part in the richness of coffee variety.


The climate of the tropics is ideal for Coffee growing plants. There are plenty of sunny days, plenty of rain, plenty of dry spells, and a year-round temperature that changes very little. 


The Coffee belt has only two seasons the hot and dry season and the warm and wet season. The rainy season falls at the ideal time of year when the plants most need water to grow coffee cherries. 

Coffee cherries are then picked and turned into coffee beans during the dry season. The dry season is ideal for this process as most coffee growers want to dry the beans using the traditional sun-dry method.


The plant that produces coffee cherries, and therefore coffee beans, prefers to live in temperatures of 70-85 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 29 degrees Celsius) year-round.


Tropical regions have unique soils that are rich in many nutrients that the coffee plants love. Coffee plants prefer volcanic soil or thick and sandy clay soils. The coffee belt includes a large swath of the ring of fire. These volcanos offer the perfect soil for growing coffee. Good soil is key to good coffee.


Coffee plants do not live on the coast where it gets very hot. Instead, they prefer to live in hilly regions. Often, they grow in the foothills and midlevel elevation of mountains. Their ideal elevation is from 3,500 feet (1,000 meters) to 6,000 feet (1,800 meters) in altitude. This area has milder temperatures then the high mountain peaks and sunny shorelines.

What Regions Are in the Coffee Bean Belt?

The regions where coffee is grown on the coffee belt include Africa, Asia, Central and South America. Coffee also grows on many islands in the Caribbean, Atlantic and Pacific. 

Where coffee is grown will affect its taste. The soil that coffee is grown in and the amount of sun and rain affect the flavor. This is why some people prefer coffee from certain regions.


The flavor of coffee from Africa varies by location. However, it is often described as being fruity or floral. These coffee beans are often more acidic or have citrusy notes. 

Key Coffee Growing Countries:

  • Ethiopia
  • Uganda
  • Ivory Coast
  • Kenya
  • Tanzania
  • Cameroon
  • Madagascar
  • Gabon


The flavor of coffee from Asia also varies by location as there are many countries and many different microclimates. The flavors are often described as nutty, earthy, or with hints of bitter dark chocolate.

Key Coffee Growing Countries:

  • Vietnam
  • Indonesia
  • India
  • China
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Laos
  • Thailand

South ; Central America

Coffee beans have the most variety in Central and South America (including Hawaii) because there are so many different microclimates and soils where they are grown. The Americas is the top producing coffee region in the world. Brazil is the number one grower of coffee in the world.

The flavors associated with coffee from Central and South America are smooth chocolatey and caramel flavors. You may also find coffees with a flavor reminiscent of sweet red fruits like cherries or a sweet nutty flavor. 

Key Coffee Growing Countries:

  • Brazil
  • Colombia
  • Honduras
  • Mexico
  • Guatemala
  • Peru
  • Nicaragua
  • Costa Rica
  • El Salvador
  • Ecuador
coffee types


Ellie L.

Ellie L.

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We are at “Elijah Coffee” group of people who love coffe and have something to say about it :-)


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