The world of coffee can be crazy and confusing. We are here to shed a little light on the subject!
Coffee is grown in over 50 countries worldwide, and takes on the flavors of each region where it is grown. The taste of the final product depends on numerous factors such as the soil and method the coffee is washed. The Latin American region produces coffee with chocolate and nutty tones. Fruity and floral coffees are attributed to the areas of Africa and Arabia, while spiced, herbal or earthy coffees are grown in the Pacific and Asian regions.
The coffee plant prefers fertile soil and mild temperatures, with lots of rain and shaded sun; that is why all the world’s coffee is grown in a band around the equator.
South America - The standard/classic coffee
Coffees from countries like Brazil and Colombia tend to have flavors resembling your classic cup of coffee. These countries are set up for washed and semi-washed processing, which produces a low acidity and clean cup. Some common flavors noted from these regions include chocolate, nuts, and hints of caramel.
Central American - Bright
Central America produces coffees that are often bright and clean. The rich soils of Mexico, Guatemala and Nicaragua produce flavors that are slightly less sweet than those from South America. For instance, a coffee from South America might remind you of a milk chocolate bar with its slight sweetness, but a coffee from Central America may be described as having cocoa notes, which are more reminiscent of the less sweet 80-percent cocoa bar. Other flavors found in this region range from nuts to fruits.
Africa - Exotic/Fruity
African coffees are often as exotic as the lands they come from. Many coffees in Africa are dry processed, which infuses the beans with flavors from the cherry and mucilage. These coffees feature a big body that’s enhanced with a strong sweetness. Flavors from Ethiopia’s, Rwanda’s, Kenya’s and Burundi’s coffees are often fruity or floral.
Asia - Heavyweights
Asian coffees, such as those from Sumatra, are the heavyweights of coffee. They often have heavy, musty notes that capture the climate they come from.
Five Essentials to Coffee Tasting
But in all seriousness, to learn what coffee you like best, you need to know how to tell the difference!
Sweetness - Contrary to its bitter reputation, the better the coffee, the sweeter it usually tastes. The presence of sweetness is, in fact, one of the reasons that the majority of people prefer Arabica coffee beans over Robusta beans
Acidity - Often used to describe the tangy, fruity, or bright aftertaste. This typically falls on the opposite side of the roast profile. The darker the roast, the more we taste the effect of the roast (like caramelized sugars), and the less we taste the juicy or tart aspects we think of as acidity.
Body - This is best described at the consistency, or viscosity of brewed coffee
(aka if you were to compare drinking skim milk vs whipping cream or whole milk)
Flavor - Beginning tasters often believe they just taste "coffee." That’s a good place to start. But take another sip. Can you taste milk chocolate, walnuts, or even caramel? Fruit notes of blueberry or citrus can add a touch to your daily coffee!
Finish - One of the best things about a great cup of coffee, is still enjoying the aftertaste, even five minutes after you sip it. We often describe finish in terms of duration and texture. Is it fleeting or lingering? Is it rough or smooth?
Many coffee drinkers believe that darker roasts have more caffeine, but that’s actually a myth. The caffeine levels in a bean will stay very stable during the roast, regardless of how dark you roast it. If you measure out the grounds by the tablespoon instead of by weight, a lighter roast will have more caffeine, since the beans are denser.
Different Types of Roasts
Light brown in color, this roast is generally preferred for milder coffee varieties. There will be no oil on the surface of these beans because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the surface. These roasts have a high acidity, juicy, and hints of fruit or floral.
Also known as:
This roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States. This stage typically still has fruity notes and hints of caramel as well.
Medium dark roasts
Rich, dark color, this roast has some oil on the surface and with a slight bittersweet aftertaste. This stage also has Moderate acidity, mellow caramels, and a medium body.
This roast produces shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage. Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to charred, and offer flavors more near the unsweetened cocoa, smoky, and bittersweet.
We are always looking to expand our selection of available roasts and blends, so make sure to stay tuned!
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