How the origin of coffee effects taste

How the origin of coffee affects taste


How the origin of coffee effects taste

The origin of a coffee bean helps to determine the flavour, taste, and even natural sugar content.

Each region produces coffee that tastes differently that has different characteristics.

This post is an explanation as to how the origin of a coffee affects its taste.

The soil, sun, wind, altitude, and various factors that are unique to each specific region. These are the factors that determine how coffee from those specific regions taste.

With every plant, these factors affect their nutrients, health, fruit production, etc.

Plants get nutrients from the sun, soil and they need these nutrients to deliver nutrients to their fruits.

The two main factors that determine how coffee from each origin tastes are:

  1. Temperature
  2. Altitude

These two factors are linked together, this is because temperature depends on altitude. 

Take for example altitude, plants grow best at different altitudes. With the coffee plant, each region has different altitudes at which the coffee plant receives the best nutrients it needs for survival and growth.

A high altitude causes plants to slowly ripen which causes a higher density in the seed. Higher density can be translated to mean better quality, sweetness, etc.

Hence, coffee plants that are grown at higher altitudes are regarded as high quality.


coffee bean country of origin


Flavour profile by country:

Africa: In this region, the coffees produced are known for their high-quality acidic nature and fruity flavours. Coffee produced in Africa is exotic like in nature.

Coffee grown in this region is grown at a very high altitude. This is why they are sweet and highly acidic.

While they do not taste the same, they all have fruity, exotic flavours.

Ethiopia: In Ethiopia, you get fruity and floral notes with much acidity that showcase its high quality.

Coffee production in Ethiopia makes use of natural and wet methods.

Wet method coffee tends to produce lighter, floral notes coffee while the natural Ethiopian method produces coffee with characteristics that lean towards blueberry while being very sweet and juicy.

This natural method of coffee tends to be syrup-like, heavy, and very fruity.

Kenya: In Kenya, you get small amounts of sweetness with tomato or grape, tomatoes like acidic which is sharp but fruity. This region of coffee is known for its full body and complexity.

Tanzania: In Tanzania, coffees have high acidity with a very intense aroma. It has a deep rich taste of fruity flavour, berries, and in some coffees, cedar. There are also other fruity flavours like kiwi, lemon, etc.

With aroma, that's sometimes rustic and other times can be mistaken for brown bread.

Rwanda: Coffee from this region is sweet with flavours from citrus to floral. They're smooth, buttery, and known for their acidity, complexity, and balance. They are filled with delicious bright notes.

Burundi: Coffees in this region are similar to those in Rwanda. They are filled with bright notes and are dynamic in taste. They contain flavour notes of berry, citrus, and red fruits.

Asia: In this region, their coffees have dark chocolate, spicy flavour notes. They have low acidity and are creamy.

Coffee produced in this region is grown at various altitudes ranging from high altitudes to medium altitude hence the nutty, chocolate, vanilla flavour.

India: Coffees in this region give off this moderate feel in your mouth with dominant flavours such as vanilla, spicy, mild nuts. They are creamily pungent and spicy.

Indonesia: Coffee in this region usually has this earthy and syrup-like taste that fills the mouth. They have low acidity with chocolate flavour notes.

Java: Wonderful rich taste with chocolate and spicy flavour notes are what coffees in this region taste like. They are syrupy and give this slight kick.

Sulawesi: These coffees are creamy with berry, dark chocolate nuts, and spicy flavour notes. They have low acidity with a full body.

Papua New Guinea: They have medium acidity with a full body. Savoury rich taste with maple, dark chocolates, spicy flavour notes.

South America: South America is one of the largest exporters of coffee beans with a perfect climate for growing high-quality coffee beans.

Coffee in this region is grown at a high altitude which accounts for the chocolate, nutty flavour.

Brazil: Brazil is the largest coffee producer in South America. Their coffee is processed in three different ways: natural, washed, semi-washed.

They have a heavy smooth body with pronounced nutty taste and quality with chocolate and spicy flavours. The taste of this coffee tends to linger in the mouth.

Columbia: Coffee in this region has citrus-like acidity with a fruity, citrusy, or slightly nut-like rich taste. The flavours of this coffee are sweet caramel or cocoa. They can be enjoyed by any kind of coffee lover.

Central America: Coffee from this region is not too acidic, not too bitter with smooth flavours like chocolate; this makes them perfect for those newly introduced to coffee.

Coffee in this region are grown at a medium altitude which is why the experience both a combination of low attitude coffee plants( earthy) and high altitude( chocolate)

Mexico: These coffee have a gentle sweetness and fruitiness to them. They are light or delicate coffee that is not too acidic with earthy flavour notes and chocolate overtones. The best coffee you'll find in Mexico has a pleasant dryness that's similar to fine white wines.

Costa Rica: These are Arabica beans which are high quality. With an irresistible flavour of chocolate. Depending on your roast method you can get diverse flavour notes. 

A light roast will give you mild acidity with diverse flavour notes ranging from honey to grape to citrus. 

The dark roast will give you a heavy-bodied coffee, smooth and dark filled with flavour.

Different regions and environments affect the quality, taste (both noticeable and subtle)  of coffee beans. But these are just generalizations, other factors create exceptions to these generalized flavours.