Coffee Bean Flavor Starts With Climate and Growing Region

There are many factors that influence the flavor of coffee beans.  Ultimately the nuances we coffee geeks (aka coffee professionals) look for start with the soil the trees are grown in.  There are other factors that come into play such as climate, soil, rain, sun, harvesting, processing, storage and roasting that all play a role in why coffee tastes the way it does.  And we are not talking about flavors like vanilla-hazelnut or chocolate cream pie surprise; those types of ‘flavors’ are additives added after roasting (actually the beans are soaked in a flavor concentrate and absorb the flavor…ewww!)  Nothing natural about that!  However in this discussion, we will focus on the coffee origin that starts with climate and region.  After all, that is where it all starts.

There are several countries that produce Arabica coffee beans.  Obviously they cannot be grown in every country or they would be.  Coffee beans need to have the right climate and altitude in order to survive.  Each country must be located in a geographical zone capable of sustaining a coffee tree.  The optimal climate has to fall into one of two categories:  subtropical or equatorial.

The subtropical region boasts an altitude of 1800-3600 ft.  This would include parts of Brazil like the Sao Paulo state as well as Zimbabwe in Africa and Mexico.  The climate conditions allow for one growing season and one maturation season because of the equal rainy and dry seasons.

The equatorial regions with an altitude of 3600-6300 ft would be those found in say Ethiopia, Kenya and Colombia.  These regions haven’t any dry season so all drying of processed coffee beans has to be done by mechanical means not by mother nature.  She is not so dependable when you need 4 wks to dry coffee outside on a patio and the rain is not letting up.  The upside is that frequent rainfall allows for two harvesting seasons.

When you actually break down the origin by continent, you would have a list as follows:

North America and the Caribbean – Hawaii is known mainly for Kona coffee which gets its much sought after characteristics from the rich volcanic soil.  The Mexican states of Veracruz, Oaxaca and Chiapas boast a cup of coffee with a wonderful aroma and a depth of flavor, often with a pronounced sharpness.  Puerto Rican coffee is known for its balanced body, acidity and fruity aroma.

Central America – Guatemalan coffee beans are medium-to-full bodied coffees that usually have a depth and complexity of taste that is almost spicy, nutty or chocolaty.  Costa Rica is known for coffee that is a perfect balance and full bodied.  Panama coffees are anywhere from intensely acidy to delicately and brightly floral.

South America – Colombian coffees are generally mild, with a well-balanced acidity and overall sweetness while Brazil, still sweet to taste tends to offer a more low-acid, medium bodied coffee.

Africa and the Middle East – Ethiopia has three main growing regions for coffee beans which are Sidamo, Harer and Kaffa.   When tasted, Ethiopian coffee tends to be full flavored, a tad ‘earthy’, taste of berries, winey in character and full bodied.  Kenya coffee is sharp with a fruity acidity.  Kenyan also offers a full body and rich fragrance.

Arabia – Yemen is a deep and rich flavored coffee.  Fun fact – Mocha Java was an accidental blend of Arabian coffee and beans from the island of Java.

Asia – Indonesia is known for the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi (Celebes) that produce a rich, full body and mildly acidic coffee.  Vietnam produces mainly Robusta coffee.  Vietnamese coffee has a light acidity and mild body with a good balance. It is usually used for blending, especially in espresso blends.

When we roasters blend coffee beans to come up with something original, we usually start with a flavor profile that we want to accomplish and work backwards.  That is why having a working knowledge of all types of coffees is a good prerequisite for blending.  Of course you will have your ‘purists’ that say if a Guatemalan Estate coffee cups at a score of 90, why not let it stand on its own?  They don’t agree with blending and say it’s a way to cover up defects in the cup.  Well true it does that, however I do not believe that anyone would intentionally do that.  This profession has so much passion that I believe anyone in it is in it 100%.  By that, I feel that we are all striving for our absolute best so we go out of our way to ensure the product meets or exceeds every expectation.  I believe that blending gives a certain creativity to a roaster that would only be available in a particular roasting profile.

