Did you know that around 400 billion cups of coffee are consumed each year? This figure is staggering, and it’s no wonder that coffee is the world’s most widely traded agricultural commodity. Today, coffee is something to be appreciated, savoured, experimented with and loved.
However, not all coffee tastes the same. Gone are the days when you walk into a good cafe and ask for a plain old coffee. With the third wave of coffee has come restaurants where you can order based on your taste preferences, coffee origins and flavour profiles. Do you know enough about these different origins or tastes of coffee? Read on!
Everything you need to know about coffee from around the world
For many people, coffee is a necessary part of daily life, like medicine for a wake-up call. In recent years, however, consumers have become increasingly enamoured with speciality grade coffee which possesses incredible intrinsic flavour that makes our daily brew much more of an event.
Flavour in coffee is strongly influenced by the country of origin those beans came from, and whilst we can’t generalise the profiles created, each coffee origin generally carries unique characteristics. We want to help you to buy a coffee that is most suited to your flavour preference, so we decided to put this guide together to explain some of the differences in flavour profiles and supply chains from each region. Quality and ethics lie at the heart of what we do here, and we hope this guide will give you an insight into our buying decisions and relationships with our producing partners.
Mexican Single Origin Coffee
Mexican-origin coffee is renowned for its nutty tangs, highlighted by chocolaty overtones. With its light body, medium acidity, and palatable dryness, Mexican coffees often strike the palette much like a white wine. Overall, Mexican single-origin coffee delivers one of the most inclusive flavour profiles associated with gourmet coffee, with different tasting profiles that depend on where in Mexico the coffee is produced- more on this shortly!
History of the Mexican Origin Coffee
Coffee plants have been grown in Veracruz, Mexico, since the late 18th century, with production hitting its peak in 1954. In the late 1900s, coffee production in Mexico spread across 12 states, and Chiapas was the biggest coffee-producing city in the region. By 1982, over 400,000 hectares of the Mexican landmass had been used for the production of coffee, employing over 2 million Mexicans.
There are a plethora of Mexican single-origin coffees from which to choose. However, the “Altura” graded Mexican origin coffee is considered the highest quality coffee produced in the area. Altura graded coffees are generally grown in the highlands of Mexico. Altura coffee beans of the Mexican origin are very highly rated in the Americas and are renowned for their mild, slightly sweet flavor.
Tasting Notes of Mexican Origin Coffee
With regards to the tasting notes of Coffee grown in Mexico, there is extensive variation due to how much production comes from smaller scale growers with different practices and varieties of arabica grown. Numerous regions in Mexico grow superb quality beans. The three principal areas where the Mexican origin coffee is sourced are Chiapas, Veracruz, and Oaxaca.
Kenyan Single Origin Coffee
Kenya is one of the few African countries growing and exporting high-quality coffee in large volumes, offering some of the most spectacular flavour profiles available. With a distinctive bright acidity, sweet tang hints, and a dry wine finish, Kenyan-origin coffee is ideal for everyday coffee consumption. Some higher-grade Kenyan coffee varieties also feature distinct black-currant tangs and aroma. However, the quality and taste of Kenyan-origin coffee are greatly influenced by the particular farm where the coffee was grown.
Although Kenya is near Ethiopia, where the Coffea Arabica was first discovered, it didn’t produce coffee until the late 1800s. Some speculate that coffee was first brought to Kenya by missionaries looking to import coffee from Brazil.
In 1933 Kenya passed the Coffee Act, creating a centralized auction system for the sale of Kenyan coffee. This resulted in Kenya exporting the highest-grade coffee to the international market, leaving the locals with the lesser quality coffees. By 1954, native Kenyans controlled only 5,000 acres of coffee farms, with the rest in the country owned and run by non-citizens. It was only more recently that Kenyans have gained greater ownership and control of the Kenyan coffee market, in part due to a renewed focus on fair trade practices.
Tasting Notes of Kenyan Single Origin Coffee
Kenya is a top producer of excellent premium gourmet coffee, with flavor profile ranging from sweet acidity to berried-toned tangs. Coffees produced in Kenya are full-bodied, highly, but pleasantly acidic, richly flavored and fragranced, and imbued with distinct floral notes. Overall, Kenyan Single Origin coffee packs a punch of distinct flavor wrapped in a luxurious texture; many coffee enthusiasts refer to Kenyan origin coffee as the “Connoisseur’s Cup.”
Papua New Guinea Single Origin Coffee
Papua New Guinea is one of the world’s largest producers of high-grade coffee. Most of Papua New Guinea’s coffee is cultivated in the mountainous lands of New Guinea, where Albizzia berries are found. In the past, the Albizzia berries were used for medicinal and spiritual purposes in the area, but all that changed when the farmers began to focus on coffee production. Thanks to the grown Albizzia berries, we can now enjoy the delicious sweet and fruity tang present in Papua New Guinea coffees.
Papua New Guinea has a very long history when it comes to coffee production. The country began producing coffee in Sangara, as far back as the 1900s. Though it took some time for the coffee infrastructure to reach its peak, by 1960, the country had made its mark on the world’s stage after improved methods to transport the beans from the plantations to processing mills were developed. In the 1970s, Brazil, a high-volume producer, experienced a recession in coffee production, giving Papua New Guinea a golden opportunity to expand its exports internationally.
