Coffee Region Flavour Profiles – Part 2

In our last Coffee Blog, we looked at the different taste profiles you can expect from each region and why this is important for your daily cuppa. In this week’s Coffee Blog, we will discover more about the Coffee Belt.

Why You Need To Know About “The Coffee Belt”?

So, what is the “coffee belt”? The coffee belt is a region between two horizontal and imaginary lines running around the globe which tells you where coffee comes from. Anything outside of these lines has conditions that are impossible or at least unsuitable for producing coffee.

It’s worth pointing out that simply being in the coffee belt does not guarantee coffee growing conditions. Another necessary requirement is elevation, most coffee plantations are on hills or mountains.

As the regions of the world have an impact on whether coffee can be grown or not, it is also true that the region has a big impact on the flavour of the coffee.

And that impact is more prominent than you might think.

I’ve heard many a dismissive claim that coffee just tastes like coffee until they try the gorgeous fruitiness of a well brewed single origin beans.

“I Don’t Get How Coffee Can Taste Like Blueberry, Hazelnut Or Cocoa…”

When someone tells you a coffee bean has notes of blueberry it’s not because they’ve been added or it’s an infusion. It’s still just coffee beans. No-one squeezed a few blueberries over them to change the flavour!

What they are talking about is the inherent flavour profile of the coffee bean.

Coffee is an intensely flavorful drink. You know this already if you’ve ever tried a really bad, bitter cup of black coffee. It’s only undrinkable because of how powerful the flavour is from the coffee.

In fact, coffee has more flavonoids than wine.  Same flavours that are present in fruit or nuts or flowers can be present just because the chemical structure is similar. Below is the Coffee Flavour Wheel by Speciality Coffee Association – one of the most iconic resources in the coffee industry—has been the industry standard for over two decades, and consist the set of vocabulary industry professionals would use, and coffee roasters would put on their espresso beans packagings.

So, How Does The Taste Of Coffee Change By Region?

So, since each coffee growing region in the world would have their own sensory experience, let’s now take a quick look at the taste notes from the three key coffee growing regions – Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Broadly speaking, Latin American coffees are known for their sweeter and balanced flavours, African coffees are famous for bright, fruity and floral notes whereas Asian coffees are known for their earthy, spicy and woody tastes.

More specifically, each individual country and even parts of countries have their own distinctive tastes.

Africa

Africa is noted for its fruity and floral coffee. African coffee beans suit light or medium roast, and the beans taste great when using a method with high flavour clarity like the Chemex or the Aeropress.

Some of the more popular countries/regions:

Kenya – Juicy, Grapefruit, Blackcurrant, Spice 
(a popular choice for single origin)

Ethiopia – Berry, Lemon, Cocoa

Burundi – Vanilla, Chocolate
(my pick for interesting coffee)

Asia

Asia is noted for its bitter and earthy coffee. Asian coffee beans suit a dark or medium roast. And the beans taste great with a full-bodied coffee made from a French Press.

Some of the more popular countries/regions:

Java – Heavy Bodied, Woody

Sumatra – Earthy, Smoky

India – Low Acid, Spicy, Heavy Bodied

Latin America

Latin American is noted for its sweet and acidic coffee. Latin American coffee beans suit a medium roast. The coffee tastes great when using a method with high flavour clarity like the Chemex or the Aeropress.

Some of the more popular countries/regions:

Colombia – Balanced, Medium Bodied, Sweet
(very popular coffee)

BrazilLow acidity, a nutty sweet flavour, bittersweet with a chocolaty roast taste

Guatemala – Smoky, Spicy, Floral

Costa Rica – Citrus, Nutty

This is really just scratching the surface. There’s a whole world out there to explore in terms of coffee taste notes and flavours. I hope you have enjoyed this blog, like everything else in life, practice makes perfect, don’t be afraid to try different coffee, and different brewing method.

Discover our range of espresso beans now.

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