At the Supreme Bean, we are often asked this question. Even retailers, some of whom are not well versed in coffee, ask us to help them select coffees. The decision about which blends a retailer should add to their menu is critical.
Local tastes play a big part in determining the styles of coffee that find their way into local markets. For instance, the Northwest style of coffee is famous for being dark, roasty and brooding. Consumers in the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast prefers lighter styles of roasting, highlighting any dominant coffee flavors first followed by a subtle roasty flavor on the finish.
There are a few good rules of thumb for selecting coffees. Ironically you will get a geography lesson (whether you like it or not), which will be instrumental in identifying which coffees are right for you.
Looking at a world map, divide the world’s major continents into 3 groups. These groupings will give you a good general idea of what coffee flavor-types come from which locales. The first section would be Central and South America Continents (light-body, high acidity, sweet flavor); the African continent (medium body, medium acidity, wild flavors); Asian-Indonesian-Pacific continent (Heavy body, low acidity, earthy flavors).
So looking at a world map, let’s develop a little more in depth framework for selecting the right coffee.
CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA / CARIBBEAN:
Lighter bodied coffees with higher acidity and sweet coffee flavors are typical from this region. When you think of Coffee ‘flavor’ you think of theses coffees. Our Jamaican Blue Mountain best exemplifies these coffees: The most ‘balanced’ coffee in the world – a perfect mix of flavor, body & acidity. The Organic Rainforest Blend is mostly from South America. This Organic ‘masterpiece’ is well balanced, flavorful and makes a fantastic Espresso, and a superlative brewed coffee that never disappoints.
Medium bodied and medium acidity. Wine-like, wild, and syrupy are often the terms associated with African coffees. These coffees are quite sought after by many ‘aficionados’ who love an interesting and satisfying cup. Our Yemen Mocha Java was created when commercial coffee was in its infancy. We blend the sweet syrupy flavors of Yemen Mocha Sanaani with an earthy and flowery Java Estate, mixed to the original proportions. This blend brews up one of the most prized cups in the history of coffee.
INDONESIAN & SURROUNDING ISLAND:
Heavy bodied, low acidity and earthy notes are the dominant characters of these hearty beans. Sumatra is a popular coffee to roast dark, creating a hearty brew. Most people enjoy these coffees because they stand up to milk more so than most. New Guinea, Sulawesi and Java are other coffees from the region, which exhibit more finesse than Sumatra, but still have smooth flowery and robust flavors. Our Black & Tan is a great example of these coffees and how well they work together even with different roast profiles. Powerful and brooding with flowery elements, the earthiness and smooth flavors of these unique coffees are without equal.
As with many wines, cigars, chocolates and many other palate pleasers, coffee offers many choices to reach the end result: the best experience of its kind possible. With so many choices and so much to enjoy – try a coffee ‘round the world’ experience and discover why each regional coffee is unique and special.
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