Coffee by Origin

02 October 2015

Origin of coffee simply refers to a specific region where the coffee was grown. Each region offers coffees with different characteristics and distinctive flavors, aromas and body. In a sense, coffee origin provides a glimpse of what to expect from the beans. The origin holds clues to the coffee’s taste. Besides its species, the country of origin can be considered the second highest dictating factor when it comes to flavor. Yet, altitude, climate, soils and harvesting methods play an essential role as they can drastically change the taste of coffee.

Coffee is an agricultural product and therefore environmental factors play a big part, thus from year to year we can observe slightly different flavor profile. Despite this, there are some basic guidelines to how each coffee origin should taste. These generalizations are somewhat consistent. It would help you understand and determine the distinction between coffee origins.

There are more than 50 countries engaged in coffee production. Coffee cultivation runs around the globe forming a horizontal strip between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. This area is known as the bean belt or coffee belt. Every coffee growing region attains certain attributes and tasting differences, go ahead and check our guide.

Central America

This region is known for their bright citrus acidity, clean and fruity flavors with a smooth sweetness. A well-balanced cup is what truly defines these coffees as their fruity characteristics blend well with the chocolate and creamy finish. Central America coffees have a medium acidity that goes form apple to orange and even cherry like, and a sugar-browning sweetness with cocoa and milk chocolate hints. A high quality cup with the right amount of acidity to balance the touch of sweetness is always expected from this region. Their most important producing countries are: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Panama.

South America

It is probably the most famous coffee origin, as it includes Colombia and Brazil, two of the largest coffee producers in the world. South American coffee landscape is known for its richness and diversity, as you can find noticeable flavor profiles between coffee growing regions within the same country. Overall, these coffees have a good balanced, smooth and tend to be on the mild acidic side. South American coffees are relatively similar to Central American coffees, yet they can have a fuller-bodied and less acidity. Colombia’s unique geography and rich soils provides perfect growing conditions for a high quality and delicious brew. Colombian coffee has a mellow acidity with a strong caramel sweetness and nutty undertones. Perhaps, it is the most recognizable coffee flavor for its sweet and medium bodied. It tends to be sweeter and less acid than the other coffees from the regions. Brazil plays a significant role is the coffee industry. Natural or pulped natural is the dominant method for processing coffee in Brazil. Such process adds a level of complexity to the cup, as it gives a pronounced nutty quality and heavier body. Brazilian coffee has a chocolate and caramel flavor with some spice notes and a less clean aftertaste. Other producing countries in this region are: Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Africa

Is the birthplace of coffee and it still produces some of the best coffee in the world. Coffee from this region is rich in color, flavor and aroma. Depending on the processing method selected, the coffee’s flavor profile can range from fruity with citric bright qualities, to a full body cup with a wine like flavor, to a very delicate coffee with rich floral notes. African coffees are very aromatic, medium to high acidity with a rich medium to heavy body. The balance is complex and it tends to have a long finish. Coffee is an important agricultural commodity, economic source and employment creation for many African countries. In Ethiopia and Kenya, the government has invested time and money in research and development. They have educated and encouraged their farmers to adopt more sustainable agricultural processes in order to produce high quality beans. Africa’s coffee growing countries are: Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Southeast Asia

The coffee from this region tends to have low to medium acidity with complex flavors that are somewhat earthy and bitter. Indonesia is the main producing country in the region with Java, Sumatra and Sulawesi being the predominant growing coffee areas. Indonesian coffees are rich, full-bodied with a wide range of flavors. It can be nutty, citric, spicy, chocolaty, earthy and even herbaceous. Some of the best and most expensive Arabica coffees are grown in Indonesia. Southeast Asia mostly produces Robusta coffee, yet Arabica is expected to rise in the future as governments has sponsored and even encouraged its production. The producing countries of the region are: Indonesia (Sumatra, Sulawesi, Java and Bali), Laos, Myanmar (Burma), Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Vietnam.

Caribbean

Jamaica is considered by far the main and most important coffee producer in the Caribbean. Jamaica grows some of the most valued and wanted coffee. It is considered to be one of the best, if not the best, coffee in the world. The Coffee Industry Board of Jamaica (CIB) protects the Blue Mountain brand. In order to be certified as 100% Blue Mountain Coffee, the coffee must be grown at high elevations (between 3,000 and 7,000 feet) on the mountainous ridge that crowns the island of Jamaica known as Blue Mountain. Jamaican Blue Mountain Coffee is silky smooth, well balanced with a rich body and aroma. It has a sweet flavor and a vibrant yet understated acidity with a clean and mellow lingering finish.

Hawaii

Hawaii gets its own category as it produces one of the most exclusive and sought-after coffees in the world, Kona Coffee. Its reputation and popularity has labeled Kona coffee as the pinnacle of what a good and pleasant coffee should taste like. Kona coffee is grown in the Big Island of Hawaii, United States on the western slopes of Mauna Loa and Hualalai volcanoes at 500 feet and 2,500 feet above sea level. Hawaii’s unique microclimate, their farmers’ constant dedication and government involvement has been the magic recipe to produce excellent beans. Kona coffee can be described as a smooth and well-balanced cup with low citric acidity. It is a sweet and mild coffee with a pleasant aftertaste. In Hawaii coffee is also grown on Kauai and Molokai.

Cubico Coffee offers exquisite and intriguing coffees from divers regions. We hope that this overview helps you understand the differing qualities between coffees. Our goal is to share our knowledge so you can sense where each coffee comes from and select your favorite origin. We invite you to browse our selection and experience Coffee the way you like it!.

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