However, after the success of the 1970s, Papua New Guinea witnessed a series of setbacks in coffee production and exportation business. Coffee rust disease, an infectious disease triggered by the Hemileia Vastarix, reduced harvest volume. Inadequate infrastructure and incessant hijacking on the transportation route from the plantations to the processing mills further reduced output.
Despite these challenges, Papua New Guinea has maintained its high standards for coffee production and remains one of the world’s largest producers of gourmet coffee beans.
Tasting Notes of Papua New Guinea Coffee
Although many find Papua New Guinea origin coffee to be similar to the world-renowned Jamaican Blue Mountain, or even Sulawesi Toraja, it offers its own unique, delicious flavor profile.
Papua New Guinea coffee frequently combines sweet tangs with low-toned fruity richness, medium acidity, a heavy body and an earthy flavor. It offers a bright-clean finish with a zesty, fruity aroma. Particular notes of Papua New Guinea single origin coffee commonly include mango and papaya. Coffees produced in Papua New Guinea are often known to be oilier than other coffees and which is particularly pronounced in medium roasts. Consequently, Papua New Guinea coffee is particularly great when using a steel-filter drip or a French press, to preserve the rich texture and flavor these oils offer.
Nicaraguan Single Origin Coffee
High-quality coffee beans are the principal trade of the Nicaraguan economy. Nicaragua is the 12th largest coffee-producing country on the plant. And it has been one of the largest producers in the world for more than a century, starting in the 1850s.
However, ever since the Nicaraguans began the large-scale cultivation and exportation of coffee in the 1800s. They have experienced setbacks, including civil war, hurricanes, and a prior U.S. embargo on the importation of all Nicaraguan coffees. Nonetheless, Nicaragua has managed to successfully navigate these challenges and remains a world leader in the production of high quality coffee.
Tasting Notes of Nicaraguan Coffee
Nicaraguan Coffee has a distinctive taste with flavors like vanilla and various nuts, delivered in a balanced body and a fruity, low acidic profile. Additionally, high-grade Nicaraguan coffee often leans towards higher tone characteristics, like floral and citrus notes (as opposed to low toned flavors like apricot, chocolate, and papaya).
India Single Origin Coffee
The land of king cobras, elephants, and Mahatma Gandhi- India. However, you might not know that India produces some high quality single origin coffees. As one of the largest suppliers of coffee in the globe and a rapidly growing force in the speciality coffee market, it’s worth learning about- and paying attention to Indian coffee.
History of Coffee in India – A Centuries-Old Way of Life
How did coffee get to India in the first place? Well, the answer to this question is the stuff of legends – straight from a Tom Clancy novel.
You may know that coffee was first cultivated in Ethiopia- the story of a herder and his caffeine-induced goats via eating coffee cherries. Since then, the crop rapidly spread worldwide, including to the Ottoman Empire during the 1600s. Unfortunately, Turks roasted or boiled every coffee bean before leaving the port of Mocha in Yemen as a selfish attempt to prevent the cultivation of the “magical brew” in other regions. That was until Saint Baba Budun pulled off one of the most significant heists in Indian history.
Indian Coffee Growing Regions and Climate
Part of why Indian single-origin coffee is causing waves in the coffee industry is due to the cultivation conditions in the Asian country. India’s Coffee growing regions can be divided into two main categories. The first category representing traditional growing regions in the Southern states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka and the other category including the non-traditional areas of East and North Eastern Ghats. According to the Coffee Board of India, Indian coffee in the East Ghats region is typically grown in ecologically sensitive regions under the canopy of natural shades. This non-traditional area is recognized as a global biodiversity hotspot, with a canopy shade comprising of over 50 types of shade trees. The evergreen leguminous trees of the area host diverse fauna and flora, protect the coffee plant from temperature fluctuations, enrich the soils, and prevent erosion in the sloping plantation terrain.
Colombia Single Origin Coffee
What comes to mind when you think of Colombian coffee? Some of you might picture a coffee farmer with a killer moustache and a trusted mule by his side – that guy is Juan Valdez. Colombia is stereotypically associated with coffee, and for a good reason! For Colombia, coffee is more than a refreshing brew to kick-start a day; it is a crucial part of its identity and culture. The South American country is one of the leading producers of high-end Arabica coffee. It is estimated that Colombian production accounts for 12% of all coffee in the industry. UNESCO recognized the country as a World Heritage Site since it’s “an exceptional example of a sustainable and productive cultural landscape.”
But what makes the nation a coffee powerhouse? Why is coffee from Colombia (single-origin) so famous and revered? Does Colombian single-origin coffee have distinct notes? Read on for in-depth analysis and explanation of what makes Colombian coffee unique. Knowing more about the origin of your favourite cup of coffee might help you appreciate the enticing flavour and aroma you crave every morning.
Indonesian Single Origin Coffee
While today, Indonesia is the fourth-largest producer of coffee in the world, few realize that it was also one of the first countries to start growing coffee commercially. Arabica coffee plants were first imported into Indonesia in the 17th century during the Dutch East India Company’s occupation, to destabilize the Arab monopoly on the coffee market.
Despite its introduction under colonialism, coffee quickly became an integral part of the Indonesian culture and economy. Today, over 90% of the coffee is still produced on smallholdings, often less than three acres in size. Due to its overall high production and unique speciality offerings, Indonesia remains centre-stage in the world coffee trade.