A statistical study of world production of coffee by countries--Per capita figures of the leading consuming countries--Coffee-consumption figures compared with tea-consumption figures in the United States and the United Kingdom--Three centuries of coffee trading--Coffee drinking in the United States, past and present--Reviewing the 1921 trade in the United States
The world's yearly production of coffee is on the average considerably more than one million tons. If this were all made up into the refreshing drink we get at our breakfast tables, there would be enough to supply every inhabitant of the earth with some sixty cups a year, representing a total of more than ninety billion cups. In terms of pounds the annual world output amounts to about two and a quarter billions--an amount so large that if it were done up in the familiar one-pound paper packages; and if these packages were laid end to end in a row; they would form a line long enough to reach to the moon. If this average yearly production were left in the sacks in which the coffee is shipped, the total of 17,500,000 would be enough to form a broad six-foot pavement reaching entirely across the United States, upon which a man could walk steadily for more than five months at the rate of twenty miles a day. This vast amount of coffee comes very largely from the western hemisphere; and about three-fourths of it, from a single country. The production, shipment, and preparation of this coffee, directly and indirectly support millions of workers; and many countries are entirely dependent on it for their prosperity and economic well-being.
During the crop year that ended June 30, 1921, this million-ton average was considerably exceeded, though it did not approach the record yield of all time in the crop year 1906-07, when the total amounted to almost 24,000,000 sacks; or, in round numbers, 3,000,000,000 pounds.
As indicated by the Statistical Record table, on page 274, Brazil produces more than all the rest of the world put together. Coffee growing, however, is general throughout tropical countries, and in most of them constitutes one of the leading industries. Yet in most cases, the actual production of these countries can only be estimated, as accurate figures, showing the exact output, are seldom kept. But the contribution which each country makes to the total world traffic in coffee can be determined by its export figures, which are obtainable in reasonably accurate and up-to-date form. The table on page 276 gives the coffee export figures, in pounds, for practically every country that produces coffee for sale outside its own borders. Figures are given for the latest available year, and also for the average of the last five years for which statistics are to be obtained. The figures are taken from official statistics, from the publications of the International Institute of Agriculture of Rome, and from other authoritative sources.
[Illustration: THE WORLD'S COFFEE CUP AND THE WORLD'S LARGEST SHIP
The statistical sharks talk of the 17,566,000 bags, or 2,318,712,000 pounds of coffee that the world drinks every year; but how many really appreciate what those huge figures mean? For instance, computing 40 cups of beverage to the pound, there are more than 90,000,000,000 cups drunk annually, or enough to fill a gigantic cup 4,000 feet in diameter and 40 feet deep, on which the "Majestic," the world's largest ship, would appear floating approximately as shown in the drawing.]
For the most part, these figures of exportation are the only ones available to indicate the actual coffee production in the countries named. The following additional data, however, will serve to show the extent to which the coffee-raising industry has developed in most of these countries, and in a few places of minor importance not named in the table:
BRAZIL. The coffee industry of Brazil, which has furnished seventy percent of the world's coffee during the last ten years, has developed in a century and a half. Brazilian soil first made the acquaintance of the coffee plant at Pará in 1723. A small export trade to Europe had developed by 1770, the year when the first plantation was established in the state of Rio de Janeiro, and from which the country's great industry really dates. Development at first was apparently slow, as no exports are recorded until the beginning of the nineteenth century; so that the history of Brazil's coffee trade is a matter entirely of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Once started, however, the new line of export made rapid progress. In 1800, the amount of coffee exported was 1720 pounds, contained in thirteen bags. Twenty years later, 12,896,000 pounds were shipped, the number of bags being 97,498. Ten years later, in 1830, this amount had increased to 64,051,000 pounds; and in 1840, to 137,300,000 pounds. In 1852-53, the receipts for shipment at the ports were double that amount, 284,592,000 pounds; in 1860-61 they were 420,420,000 pounds; in 1870-71 they had increased to 427,416,000 pounds; in 1880-81 they were 764,945,000 pounds; in 1890-91, 739,654,000 pounds; and at the beginning of this century, 1900-01, they were 1,504,424,000 pounds, having passed the one billion-pound mark in 1896-97. The highest point of coffee receipts in the country's history was reached in 1906-07 with 2,699,644,694 pounds; and since that year, the amount has staid at about one and one-half billion pounds. Further expansion in the last fifteen years has been closely regulated to prevent overproduction.
