Coffee is a popular beverage and an important commodity. Tens of millions of small producers in developing countries make their living growing coffee. Over 2.25 billion cups of coffee are consumed in the world every day.Over 90% of coffee production takes place in developing countries, while consumption happens mainly in the industrialized economies.
25 million small producers rely on coffee for a living worldwide, in Brazil alone, where almost a third of all the world’s coffee is produced, over 5 million people are employed in the cultivation and harvesting of over 3 billion coffee plants;it is a more labour-intensive culture than alternative cultures of the same regions as sugar cane or cattle, as it is not subject to automationand requires constant attention.
Coffee is a major export commodity: it was the top agricultural export for twelve countries in 2004, the world’s seventh-largest legal agricultural export by value in 2005, and «the second most valuable commodity exported by developing countries,» from 1970 to circa 2000. This last fact is frequently misstated; see coffee commodity market.
Further, green (unroasted) coffee is one of the most traded agricultural commodities in the world, and is traded in futures contracts on many exchanges, including the New York Board of Trade, New York Mercantile Exchange, New York Intercontinental Exchange, and the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange. The world’s largest transfer point for coffee is the port of Hamburg, Germany.
In 2009 Brazil was the world leader in production of green coffee, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia, Colombia and Ethiopia. Arabica coffee beans are cultivated in Latin America, eastern Africa, Arabia, or Asia. Robusta coffee beans are grown in western and central Africa, throughout southeast Asia, and to some extent in Brazil.
Beans from different countries or regions can usually be distinguished by differences in flavor, aroma, body, and acidity. These taste characteristics are dependent not only on the coffee’s growing region, but also on genetic subspecies (varietals) and processing. Varietals are generally known by the region in which they are grown, such as Colombian, Java and Kona.
In the year 2000 in the US, coffee consumption was 22.1 gallons (100.468 litres) per capita.More than 150 million Americans (18 and older) drink coffee on a daily basis, with 65 percent of coffee drinkers consuming their hot beverage in the morning. In 2008, it was the number-one hot beverage of choice among convenience store customers, generating about 78 percent of sales within the hot dispensed beverages category.