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The Caribbean has a long history of coffee production, particularly on islands with high mountainous regions and cool climates. Though they are outpaced in modern times by coffee plantations in Latin American countries, Caribbean islands have unique soils and growing conditions that contribute to some of the most popular coffee varieties sold in worldwide markets.
Coffee is a brewed beverage with a dark, slightly acidic flavour prepared from the roasted seeds or “beans” of the coffea plant. The beans are found in coffee cherries, which grow on trees cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in:
Green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world and in 2005 it was the world's seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value.
Coffee is produced in more than 60 countries. The world's annual production is currently around 115 million 60-kg bags or 7 million tonnes.
There are two types of coffee:
According to the FAO, world coffee production was projected to grow by 0.5% annually between the period 1998/2000 to 2010, compared to 1.9% in the previous decade. The world's largest coffee producing region is likely to continue to be Latin America and the Caribbean.
A study by Landell Mills Development Consultants on the promotion of a regional agribusiness sector showed that Haiti and Jamaica were the two largest producers of coffee with production of approximately 35,000 and 12,411 metric tons, respectively in 2008.
Other CARICOM countries’ production in metric tonnes in 2008 was:
Although output from Jamaica represents a small percentage of global production, the beans are well known for their exceptional quality and Blue Mountain coffee commands extremely high prices.
Why invest in coffee?