Having said that I happen to favor the single origin coffees more than the blends.  It’s a quest each season to get as many bags of the best estate and single farm green coffee beans that we can.  It is as much a goal to have a unique and sought after single origin as it is to have a unique and sought after original (and secret!) blend.

So, the next time you buy a bag of whole bean coffee or take a sip of the black brew, try to pick out the obvious flavor characteristics we talked about here.  You’ll be surprised at how much coffee geek stuff you may just know now!



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Coffee Beans Determine Which Are The Most Expensive Coffee

When you think about drinking coffee, you most likely think about having coffee from coffee houses like Starbucks or Coffee Bean. Many people are aware of the big players in the coffee industry. However, do you think they are offering the best beans, since the price tag that comes along is not cheap?

These coffee houses charge you a lot for coffee yet they don’t use expensive beans one inside your coffee. The most expensive coffee in the world comes along the lines with mammals known as civets. This raccoon like animal eats ripe cherries which contain the kopi luwak coffee beans and after some digesting and fermentation of the juicy parts, the beans are eventually passed out.

After the excrement is collected, they will be washed and dried. Following that, begin the procedure of breaking the beans apart, removing the skin and anything else that comes along with the civet’s excretion. After the cleaning process, the beans are then sorted and ready to be shipped to the various retailers.

If you never heard of such beans before, it might shock you that a mere half pound of such can cost as high as $60, easily paying many times over what you pay for normal ones. That is what the most expensive coffee in the world will taste like and it is all because of the beans.

If you like to know more about how to appreciate coffee, the luwak coffee beans are something you should try. Do not be tricked by the many companies claiming to produce coffee from the beans of such. Do your findings well because unauthentic coffee beans can never replace the genuine taste and aroma to get the most expensive coffee we know of.



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Buy Kopi Luwak Coffee For A Taste Of Something Special

One of the rarest treats in the world, Kopi Luwak coffee is hard to come by in many places. This is because of the rarity and unique quality of the coffee bean. The method that results in the delicious Kopi Luwak coffee is natural and takes more time and effort than that of regular coffee. The rich, smooth flavor of Kopi Lowak comes from a caring and delicate process that begins with the beautiful, tropical climate of Indonesia and ends with the packaging process before it’s shipped to other locations.

Kopi Lowak coffee is so expensive because it is grown and gathered with pride and care toward a truly quality result. The natural environment of the Indonesian islands results in a long growing cycle and a well-nourished coffee plant. When the fruit of the plant ripens into bright red berries the civet comes to take on his part of the process. Choosing only the ripest and best tasting Kopi Lowak berries the animal eats them. As the bean passes through his digestive system the harsh proteins that we detect as a bitter taste are removed and the bean is passed through his system.

Once this process is complete, the Kopi Luwak beans are gathered and thoroughly cleansed before being dried in the sun. This process takes a great deal of care and you should know that when you buy Kopi Lowak coffee, this is the quality you get along with the natural rarity of the bean itself. If you buy Kopi Lowak coffee you/re buying a truly rare and precious treat for yourself. Kopi Lowak is like no other coffee in the world, not only because of its unique story but because of the people who put great care into its making and production.

You can buy Kopi Lowak for $50 a cup; a larger sum than many other coffees certainly but it is well worth the cost. The rich, smooth taste of the coffee is said to have other notes that are unique to the coffee itself like chocolate and a mild earthy tone not unlike that of syrup. Each sip is its own special reward when you’ve chosen to buy Kopi Luwak coffee. The story of how it is made and the flavor the bean are the stuff of urban legends in many areas of the western world. Kopa Lowak has more than earned its good reputation.

If you want a pleasant, smooth coffee that truly satisfies the desire for something different and truly wonderful then Kopi Lowak is well worth the purchase. When you buy Kopi Lowak coffee you are stepping beyond the taboo and into one of the best experiences you’re likely to find as a coffee drinker. Indonesia produces some of the most wonderful coffees the world has to offer and it’s no coincidence. Coffee has become as rooted in the traditions and history of their culture as the many faiths and cultures of their 17,500 island nation. Kopi Lowak is a fine and delicious part of that tradition.



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