EXPORTS OF COFFEE FROM THE COFFEE-PRODUCING COUNTRIES OF THE WORLD
Country Five-Year AverageSouth America: Year Pounds Pounds Brazil 1920 1,524,382,650 1,469,949,180 Colombia 1920 190,961,953[c] 172,862,121 Venezuela 1920 73,726,632 110,174,946 Guiana, Br. 1917 267,344 257,152 Guiana, Fr. 1918 1,100 970 Guiana, D. 1918 3,856 923,644[d] Ecuador 1919 3,729,413 5,843,033 Peru 1919 370,655 455,212 Central America: Salvador 1920 82,864,668 78,953,339 Nicaragua 1920 15,345,398 23,243,865 Costa Rica 1921[a] 29,401,683 28,667,262 Guatemala 1920 94,205,569 88,213,080 Honduras 1920[b] 1,091,977 646,574 Mexico 1918 30,172,065 47,555,514[d] West Indies: Haiti 1920[b] 61,970,694[e] 54,308,959[d] Dominican Republic 1920 1,361,666 3,497,866 Jamaica 1919 8,246,672 7,918,781 Porto Rico 1921 29,967,879[f] 30,033,471[d][f] Trinidad & Tobago 1920 73,201 19,639 Martinique 1918 10,358 17,219 Guadeloupe 1918 2,144,855 1,594,146 Dutch East Indies 1920 99,020,453[i] 103,701,297[h] Pacific Islands: Br. North Borneo 1918 1,984 6,618 New Caledonia 1916 1,248,024 784,176 New Hebrides 1917 625,224 608,410[g] Hawaii 1921 4,979,121[f] 4,244,479[d][f] Réunion 1918 3,527 26,455 Asia: Aden (Arabia) 1921[b] 9,463,104 10,837,893 Br. India 1920[b] 30,526,832 23,767,744 French Indo-China 1918 79,145 516,978 Africa: Eritrea 1918 728,840 315,698 Somaliland, Fr. 1917 11,222,736 9,321,930 Somaliland, Br. 1918 440,272 233,908 Somaliland, It. 1918 3,747 3,306 Abyssinia 1917 17,324,223 12,744,406 German East Africa (former) 1913 2,334,450 2,649,047[d] Br. East African Protectorate 1918 18,735,572 8,397,541 Uganda 1918 9,999,845 5,076,091 Nyasaland 1918 122,796 92,593 Mayotte (including Comoro Is.)1914 3,306 660 Madagascar 1918 707,676 981,047 Angola 1913 10,655,934 10,459,724 Belgian Congo 1919 347,588 186,432[h] Fr. Equatorial Africa 1916 48,060 47,046 Nigeria 1916 3,527 19,180 Ivory Coast 1918 66,358 49,162 Gold Coast 1917 660 220 French Guinea 1918 1,320 1,320 Spanish Guinea 1918 8,150 3,968[h] St. Thomas & Prince's Is. 1916 484,350 1,125,448 Liberia 1917 761,300 Cape Verde Islands 1916 1,442,910 1,100,095
[a] Crop year.
[b] Fiscal year.
[c] Including small proportion of unhusked coffee.
[d] Four-year average.
[e] Not including 6,322,167 pounds "triage" or waste coffee.
[f] Including shipments to continental United States.
It is estimated that the area in the coffee-growing section suitable for coffee raising covers 1,158,000 square miles, or more than one-third the area of continental United States. The state of São Paulo is the chief producing state, and supplies practically half the world's annual output. Most of this São Paulo coffee is exported through the port of Santos, which is consequently the leading coffee port of the world. Besides Santos, the ports of Rio de Janeiro and Victoria are of much importance in the coffee trade, although some twenty or thirty million pounds are exported each year through the port of Bahia, and smaller amounts through various other ports. The crop year of Brazil runs from July 1 to June 30, the heaviest receipts for shipment coming as a rule in the months of August, September, and October of each year. One-third of the season's crop is usually received at ports of shipment before the last of October, sometimes as early as the latter part of September; one-half comes in by the middle or last of November; and two-thirds is usually received, by the end of January.
