Since its discovery many centuries ago, coffee has managed to earn a well-loved spot as one of the most traded commodities worldwide, second only to oil. And this is why many countries make up a big chunk of their economy growing coffee. In fact, across the equator, countries grow the best coffees in rich volcanic soil and higher altitudes.
However, not all coffee tastes the same. Coffees have different qualities such as flavour and aromatic profiles, largely depending on their country of origin. These coffee characteristics are also influenced by the coffee varieties, most broadly Arabica and Robusta. Aside from this, coffee characteristics are also affected by temperature, type of soil, humidity, altitude, and many other factors contributing to their growth as cherry fruits from coffee trees. Coffee can vary in taste profile from sweet to bitter, nutty to fruity, or toasted to floral.
Below are some of the most popular coffee origins and the distinct characteristics of the coffee they grow. Knowing the basic flavour profiles of each origin will give you an idea of what to expect when trying out various coffees from around the world, helping you embark on a richer coffee journey.
- BRAZIL – As one of the world’s top coffee producers, Brazil is known for growing nutty and sweet coffees with a full body that is perfect for espressos. Some beans grown in the region may also taste like spice or even chocolate, with their taste lingering longer in the mouth compared to coffee grown in nearby regions in South America.
- COLOMBIA – Famous for its medium body and well-balanced flavour, Colombian coffee is a popular choice. Its flavour is characterised by its caramel sweetness with a subtle nuttiness. It has a moderate acidity that balances well with its sweetness, and a moderate to full body.
- ETHIOPIA – Considered as the birthplace of coffee with thousands of coffee varietals that are still grown wild, Ethiopia offers a fruity, wine-like coffee. Coffee here is processed either wet or dry. The dry-processed coffee has a taste profile reminiscent of blueberry or strawberry, with a smooth, heavy, syrupy mouthfeel. Meanwhile, wet-processed coffee tends to have delicate floral nuances that has a lighter body.
- GUATEMALA – Like its South American neighbour, Colombia, Guatemalan coffee is also rich and distinctly flavourful, thanks to its equally rich volcanic soil. However, it has a slightly higher degree of acidity and may also have a hint of smokiness to it that coffee lovers find unique to the region.
- HAWAII – Hawaii’s famous Kona coffee is considered one of the best in the world. This can be credited to the region’s rich, volcanic soil, high altitudes, and year-round warm, tropical weather. Kona coffee has a medium body and pleasantly light acidity that perfectly balances with its rich, wine-like taste and aroma.
- INDIA – India is also a large producer of coffee. Indian coffee is known for its distinct flavour profile with notes of spices like cloves, cardamom, nutmeg, and pepper . It is medium to full bodied, with a low to moderate acidity. Coffee in this region may also be subjected to a unique processing method called monsooning, wherein harvested green coffee beans are left out in large silos or warehouses with open roofs, so they are left exposed to moisture-rich monsoon winds, often for as long as three years. This additional process adds an extra sweetness to the beans while weakening its acidity, to be replaced by an earthier nuance in the flavour and aroma.
- JAMAICA – Jamaica’s Blue Mountain coffee is one of the most expensive in the world. Coffee professionals describe Blue Mountain coffee as having a perfectly balanced flavour and aroma. It has just enough sweetness to even out the acidity, with its complex nuances and body melding together for a smooth coffee experience.
- KENYA – Kenyan coffee is distinct for its bold, vibrant, and juicy flavours, making it one of the most highly prized and priced coffees in the world. Kenyan AA is well known to be the largest coffee bean. Kenyan coffees can taste savoury to sweet, with a tartness that is reminiscent of tomatoes or black currants. Overall, coffees from the region are mellow and well-balanced, with distinctly pleasant nuances that are popular among coffee aficionados.
- INDONESIA – For those who are looking for a big, bold, dark, and full-bodied coffee experience, Sumatra is the perfect choice. It is also well-loved for its distinctly smoky, musty and earthy quality that is ideal for dark roasts. There are also those that have complex, dark-chocolate and herb-tasting qualities that is unique to the region.
For those who are just beginning their coffee journey, or are in search for a favourite origin to stick by, knowing the fundamentals of origins and flavours can go a long way. It’s always a good idea to have an adequate basic knowledge about where different coffee beans come from and what to expect from each origin in terms of look, aroma, and taste.
So, go ahead and explore the world of coffee by trying out different coffees from around the world, and find out which origin you like best.
Find out more about the range of different coffees available at Perk Coffee.