Volcanic soil is the most fertile soil on the planet, making it ideal for growing various crops, including coffee. But why Coffee Is Often Grown In Volcanic Areas?
Moreover, 800 million people live within 100 kilometres of 1,431 active volcanoes on the continent’s surface, accounting for roughly 10% of the world’s population. Despite their enormous catastrophic potential, active volcanoes continue to draw millions of tourists and provide a significant supply of thermal energy for the surrounding population.
Furthermore, the material created during the eruption may be blended with the surrounding soil to form the world’s most nutrient-dense soil.
Most notably, coffee plants thrive when grown in this soil, with superior physical, chemical, and mineral qualities than other soils. The land, however, is only part of the story; the environment around the volcano has its own set of conditions that make cultivation more favourable and yield higher yields.
Andisols: Volcanic Soil’s Strength
Tephra makes up a large portion of the volcanic soil. Tephra is an ejected combination of volcanic ash and rock pieces from an eruption. Tephra breaks off throughout time, becoming the volcanic soil we’re talking about that.
Andisols or Andosols are the names given to the majority of volcanic soils. They are derived from the Japanese terms anshokudo and ando, which indicate “black soil.” Andisols are light and smooth, with a high silicate glass and a penchant for organic matter accumulation.
Andisols are excellent for establishing plant roots for various reasons: To begin with, they have low density and a solid structure, yet they are pretty porous. That permits the soil to retain water more effectively and is drought-resistant. They also have a high permeability, which allows the roots to grow deep and drain freely, preventing throbbing and rotting.
Coffee plants need various nutrients to thrive, which are delivered to them directly via the soil. Volcanic soils are fruitful because they are “young,” retaining many of the beneficial nutrients found in the original stone.
Although the concentration of the material varies depending on the mountain, andisols are often high in phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, and bo, all of which are essential for the development of coffee plants. Potassium levels, for example, influence not only the production of fruits and coffee beans but also the quantity of sugar and citric acid present in the scent of coffee.
Calcium is necessary for the construction and growth of roots and leaves, as well as influencing the primary speed of the coffee fruit; boron, on the other hand, boosts crop yields. According to studies, phosphorus and potassium-rich soil crops create higher coffee taste and acidity.
Andisol And Eruption Mode
The chemical, natural properties, and frequency of volcanic eruptions influence the fertility of volcanic soils and the development rate of coffee plants growing in the vicinity.
There are two sorts of eruptions: strong eruptions and explosive eruptions. The fundamental feature of strong explosions is that they are triggered by lava eruptions, which produce iron and magnesium-rich Andisols. The outbreak of silicate-rich ash and debris (or tephra) characterizes re-eruptions; this material will coat the soil surrounding the volcano, forming Andisols rich in aluminium, salt, and potassium.
After eruptions, most of the volcanic soil is discovered. Andisols are generated less often following severe outbreaks because lava flow surfaces might dissolve into the ground for thousands of years.
The “Pacific Ring of Fire” area, which contains more than 75 per cent of the world’s active and active volcanoes, is home to several coffee-producing Latin American nations, notably Colombia, Ecuador, and Guatemala. Active volcanoes in these nations form andisols.
Fresh tephra does not continually fall to the surrounding land since most of these volcanoes erupt after a few tens to hundreds of years. The underlying Andisols are so protected from physical erosion and weather. Fresh tephra seeds are also introduced to the soil to offer a steady supply of nutrients and preserve fertility.
More Than Soil In Volcanic Coffee
Aside from the nutrient-rich soils that volcanoes provide, the terrain of many places around the volcano offers surprising coffee-growing advantages. Arabica plants flourish at a temperature of 18-21°C at the height of 1000-2000m above sea level.
Volcanoes are prevalent in high-altitude bands, such as in Central and South America’s volcanic arcs.
The quality of coffee is linked to the height at which it is grown; at higher elevations, the temperature is more relaxed, the seeds develop slowly, and the primary coffee fruit grows gradually.
Coffee plants grow best at a 9° slant, and most volcanoes erupt (from 6 to 10°) on the lower slopes. In general, volcanic terrains offer adequate cover to shield coffee plants from the sun’s severe heat.
Although Andisols may be found worldwide, particularly surrounding dormant volcanoes, climatic control over coffee plant development means that it is primarily grown in the intertropical zone around the equator, known as the “Coffee Belt.”
Central and South America, the Caribbean, and sections of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia make up the area. The area is home to several powerful coffee-producing nations, including Colombia, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Guatemala, and Indonesia, which have strong ties to volcanic activity.
Grown Coffee In High-risk Areas Is a Challenge
The majority of agricultural Andisols are situated near active volcanoes. These eruptions have inherent hazards due to their nature. Explosive eruptions may also create pyroclastic flows, which are hot streams of gas and ash, and flows, which are volcanic mud streams.
Pyroclastic and lahars may traverse tens or even hundreds of kilometres at velocities of more than 80 km/h. When a volcano erupts, it will rush down one side in seconds, destroying almost everything in its path.
Both risks bring volcanic material to the region, producing and maintaining Andisols throughout time. They may, however, wreak havoc on crops and wipe out whole communities in the near term.
Andisols promotes population expansion near active volcanoes and volcanic zones where security has historically been a concern. The threats to life and livelihoods rise as more people dwell or farm near volcanoes. This problem will always be present.
Over the years, both experience and study have revealed the factors that influence the growth of coffee plants. Each aspect that affects the flavour of coffee, on the other hand, is significantly more difficult.
Even slight variations like local soil and environmental conditions (terrorism) might produce coffee with considerably different qualities from nearby coffee. While our knowledge is expanding, more study is required to determine how volcanic debris impacts coffee flavour.
So the next time you have a cup of coffee from a well-known volcanic area, consider the natural factors that contributed to its distinct flavour. Consider the coffee growers who toil in these dangerous volcanic areas every day to provide you with a flavorful morning cup of coffee.
Source: Perfect Daily Grind