If you read our article “Choosing Your Perfect Match” you’ll know that there are lots of factors from coffee species to processing that contribute to the final product that ends up in your cup. However, the foundations of a good cup of joe all start out with the origin of your favorite coffee beans.
Coffee beans are sourced from farms across the world, however, Central & South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific are the top producing regions. Colombian, Brazilian, Ethiopian and Indonesian coffees aren’t just names on your favorite pack of coffee. These are some of the top-producing coffee countries in the world and each country has its own unique flavor profile. Brazil alone produces 2,592,000 metric tons of coffee! Let’s take a look at this coffee flavor wheel to get a better understanding of how flavor profiles are constructed.
Knowing where your coffee originates is an important factor in deciding your preferred flavor because you’ll have a better understanding of the quality and consistency of the beans. Whether your favorite flavors are floral and fruity or nutty and chocolatey, the origin of the bean gives us insight into the environment where the bean was cultivated and the culture that shares the same love of this flavorful bean as much as you do.
If we look at this map of coffee-producing countries below, you’ll see that what they all have in common is their distance to the equator.
High-quality coffee beans sourced from these countries are grown at high altitudes and on high mountains. Along with the location, coffee-producing countries along what’s known as “The Bean Belt” have climates that are most suitable for growing the best quality beans—a balance of rain and sunshine creates coffee beans that are bursting with flavor, unique to its country of origin.
Of course, every country along “The Bean Belt” has different flavors which is why you might stick with the sweet and savory flavors of Kenyan coffee or an entry-level coffee drinker might prefer Colombian or Costa Rican coffee for it’s balanced and mild flavors. Here are the different flavor characteristics that you’ll generally find in different regions:
Coffee from countries in this region is often described as having nutty and caramel flavor notes with a floral aroma. Think peanuts, walnuts, and almonds. The coffee tends to have a light to medium body with a balanced and mild flavor and has a balanced citrus acidity. Coffee from these regions such as Colombian and Costa Rican coffees tend to be more popular with entry-level coffee drinkers because the flavors blend well together and there aren’t any overpowering characteristics of the coffee. If you’re looking for coffee from this region, in this flavor profile, we recommend trying the Illy Arabica Selection Brasile Whole Bean Coffee. The intense caramel flavors in these beans were cultivated in southeast Brazil and can produce a full-bodied cup of caramel coffee.
Take a trip to the countries in this region and you’ll find that the coffee is very high in acidity with a medium body. The coffee will also have floral flavor notes, like jasmine and a dry-wine flavor note. You won’t find light roast coffee too often, as these countries are known for creating rich and powerful flavored coffee that is often used in various cultural traditions. Two of our favorite coffees from these regions are Lavazza’s Kilimanjaro Single-Origin Drip Coffee and Illy Arabica Selection Etiopia Whole Bean Coffee.
Earthy, herbal and low acidity coffee can be found in Southeast Asia and the Pacific coffee-producing countries. Coffee and spice farms (i.e. black pepper) in these regions are next-door neighbors so you’ll often find hints of spice in the coffee. If natural and herbal flavor notes are some of your favorite flavors, we recommend trying out Parisi Artisan Coffee Sumatra Mandheling Whole Bean Coffee.
Where in the world does your favorite coffee come?