Coffee Origins

“Coffee has never been better than it is today.” James Hoffman 1

From Africa, through Asia to America – there are many coffee-growing regions within each country. Today we decided to discuss a little bit about the main coffee producing countries and the tastes associated with them.

 Africa

Ethiopia

As some of you may already know, Ethiopia is recognized as the birthplace of coffee. Some sources show that Coffee Arabica appeared for the first time in Sudan, however since spread to Ethiopia it became truly in demand. In fact Ethiopia was the first place, where humans consumed coffee.

Ethiopian coffee is known for it’s diverse flavours. Ranging from citrusy and floral through to candied fruit. Quite often with a light and elegant body.

Kenya

In Kenya the earliest documented import of coffee dates to 1893 when French missionaries brought coffee trees from Réunion.

The flavors of Kenyan coffee are distinguished by their bright, complex berry taste as well as their intense acidity and sweetness.

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 Burundi

 In 1920 coffee arrived to Burundi through the Belgian colonial rule and from 1933 every farmer has had to cultivate at least 55 coffee trees.

The best coffees from Burundi are fully washed and quite often of Bourbon variety. Coffees from Burundi are juicy and have complex berry fruit flavors.

Coffees in Burundi and Rwanda are susceptible to the potato defect. The afflicted bean is not harmful to our health however after roasting/grounding beans are releasing an aroma similar to the smell of peeling raw potato. We still don’t know exactly what type of bacteria is attacking the cherry skin and producing unpleasant toxins.

Central America

El Salvador

“El Salvador can produce very good coffee. Bourbon varietal coffees are at one end of the spectrum, with a balanced, classic “Central” profile, a good alternative to Brazil as a base for espresso; Pacamara varietal coffees are their opposite, quirky and full of character. High altitudes and good, dense traditional varietals are a factor in the quality of El Salvador coffees. The country also produces an abundance of lower-grown coffee with fairly average cup quality.”2

Coffee from Central America is usually very balanced with a good mixture of smooth sweetness and some tart and fruity acidity. They are often described as having a “clean” flavour.

 South America

Brazil

Brazil has been the world’s largest producer of coffee for more than 150 years.

Much of Brazil’s coffee is grown in lower grassland areas in non-volcanic soil. These conditions are less than ideal for specialty coffee and this comes through in the cup.

However you can still find some special Brazilian coffees out there…

A good high quality Brazil coffee tastes soft and nutty. Usually with a low acidity and bittersweet chocolate tastes.

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Colombia

 Colombia is currently the third top exporter of coffee in the world. The country of Colombia has the perfect geography for growing coffee.

 “Colombia is one of the few countries that only grows Arabica beans, which besides climate and elevation, is why Colombian coffee is considered higher quality”3

 “Colombia’s coffee growing region is generally between the cities of Cali, Medellín and Bogotá, and is known as the Zona Cafetero or Eje. The small towns and cities in these hills are in the perfect location to grow high-quality coffee. The high altitude, wet, tropical climate, and volcanic soil seem to be made to grow coffee.”4

 Colombian coffee tends to be sweeter and less acidic. The after taste is a little bit creamier and chocolaty.

 

Notes:

  1. The World Atlas of Coffee, James Hoffman
  2. https://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/content/el-salvador-0
  3. https://bryannaplog.com/2014/04/17/all-you-need-to-know-about-colombian-coffee/
  4. https://bryannaplog.com/2014/04/17/all-you-need-to-know-about-colombian-coffee/