Online Sales & Marketing, Kendon Shaw and Head Roaster and Green Buyer, Dennis Peseau
Where does the best coffee come from?
A tremendous amount of work goes into creating the coffee that arrives in your cup, and all of that labor plays a part in the flavor. The soil, growing conditions, harvesting, drying, sorting and processing….in fact, all of the natural and human interactions that occur with the coffee contribute to the essence of the coffee that is subsequently unlocked during roasting.
There is definitely stellar coffee out there, and some that is less than amazing, but it has less to do with the region or the variety of coffee, and more to do with the care taken by the people in the growing, harvesting and roasting processes. The rest is truly up to personal taste.
What are the differences between coffee from various regions?
Let’s look at some broad impressions from three major coffee regions:
Central/South America: Typically, coffee coming from this region has balanced acidity. There is a certain nuttiness to the body and a sweetness commonly described as caramel or dark chocolate. These are milder coffees, with just a hint of floral or citrus fruit.
Africa/East Africa/Central Africa: Coffees from Africa have a very bright and very present acidity, frequently described as juicy. They are most often described as fruit forward in flavor reminding us of berries, grapes, citrus, and cherry.
Indo-Pacific Region: This region produces heavier coffees with much smoother acidity. Described as wilder, they are grounded by an earthier tone reminding us of wood, earth, spices and are sometimes a little funky.
Of course, these descriptions are generalizations and do not take into account all of the nuances that go into the coffee’s growth and harvesting. We utilize the Green Coffee Grading Protocols from the Specialty Coffee Association of America, but these are simply guidelines and not regional quality correlations.
There are many, many books out there on this exact topic, but we recommend asking your favorite barista for coffee details. They work with the products day in and day out and have hands-on knowledge about the coffee in your cup. Then try coffee from different regions. There’s a lot to explore in this ever-changing world of coffee, and what you think may not always be what you taste.
We’d love to hear about your coffee quandaries. Please write in to firstname.lastname@example.org, or DM us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and we’ll answer either on the show or via e-mail. We’ll send you a free t-shirt if we answer your question on the show!