What climate does coffee grow in?

In this text, we will answer the question: “What climate does coffee grow in?”. In addition, we will discuss the ideal climatic conditions for coffee crops and which are the favorable regions for their growth.

What climate does coffee grow in?

Coffee can be grown in locations and regions that have an average temperature between 18 and 22 ºC with the presence of a temperate or tropical climate. This thermal range applies to arabica coffee, as for robusta, the tolerance reaches 24 ºC. 

Very low temperatures, even for a few days a year, are not acceptable for a plantation. In addition, regions whose average temperatures are below 18 ºC are also not suitable for planting coffee.

The ideal rainfall regime for coffee is found in regions with well-distributed rainfall throughout the year and with rainfall between 600 and 1500 mm/year. It is important to have a good distribution of rainfall throughout the year, with just one exception for the winter, when the lack of rain is not harmful. 

There is always, of course, the option for irrigated coffee, especially for regions with poor rainfall or poor distribution throughout the year.

What are the coffee varieties that grow in each climate?

The vast majority of coffee produced and consumed in the world is of the Arabica species (Coffea Arabica L.). There are 3 basic varieties, from which almost all the others were created and developed, economically cultivated in the world.

  • Cramer: variety known as common coffee Brazil, among other nomenclatures. The plant ranges from 2 to 3 meters in height and has a shape that approximates a cone. Its fruits are red, shiny and smooth.
  • Bourbon: this variety is known by the name of bourbon coffee or fava coffee. As in the previous variety, the plants are 2 to 3 meters tall but have a cylindrical shape. The fruits have the same shape as regular coffee, but with a reduced size.
  • Caturra: without proof, this variety must originate from bourbon coffee. It is a lower plant than the previous varieties, not exceeding 2 meters in height. The fruits are practically the same as bourbon.

In addition to the varieties originating from Arabica coffee, there are also varieties of robusta coffee (Coffea Canephora Pierre). Robusta has a higher amount of caffeine compared to arabica, but its taste and aroma are not as strong. 

Despite this, geographically speaking, it is one of the most cultivated. The plant reaches 2 to 5 meters in height and is quite different from Arabica. Flowering is fast and happens 2 to 3 times a year. Its fruits are red and spherical.

What is the importance of a well-done planting when growing coffee?

Coffee planting must follow some recommendations regarding the choice of area, spacing (plant population), cultivar, climate, altitude, topography, among others, fundamental points to avoid plant death and guarantee good implantation of the crop.

Errors in this step will only be corrected when the coffee plantation is renewed! Considering a 20-year lifespan for the crop, that’s a lot of time and money invested in the wrong way.

As we will see below, coffee planting is not a seven-headed beast, but we must pay attention to some details, from the seedlings to the formation of the crop in the field.

How to choose the area to grow coffee?

The choice of an area for planting coffee must first take into account the climate of the region and the topography (or topoclimate) of the area.

The coffee plantation has climatic requirements for the culture to have the best development. The agro-climatic zoning of arabica coffee considers the average annual temperature (Tma) between 18°C ​​and 23°C and the annual water deficit (DHA) of less than 150 mm as suitable areas for coffee cultivation.

This does not mean that it is not possible to grow coffee in areas that do not fit these parameters.

This means that marginal or unsuitable areas will have a greater chance of failure, as the coffee tree “suffers” more.

In some cases, irrigation will be necessary, in others, shading and deep soil preparation.

In other words: in the case of planting in areas outside the recommended zoning for coffee, expenditure on cultural treatments will be higher and productivity and quality may be affected.

Another factor to be taken into account is the altitude of the area, as it directly influences the temperature. Every 100m more, minus 1°C in average temperature.

However, if the temperature is milder, the greater the humidity, the slower the maturation of the coffee and the greater the incidence of pests and diseases favored by these conditions.

In addition, the accumulation of cold air and the occurrence of frosts may be greater. But that depends on topoclimate factors.

Topography concerns the relief of a given area; the topoclimate, on the other hand, relates to the climatic factors conditioned by the relief, generally related to the configuration of the terrain and exposure to the sun.

It is preferable to choose flatter areas for planting coffee. In addition to facilitating mechanization, erosion control and soil protection are facilitated.

Coffee growing in high-slope areas demands more labor and increases the risks of erosion.

Of course, today there are micro-terracing techniques that make it possible to grow coffee in the mountains and can increase profitability in these systems. But it’s easier to start from an already flat area, isn’t it?

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In this text, we answered the question: “What climate does coffee grow in?”. In addition, we discussed the ideal climatic conditions for coffee crops and which are the favorable regions for their growth.