Careers in Coffee Around the World

Coffee cup full of roasted coffee beans.

While coffee is a staple in a lot of peoples’ lives around the world, what many don’t think about is careers in the coffee industry.

The variety of jobs available that revolve around the bean is vast. Furthermore, the steps that it takes to achieve each of these jobs are equally diverse. From farming, distribution, roasting and serving, coffee employs “around 125 million people worldwide,” according to the Fair Trade Foundation.

Coffee bean farmers sort through piles of coffee cherries picking out cherries that are not ready for roasting.
Image by Pixabay

Starting with the plant

While the main regions where coffee is grown include Central and South America, India, Southeast Asia and Central Africa, in the United States there are only two areas with the right climate to grow coffee beans. California and Hawaii have the right humidity, soil and weather for growing it. However, Puerto Rico is technically a territory of the U.S. and also produces a great deal of coffee.

The physical labor that it takes to produce beans takes a large number of people. This includes the act of farming the bean, harvesting, packaging and transporting it. In most places where coffee beans thrive the wages that farmers make are low. Nevertheless, due to location and business passed down in the family, some people have no other option.

Between 600 million and 800 million people worldwide depend on coffee production for their full or partial daily survival — or equivalent to at least 10 percent of the world’s population.

Maja Wallengren
Coffee beans are roasted around 250 degrees for 15 minuets.
Image via Pixabay

Bean roasting experts are expected to negotiate with coffee farmers, roast coffee beans, experiment with roast levels, aroma, grind and flavors. All of these tasks are trades learned over many years. Careers in coffee roasting are available for people who have experience and a passion for learning the trade.


The distribution of coffee takes negotiation skills and also the means of transportation at times. From large-scale roasters, the beans travel to up to five hundred different locations. Some roasters are independently owned and sell beans to multiple different companies.

On the other hand, privately owned roasters will send their beans to their own locations in multiple different states. With the example of Dutch Bro’s Coffee, their roasting site is in Grants Pass, Ore., U.S.A. and their beans are sent to over 500 locations.

Over 500,000 people in the United States are employed as baristas. (Career Explorer, 2022)
Image by Pixabay


The last step in the process is the retail sale of it. The roasted beans have been distributed and are now ready to be sold to the public.

Coffee shop workers do a multitude of different things with the beans to meet the needs of customers. Within this, there are still more job opportunities. Baristas, managers, regionals and operators are just a few examples. Most of these jobs are entry level and don’t require any previous experience. However, the higher-up jobs offer long-term employment, if not a career.

Throughout the process of growing, roasting and serving coffee, multiple career opportunities are available. Coffee careers have been around for decades and will continue to grow. Different jobs are available based on location, experience and passion.

With up to 125 million people in the industry worldwide, coffee makes up a large workforce. Finally, choosing a career in coffee can be diverse and is more than approachable.

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