[Illustration: No. 1--COFFEE EXPORTS, 1850-1920
This diagram shows the exports of the principal coffee-producing countries, omitting Brazil]
This diagram shows the exports of the leading coffee countries (except Brazil) in a period covering most of the World War]
VENEZUELA. The coffee plant was introduced into Venezuela in 1784, being brought from Martinique; and the first shipment abroad, consisting of 233 bags, was made five years later. By 1830-31, production had increased to 25,454,000 pounds; and in the next twenty years, it more than trebled, amounting to 83,717,000 pounds in 1850-51. Since then, however, the increase has been much more gradual. In 1881-82, 94,369,000 pounds were produced; and about the same amount, 95,170,000 pounds, in 1889-90. Twentieth-century production has apparently exceeded the hundred-million mark on the average, although there are no definite statistics beyond export figures. These showed 86,950,000 pounds sent abroad in 1904-05; 103,453,000 pounds in 1908-09; and 88,155,000 pounds in 1918; the trade in the last-named year being cut down by war conditions. In 1919, the extraordinary amount of 179,414,815 pounds was exported, the high figure being due to the release of coffee stored from previous years. It has been estimated that domestic consumption of coffee would amount to a maximum of 25,000,000 pounds yearly, but may be much less than that. The United States and France have in the past been Venezuela's best customers.
COLOMBIA. Prior to 1912, the total production of coffee in Colombia was around 80,000,000 pounds annually, of which some 3,000,000 or 4,000,000 pounds were consumed in the country itself. But in the last decade production has been advancing rapidly, and the present production is the heaviest in the history of the country. The industry has practically grown up in the last seventy years, the exports for the decade 1852-53 to 1861-62 averaging only about 940,000 pounds; in the decade following, about 5,700,000 pounds; and, in the ten years from 1872-73 to 1881-82, about 12,600,000 pounds, according to an unofficial compilation. Exportations had advanced to about 47,000,000 pounds by 1895; and to 80,000,000 pounds by 1906. As large quantities of Colombian coffee are shipped out through Venezuela, and because of the lack of detailed statistics in Colombia, the actual exportation each year is not easy to determine; but the following figures, obtained by a trade commissioner of the United States, may be taken as a fairly accurate estimate of exports from 1906 to 1918:
Diagram based on 5-year averages with quantities given in millions of pounds]
ECUADOR. Annual production in Ecuador runs from 3,000,000 to 8,000,000 pounds, most of which is exported. The greater part of the production is sent to Chile and the United States. Production has shown only a gradual increase since the middle of the nineteenth century, when planters began to give some attention to coffee cultivation. Exports were about 87,000 pounds in 1855; 296,000 pounds in 1870; and 985,000 pounds in 1877. By the beginning of the present century, production had reached 6,204,000 pounds; in 1905, it was estimated at 4,861,000 pounds; and in 1910, at 8,682,000 pounds. Exports in 1912 were 6,101,700 pounds; and 7,671,000 pounds in 1918; but there was a falling off to 3,729,000 pounds in 1919. Several years ago it was estimated that the coffee trees numbered 8,000,000, planted on 32,000 acres.
PERU. Coffee is one of the minor products of Peru, and the country does not occupy a place of importance in the international coffee trade. The larger part of the production is apparently consumed in the country itself. Export figures indicate that the industry is steadily declining. Exports amounted to 2,267,000 pounds in 1905; to 1,618,000 pounds in 1908; and in the five years ending with 1918, exports averaged only 529,000 pounds; while figures for 1919 show that in that year they fell still lower, to 370,000 pounds. Production is mainly in the coast lands.
BRITISH GUIANA. The Guianas are the site of the first coffee planting on the continent of South America; and according to some accounts, the first in the New World. The plants were brought first into Dutch Guiana, but there was no planting in what is now British Guiana (then a Dutch colony) until 1752. Twenty-six years later, 6,041,000 pounds were sent to Amsterdam from the two ports of Demarara and Berbice; and after the colony fell into the hands of the English in 1796, cultivation continued to increase. Exports amounted to 10,845,000 pounds in 1803; and to more than 22,000,000 pounds in 1810. Then there was a falling off, and the production in 1828 was 8,893,500 pounds and 3,308,000 pounds in 1836. In 1849 British Guiana exported only 109,600 pounds. For a long period thereafter there was little production, and practically no exportation; exports in 1907, for instance, amounting to only 160 pounds. With the next year, however, a revival of exportation began, and it has continued to grow since then. In 1908, exports were 88,700 pounds; and for the succeeding years, up to 1917, the following amounts are recorded: 1909, 96,952 pounds; 1910, 108,378 pounds; 1911, 136,420 pounds; 1912, 144,845 pounds; 1913, 89,376 pounds; 1914, 238,767 pounds; 1915, 172,326 pounds; 1916, 501,183 pounds; 1917, 267,344 pounds. In the last-named year 4,953 acres were in coffee plantations.
