You can literally traverse the tropical countries of the world, sometimes referred to as the Coffee Belt, just by tasting coffee. It is referred to as such because the climate, and its geographical coordinates are suitable for cultivating coffee. Here are some of the coffee producing regions, their notable producing countries and flavours you would expect from their coffees.
African coffees are inherently interesting because Arabica coffee was discovered in Ethiopia. There is a range of flavours you would expect from East African producing nations but the highlights would be the vibrant and sometimes juicy acidity. In most cases, these coffees are roasted light to medium to preserve the acidity while showing off floral nuances and sweet berries.
Notable Countries: Kenya, Ethiopia and Rwanda
Some find Asian coffees exotic while some find them comforting. Due to the geographical spread of these countries, you would expect a spectrum of coffee character. Standout flavours for Asian coffees would be notes of chocolate, herbal and what some coffee experts describe as ‘earthy’. Some of the progressive countries are pushing boundaries by upping the level of the ‘fruit’ in their coffee.
Notable Countries: Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar
Probably our favourite region to discover, explore and drink coffee from. Central American countries are mainly made up of high altitude coffee plantations. Expect the coffees to be balanced and complex, focusing on a variety of flavours. Sometimes you would get apricots and dried fruit. On some coffees, nougat and honeysuckle take center stage.
Notable Countries: Panama, El Salvador, Guatemala
We call these the backbone of our coffees. Started off being base components for your coffee blends, South American countries have shown their depth in flavour and complexity in the recent years with experimental processing and new varietals. Previously described as nutty and cocoa, coffees coming out from this part of the world are blowing our minds with tropical fruit and flowers that would impress any botanist.
Notable Countries: Brazil, Colombia