As the world of Specialty Coffee expands, it’s becoming easier to find a fantastic coffee shop that suits your personal needs. We all have our go-tos when it comes to grabbing a coffee on our way to class, or in to the office, but what about when we’re picking up a bag of roasted coffee to brew on our own?
With so many choices, how do we choose? What do we pick? An Ethiopia? A Peru? A Kenya? What are the taste differences between these coffees? If any of these questions have left you scratching your head, have no fear - we’re here to help. Below are flavor profiles for some of the most popular coffee growing regions.
Since we’ll be using some coffee terminology, let’s review a few key terms.
Acidity – the liveliness of coffee. The bright, sharp, and dry characteristics felt in the mouth.
Body – the mouth-feel coffee has in your mouth. Consider the silky-light body of skim milk, versus the heavy, rich body of cream.
Now that we’ve got that covered, on to the coffee!
Mild and light, coffees from Brazil have a low acidity, silky-light body, and tasting notes of chocolate and nuts.
The perfect balance between acidity, bitterness, and sweetness. If you’re unsure of your preferences when it comes to coffee, starting with a Colombia is an ideal way to go. They have a mellow medium body, and nutty undertones compliment their caramel like sweetness.
Coffees from Costa Rica are simple and balanced. They have a bright, medium-high acidity, and a creamy body. Tasting notes of mild citrus fruits and milk chocolate are common.
Washed Ethiopian coffees have a high acidity, and a light silky body. Floral aromas and tasting notes of lemon-lime and dark chocolate often lead to them being described as delicate and tea-like.
Unlike their washed counterparts, natural Ethiopian coffees have a low acidity, and a heavy body. They have a wine-like aroma, and tasting notes of berries and nuts.
With an elegant acidity, and a whole milk like body, Guatemalan coffees are rich and flavorful. A harmonious balance of fruity and sweet exists with these coffees, with tasting notes of citrus and dark chocolate.
Sumatran coffees have a low acidity, a medium-heavy body, and tend to linger in the mouth. Tasting notes of berry and molasses are common, and earthy and smoky notes are desirable to some.
With a high acidity, and a light-medium body, Kenyan Coffees are big, bold, and juicy. They are savoury-sweet, and often tart, which complements their floral aroma.
Coffees from Nicaragua have a creamy medium body, and a medium acidity. They are described as smoothly sweet, and have tasting notes of nuts and milk chocolate.
Mild and sweet, coffees from Peru have a medium acidity and body, and common tasting notes are caramel, milk chocolate, and nuts.
It should be noted that not all coffees within the regions listed above will taste identical. Altitude, varietal, processing, and drying are all factors that influence the coffee’s origin flavor. Coffee roasters play a pivotal role too, as their skills are used to bring out the characteristics that lie within the unroasted coffee bean.
But what about decaf? How does the absence of caffeine affect coffees’ taste? If you’re choosing to forgo the caffeine, you must consider how the coffee was decaffeinated. Swiss Water® Process removes the caffeine, not the taste. By being 100% chemical free, we preserve all the subtle and distinct flavor characteristics of the bean – meaning that you can enjoy great tasting coffee all day long.
Armed with this information, set forth and discover your favorite coffee. If you’re not sure where to start, check out our Where-to-Buy Locator – amazing coffee might be easier to find than you think!