FRENCH GUIANA. This colony raises a small amount of coffee for local consumption, and exports a few hundred pounds; but it is really an importing and not an exporting colony. Coffee cultivation was never of much importance, although in 1775 some 72,000 pounds were exported. One hundred and eighty thousand pounds were harvested in 1860; and 132,000 pounds in 1870, mostly for local consumption.
DUTCH GUIANA. Regular shipments of coffee from Dutch Guiana have been made for two centuries, beginning--a few years after the plant was introduced--with a shipment of 6,461 pounds to the mother country in 1723. Seven years later, 472,000 pounds were shipped; and in 1732-33 exportation reached 1,232,000 pounds. Exports were averaging 16,900,000 pounds a year by 1760; and reached almost 20,600,000 pounds in 1777. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, they amounted to about 17,000,000 pounds; but a few years later fell off to some 7,000,000 pounds, where they remained until about 1840; after which they began again to decline. Exportation had practically ceased by 1875, only 1,420 pounds going out of the country, although cultivation still continued, as evidenced by a production of 82,357 pounds in that year. In 1890, production was only 15,736 pounds, and exports only 476 pounds; but since then there has been a considerable increase. In 1900, production amounted to 433,000 pounds, and exports to 424,000 pounds. In 1908, 1,108,000 pounds were grown, of which 310,000 pounds were sent abroad; and in 1909, the figures were 552,000 pounds produced and 405,000 pounds exported. No figures are available for production in recent years; but the exportation of 1,600,000 pounds in 1917 indicates that plantings have been steadily growing.
OTHER SOUTH AMERICAN COUNTRIES. Of the other South American countries, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay are coffee-importing countries; and the coffee-raising industry of Paraguay, although more or less promising, has yet to be developed. In Argentina, a few hundred acres in the sub-tropical provinces of the north have been planted to coffee; but coffee-growing will always necessarily remain a very minor industry. Many attempts have been made to establish the industry in Paraguay, where favorable conditions obtain, but only a few planters have met with success. Their product has all been consumed locally. Bolivia has much land suitable for coffee raising; and it is estimated that production has reached as high as 1,500,000 pounds a year, but transportation conditions are such as to hold back development for an indefinite time. Small amounts are now exported to Chile.
SALVADOR. Coffee was introduced into Salvador in 1852, and immediately began to spread over the country. Exports were valued at more than $100,000 in 1865; and by 1874-75 the amount exported had reached 8,500,000 pounds. The first large plantation was established in 1876; and since then planting has continued, until now practically all the available coffee land has been taken up. The area in plantations has been estimated at 166,000 acres, and the annual production at 50,000,000 to 75,000,000 pounds, of which some 5,000,000 pounds are consumed in the country. Since the beginning of the present century, exports have in general shown a considerable increase, the figures for 1901 being 50,101,000 pounds; for 1905, 64,480,000 pounds; for 1910, 62,764,000 pounds; for 1915, 67,130,000 pounds; and for 1920, 82,864,000 pounds.
GUATEMALA. Cultivation of coffee in Guatamala became of importance between 1860 and 1870. In 1860, exports were only about 140,000 pounds; by 1863, they had increased to about 1,800,000 pounds; and by 1870, to 7,590,000 pounds. In 1880-81, they amounted to 28,976,000 pounds; and in 1883-84, to 40,406,000 pounds. Twenty years later, they had doubled. In recent years, exports have ranged between 75,000,000 and 100,000,000 pounds; the years from 1909 to 1918 showing the following results, according to a consular report:
COSTA RICA. Coffee raising in Costa Rica dates from 1779, when the plant was introduced from Cuba. By 1845, the industry had grown sufficiently to permit an exportation of 7,823,000 pounds; and twenty years later, 11,143,000 pounds were shipped. Thereafter, production increased rapidly; so that in 1874, the total exports were 32,670,000 pounds, and in 1884 they were more than 36,000,000 pounds. In recent years, the average production has been around 35,000,000 pounds. For the crop years 1916-17 to 1920-21 exports have been: