Coffee beans come from many sources that you can’t differentiate in flavor and taste. The coffee tree grows in all tropical areas and has several hundred varieties. The taste is subjective, but each origin area of coffee beans has its own characteristics.
We have prepared in this article useful information to keep in mind when choosing coffee beans, information that could help you prepare a better coffee for your own tastes.
Coffee Beans by Origin
Each country or continent has its own history of how coffee came to be grown in certain areas. Throughout history, coffee tree varieties have spread and crossed in many forms so that today we can enjoy many flavors and tastes in the cup. Here are the most important countries and continents that grow coffee trees and what’s different.
Central America and the Caribbean
About 20% of the global coffee production comes from Central America. Here, the coffee has the characteristic of low acidity due to the fact that the trees grow at low altitudes (between 800-1200 meters).
Among the countries in this region that produce important amounts of coffee beans are the Dominican Republic, Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and Honduras. In addition to these, there are also those that produce the largest quantity such as:
Coffee from Costa Rica is known as one of the most aromatic and consumed in the world. In Costa Rica there are over 400 million coffee trees, all from Arabica varieties, with the Robusta variety being banned in many areas.
The beans are usually processed by washing, which provides the coffee with a complex taste, high acidity, and robust body.
At the beginning of the 1900s, El Salvador was able to survive economically due to the important export of coffee beans.
Today, almost 10% of the country’s population works in the coffee tree cultivation sector. In this area, the majority of the trees are Arabica, and due to low altitudes, the taste is clean, with a very low acidity and a watery body.
El Salvador is also known in the coffee field for a hybrid between Paca and Maragogype, called Pacamara. This tree hybrid is renowned for its high body and complex aromas.
Guatemala is one of the largest coffee bean producing countries due to its climate and high peaks where coffee grows naturally. Here, the most significant variety of Arabica grows, with a taste that is medium-bodied, sweet, and balanced.
The coffee has a delicate aroma and a wine-like aftertaste. The region of Antigua is particularly famous for producing the best coffee in Guatemala.
South America is characterized by a low acidity, earthy notes, and high sweetness in certain varieties. The producing countries include Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, with the most important being Brazil and Colombia.
Brazil is at the top of the list when it comes to coffee bean production. The most famous regions where most of the exported coffee is grown are Parana, Espirito Santo, Bahia, Sao Paulo and Minas Gerais. These are renowned for a certain variety called Bourbon, which through a natural processing, produces coffee beans with a specific sweetness and earthy notes.
Colombia is in the top 3 coffee bean producing countries for both varieties, Arabica and Robusta. Recently, a new classification of coffee from all zones in Colombia is used, classifications such as Excelso, Supremo and UGQ (Unusual Good Quality) to differentiate the coffee from common varieties from the coffee obtained from special varieties and under certain conditions.
The taste of these tends to be balanced, with high body, earthy and fruity notes.
Africa is the actual origin continent of the coffee tree, with a long and changing history. Africa produces coffee beans in countries such as Burundi, Yemen, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, all being an important source of coffee. Ethiopia, the country of origin of coffee, is also located in Africa.
The list of major coffee bean producers could not have failed to mention Ethiopia. It is believed that the coffee tree was first discovered here, and throughout history, this is where it spread.
Almost all coffee varieties grow here, so the complexity of the beans is quite variable. However, in large part, the coffee beans are processed naturally due to the large lack of water in certain regions.
Natural processing gives the coffee a balanced, sweet, aromatic, low-bodied and low-acid taste. It’s no wonder that the best coffees in history were obtained in Ethiopia.
Asia is the continent where the largest amount of Robusta is grown, a variety that is known for its robust, acidic, full-bodied and 3 times more caffeinated than Arabica.
The producing countries include China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam, with the latter two being the most well-known.
Australia and Pacific Region
Australia is not a very well-known continent in coffee production, with exports from here being very small. Nevertheless, the most appreciated area is Papua New Guinea for its citrus notes and low acidity.
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