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Unexpected coffee hotspots

The coffee beans that we at DR Wakefield sell to our roasters are sourced from countries all over the world. Some of these – such as Ethiopia and Brazil – are famed for their coffee cultivation, but others are not quite as well known for their bean harvests.

Take Hawaii, Australia and Cuba, for example. Mentioning these locations conjures up images of white sandy beaches, clear blue seas and palm trees galore, but are roasters aware of the coffee market within these countries?

Here, we're going to take a look at the history behind coffee production in these three destinations, as well as the characteristics of their beans and the state of their markets.

Australia

Coffee has been cultivated in Australia for more than 200 years, with a resurgence in the market taking place in the 1980s and 1990s, due to developments in harvesting technology and increasing interest in quality brews.

Beans are primarily grown in the more northerly parts of New South Wales, as well as in the south-east and north of Queensland, where the climate is either subtropical or tropical.

These conditions allow for the beans to ripen slowly, meaning they have longer to mature than those grown in many other parts of the world.

This helps to give the country's coffee a distinctive cupping profile, with a natural sweetness and low to medium acidity levels.

Overseeing much of the continent's bean production is the Australian Subtropical Coffee Association, which prides itself on cultivating a purely Arabica harvest that is low in caffeine.

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald in 2013, local barista Matthew Pride explained the importance of high-quality coffee in the country, saying: "I think we have higher expectations about coffee than other places because we make a lot better coffee than most people around the world.

"London may have a pub on every corner, but we have a cafe on every corner and then another two in between. You have to make better coffee if you want to survive."

Hawaii

Another country not especially famed for its coffee is Hawaii, which is the only US state where beans are commercially grown.

Coffee has been present on the island since at least the early 1800s, when it is believed to have been introduced to the area along with the pineapple by Don Francisco de Paula Marin.

However, it was another adventurer, Chief Boki, who is thought to have planted the first Arabica tree in Hawaii, in the spot where coffee is still cultivated on the island today – the area that is known as the Kona District.

Kona coffee is a highly-coveted and somewhat exclusive product, grown in the nutrient-rich, volcanic soil from the island's Hualalai Volcano. It is cultivated in the highlands with almost constant cloud coverage, with these conditions making the area perfect for coffee bean growth.

Today, there are more than 6,500 acres of land and hundreds of farms in Hawaii dedicated to the production of coffee, making the country's market worth in the region of £6-7 million.

Since 1995, the Hawaii Coffee Association has been working with all of the parties involved in the cultivation process to help with the marketing and exporting of the island's beans.

Cuba

Here at DR Wakefield, we also source coffee from Cuba – a country arguably better known for its cigars and beaches than its harvest of both Arabica and Robusta beans.

Coffee has been present on the island since 1748 and is mainly grown in the highlands, at around 1,000 m above sea level in soils rich in minerals such as copper, manganese and chromium iron, creating a unique cupping profile.

The country's coffee harvest takes place between July and December, with the majority of the beans it exports being of the washed variety.