The climate, soil, and altitude of coffee-growing regions impact the coffee bean, resulting in a distinctive aroma, acidity, flavor, and body. Today, consumers can enjoy coffee harvested globally from each growing region. Here's a brief overview of some of the distinctive international coffee flavors and characteristics:
Latin American Coffees: Coffees harvested from Mexico, Central and South America, Columbia, Panama, the Caribbean, and Costa Rica are characterized by a medium to high acidity and a tangy, sweet flavor. These blends are commonly used for breakfast coffees.
Arabian and African Coffees: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Kilimanjaro produce spicy-flavored coffees with hints of cocoa, citrus, and berries. Distinguished by a thick, syrup-like body and dark roast, African and Arabian coffees are often served as a dessert accompaniment.
Asia and Indo Pacific Coffees: Grown in Asia, Indonesia, and the Pacific Islands, these coffees have low acidity and a bold, heavy body. Characterized by a robust, earthy, or slightly bitter flavor, coffees grown in this region complement rich desserts and dark chocolates. Common coffees from this region include Monsoon Malabar, Sumatra, and Yemeni.
Exotic Coffees: Harvested from Hawaii and Jamaica, exotic coffees are prized for their rich aroma and full flavor. Kona and Jamaican Blue Mountain are popular varieties from this region.
While serious coffee connoisseurs can identify the origins of their coffee beans solely by aroma, those who are new to coffees from abroad may not have honed this talent. Sample bags of gourmet beans are a fun way to experiment with different regions, blends, and flavors. The next time you brew a pot, think globally and try an international coffee instead of your current blend. You may be pleasantly surprised to discover what you've been missing.