What are some of your favorite coffee descriptors?
Fruity? Full-bodied? Chocolatey? Nutty? Sweet? Bright? Clean? Earthy?
Many times, your taste preferences can be associated with coffees from certain countries or regions of the world. For example, if you prefer clean, balanced, and mild coffees, you may really like offerings from Central America.
Here's a quick guide to some typical flavor profiles of our favorite coffee growing regions. Let it be said, this isn't an end-all, absolute profile list, as there can definitely be variances to the typical profiles of the region.
Let's take a look!
The birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia, provides some of the most prized coffees in the world. Known to be wildly fruity, sometimes these coffees have very distinct strawberry or blueberry-like aromas! Most coffees from Ethiopia are high-grown, meaning they are grown at high altitudes, some upwards of 2100 meters above sea level. Coffees grown at higher altitudes tend to produces more wild flavors as the coffee plants are subject to harsher climates and essentially have to work harder to survive. These coffees can be very delicate, tea-like, floral, and definitely fruit-forward.
Kenyan coffees can also be very wild, with punchy fruit flavors and a big body to go with it. Sometimes the flavors can be clean and bright with prominent citrus notes, while other Kenyan offerings can be wine-like, spicy, or savory. Kenyans are prized coffees for their outstanding acidity, often complex and interesting!
Burundi, Rwanda, and Uganda also produce some pretty sweet coffees that can be wild, fruity, and balanced.
I know tons of people whose favorite coffees are from Brazil. I have to admit, I'm also a sucker for a good natural processed Brazil. Coffees from this country are very comforting. You'd be hard-pressed to find anything super wild or fruity from Brazil, as most of the coffee grown here is at low altitudes, which leads to deep, nutty, chocolatey flavor profiles. Because the natural process is predominant here, most Brazilian offerings will have that "rough around the edges" mouthfeel.
Flavor profiles from Colombia can differ significantly. Some will find a rather "classic" coffee profile (caramel, nutty, sweet), but we've found that we really enjoy Colombian coffees that yield a big time sweetness with hints of cherry or tropical fruits. The Andes mountain range lends to diverse growing regions, which contributes to the differing flavor profiles. Colombian coffees are diverse, but typically sweet and balanced.
Central America ( Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua)
Notable coffee-growing countries in Central America tend to produce some pretty similar offerings. You can expect most of these coffees to be pretty similar - balanced. A solid body with mild fruitiness and sweetness. Not too bitter, not too acidic, these coffees are palatable for just about everyone. Processing can play a hefty role in the final product here, as noticed in our Guatemala Yepocapa Natural. The natural process of that particular coffee is much more wild and berry-like than its washed counterpart!
Of all the regions we've covered so far, I'd have to say this region is the most unique as well as the most polarizing. People truly love Indonesian or Sumatran coffees or truly dislike them. There's an earthy characteristic that is distinct to coffees from the Indonesia or Sumatra. Some would describe this earthiness as "dirty" or "smokey", while others love it! Lately, however, we've seen some offerings hailing from the South Pacific that have big grapefruit flavors and sweetness to them.
Which origins are your favorite and why? Share in the comments below. :)