1 October 2016, is International Coffee Day. This entry is about growing coffee in the USA.
The most valuable food commodity in the world is coffee. And the USA is a major consumer of coffee. Being a nation with a thirst for coffee, one might think “why not grow our own coffee”?
Well, let’s break this down geographically.
To grow coffee, a warm climate, with little risk of frost is needed. Well, there are maybe a few places in the USA like that, specifically far southern Florida and parts of southern California. Hawaii is another place to consider.
For regions between 16 and 24 degrees latitude(both north and south), An altitude between 1800-3600 feet above sea level is right for growing coffee. This leaves out California and Florida. Southern California’s temperatures aren’t right for coffee planting at those altitudes, and California, even the southernmost point of it, is at too high of a latitude for that. Florida has no places at high latitudes. Also, a moderate amount of rainfall is necessary. Both Florida and California are either too dry or too wet for coffee. Only Hawaii’s Kona region is suitable for growing coffee. Remember, all of this is for Arabica coffee beans. Robusta beans can be grown at lower altitudes, from sea level to 2000 ft above sea level. It grows in warmer temperatures
Could robusta coffee be grown in Florida? Well, even Florida gets a bit cool for growing such a plant. It could grown at low elevation areas in Hawaii.
Well, on a commercial level, growing coffee on the USA mainland does not appear likely, given the geography and climate of the mainland USA. Hawaii is the only place where commercial coffee growth is done, and for a reason. Puerto Rico grows coffee, but it is a Commonwealth of the USA, not a state.