Did you know that the only U.S. state known to grow coffee is Hawaii? Although this is pretty far off the coast, we can still claim Hawaiian coffee as our own since its location is prime for the precious coffee bean’s growth. The area between the 23.43°S and 23.43°N parallels, often referred to as the “coffee belt,” remains one of the few locations on Earth where coffee is grown successfully. Countries like Vietnam, Ethiopia, Columbia, and Brazil have thrived in this location & continue growing some of the finest quality coffee beans on the planet.
What if we told you that there are plans in the works to expand the well-known coffee belt? With reasonable conditions, coffee can indeed be grown outside of this converted area, but it isn’t easy. One South Korean farm called the Paldang Coffee Farm maintains over 800 coffee plants within monitored greenhouses, found right around the 37°N parallel.
So, would it be possible to expand the growth of coffee right here within the united states? Flordia scientists seem to think so.
Take a look at our previous blog posts on coffee growing conditions to learn a bit about just how demanding it can be to cultivate coffee outside of the famous coffee belt. But, scientists are hard at work trying to discover new ways to grow coffee close to the belt at around the 28°N parallel.
Diane Rowland, Chair of the Agronomy Department and UF/IFAS, states, “We believe there is the potential for coffee as a novel crop in Florida. At present, the world knows very little about coffee plant roots, their architectures, and their function under climate change conditions.” It seems as if there is a long way to go, but growing coffee in Florida could establish a brand new export, accompanied by a unique flavor.
Scientists are working to correlate the plentiful citrus trees in Florida with coffee. “As we thought more about it, we could also explore the combination of citrus and coffee as a possible cropping system in Florida — perhaps a future option the citrus growers might consider,” Chris Wilson, Assistant Professor of agroecology adds.
As the development of the first Florida-grown coffee blend continues, we’ll keep you updated on the latest news. Citrus trees and coffee beans could be quite the combination!