Courtesy of Kenneth Davids, 21st Century Coffee: A Guide
Anyone who reads a newspaper is aware of how arbitrary the concept of nation-state can be. National boundaries often divide people who are similar, and cram together those who are different. A Canadian from Vancouver has considerably more in common culturally with an American from across the border in Seattle than with a fellow Canadian from across the continent in Quebec, for example.
The concept of country often plays a similarly practical, yet arbitrary and misleading role in coffee connoisseurship. Countries tend to be large, and coffee-producing practices within countries may vary widely.
Ethiopia coffee that is dried, fruit and all, on mats in front of little thatched houses will necessarily taste very different from the same coffee from the same trees processed by a large Ethiopian cooperative mill using the classic wet or washed method. Coffee produced from one tree of a distinctive-tasting tree variety will very likely taste different from coffee produced from another tree of a different variety, even when the trees are grown close together on the same farm.
On the other hand, coffees produced from the same varieties of tree using roughly the same processing methods and grown at roughly the same elevations above sea level may taste rather similar regardless of where in the world they are grown. There may be more similarity between a high-grown, wet-processed Arabica from hybrid trees in India and a high-grown, wet-processed Arabica from hybrid trees in Honduras than there is, say,
between a wet-processed Arabica and a dry-processed Arabica from the same farm in either country.
Nevertheless, the notion of generally labeling coffee by country of origin is inevitable and well established. Coffee Review generally categorizes coffees into six broad geographic origins: Africa (including Yemen), Asia/Pacific, Central America (including Mexico), South America, Hawaii, and the Caribbean. Within these categories, with the exception of Hawaii, we further identify coffees and reviews by the country in which they are grown.
To find reviews and learn more about coffee origins, click on the links below:
Coffee from Africa (including Yemen)
Some of the world’s most distinctive coffees are grown in East Africa along a long north-south axis that starts at the southern tip of the Arabian peninsula in Yemen and concludes roughly in Zimbabwe in southern Africa, along the way encompassing the highlands of Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, and several less prominent origins.
Click on the links below to view Africa coffee ratings and reviews and learn more about coffee from countries in Africa:
Coffee from Hawaii
Hawaii coffee and Kona coffee are so well known, distinct, and popular among U.S. consumers that Hawaii is often categorized as its own origin. Click on the link below to view Hawaii coffee ratings and reviews and learn more about coffee from Hawaii.
Coffee from Central America
The Central America and Mexico growing regions traditionally share certain broad similarities in traditional coffee production and cup character. Almost all coffee grown is Arabica. It is almost always grown at medium to high elevations, usually from traditional, though not particularly distinctive-tasting, tree varieties. Click on the links below to learn more about coffee from countries in Central America:
Coffees from South America
South American coffee origins neatly divide into the Andean west of the continent and the Brazilian east. In the west, a string of coffee-producing countries stretches along the Andes mountains parallel to the Pacific — Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia — while in the east, toward the Atlantic, stretch the vast hills and plateaus of that massive, singular producer Brazil. Click on the links below to learn more about coffee from countries in South America:
Coffee from Asia/Pacific
The best-known and most distinctive Asia/Pacific coffee origins are grown in the Malay Archipelago, that chain of often enormous islands that make up the nations of Indonesia, Timor and Papua New Guinea. Click on the links below to learn more about coffee origins in the Asia/Pacific region:
Coffee from the Caribbean
At various moments in history, coffee from the Caribbean – particularly those originating on Haiti, Puerto Rico and Jamaica — have experienced episodes of both commercial success and gourmet prestige. Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee continues to be one of the world’s more celebrated coffees. Click on the links below to learn more about coffee origins in the Caribbean: