Regional Characteristics Of Coffee

Sorting green coffee beans

Coffee characteristics are measured by the quality of the bean and the intensity of flavor, aroma, acidity and taste (body) mild or bold. The coffee belt around the world have various shapes of topography and environmental conditions that are contributing to certain characteristics in coffee. Due to certain natural elements of geographical locations and environmental conditions, those characteristics are usually similar within the same coffee region. However, the beans will have different degree of strengthening body, aroma and flavor from one country and another in the same region.

Therefore, when we say coffees from Asia we mean coffees from the Indonesian Archipelago, such as Sumatra, Sulawesi or Celebes Kalosi, and Mandheling; and also, coffee from Southern India such as Indian Monsoon Malabar. Lately, we have coffees from Vietnam and China. Although, these coffees are grown in Asia, they are fundamentally different in quality and type of coffees.  While Indonesian and Indian coffees are known to be great and excellent Arabica coffees, the Vietnamese are basically Robusta coffee and the Chinese has low quality Arabica with poor flavor and flat body.

Same thing can be said about the coffees of Africa and South America. Brazil is the largest producer of coffee with commercial quality Arabica and large volume of Robusta. But, when we compare the coffees from other regions such as Jamaica, Haiti, and Puerto Rico from the Caribbean, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua from Central America, and Hawaiian Kona, Maui and Papua New Guinea from the Pacific Islands, these coffees ranges from good, to very good and excellent.

Therefore, we can characterize the coffee beans by regions as follows:

Coffee of Asia: Governments plays major role in producing and controlling coffee. The coffee from that region share similar characteristics. Both Indonesian and Indian Monsoon Malabar coffees are aged and stored with spices in open warehouses for the duration of the Monsoon Season. This method of storing coffee, create a certain characteristics of full body, spicy rich flavor, earthy taste, and lower acid that are unique to this regional coffee.

Coffee of AfricaMost African coffees are growing the Eastern and Southern regions of Africa, like the countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. High volcanic mountains and rich soil, a dry environment with shortage water, all produce hard bean, sharp acidity, and floral fruity notes with intense flavor, which are distinct characteristics of African coffees.

Coffee of South & Central AmericaCoffees from South and Central America are mass produced for commercial trade. These regional coffees, together represent more than 75% of the world coffee trade. The coffees of this region have different bean varietals which produce characteristics varies in acidity with bold to medium body. Colombian Supreme and Mexican Alturas coffees, however, are more balanced in flavor and acidity, with nutty accent and hint of caramel.

Coffee of the Caribbean: Coffees from this region share similar climatic conditions of rainfall and tropical sunlight that are needed to grow and cultivate high quality Arabica beans. The coffees from Jamaica - Blue Mountain, Haitian Blue, and Puerto Rico Yaco Selec to represent the highest quality of coffee available in taste and presentation.

Coffee of the Pacific Islands: There are two great coffees grown in that region mainly Hawaiian and Papua New Guinea coffees. They are as good as the Caribbean coffees. These volcanic islands share similar climate and topography with rich soil and abundant rainfall. Those natural elements contribute to growing attractive and fine flavorful coffee.

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