BEAN BELT: From humble origins in Africa, coffee cultivation wandered east and west, eventually forming a belt roughly bounded by the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
Growing regions typically offer moderate sunshine and rain, steady temperatures around 70ºF (20ºC), and rich, porous soil. In return the delicate tree yields beans that are an economic mainstay for dozens of countries and about 25 million peopleand, among natural commodities, have a monetary value surpassed only by oil. Of the two main coffee trees, arabicas beget the better beansand about 70 percent of the harvest. The harsher beans of the hardier robusta tree account for about 30 percent.