The coffee we enjoy today is a culmination of hundreds of years of brewing, planting and experimenting with soil nutrients, climate and flavour.
A ‘single origin’ coffee is born of only one soil in one location, however, blended coffee is the combination of two or more coffee bean locations which makes it more difficult to be certain which flavours you’re going to get. Single origin coffee is usually more expensive, and for good reason.
Knowing where your coffee comes from can ensure you get the flavour that’s right for you, whether it’s dark and nutty or mellow and rich.
Ethiopia is, according to legend, the birthplace of coffee. The story claims that a goat herder called Kaldi discovered the intriguing bean when he noticed his goats got over excited and suffered insomnia after feeding on a particular type of tree. The story spread and soon coffee was the drink on everyone’s lips.
Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania all have distinct coffee flavours of their own, however, Ethiopian coffee is often favoured as the true home of coffee due to its wild coffee plants, which offer a wide variety of tastes and aromas. The coffee of Africa is often described as incredibly fragrant with floral and fruity notes.
Southern and Central America are notorious for their love of coffee. Brazil is the single largest producer of coffee and provides 25% of United States coffee all by itself. Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia are also keen coffee growers and each has its own flavour.
Overall South American coffee is mild and light, though Colombian coffee tends to be sweeter and less acidic than Brazilian, which tends to produce a chocolatey and creamier brew. Bolivian coffee offers a fruity and aromatic quality, which has notes of pear, tangerine and lemon. Central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador produce a very balanced coffee with a mixture of smooth and sweet flavours.
India, Indonesia and the Philippines provide a pot of joe defined by its dark colour and earthy flavour. Often a reaction of extremes, you’ll either be a lover or a hater of this distinguished brew of rich coffee.
The beans are more complex than their Southern and Central American counterparts and tend to be far less acidic and even savoury in flavour. For something full-bodied, intense and willing to take you on a caffeinated journey into the unknown, a bean born from the soil of Sumatra, Java, Sulawesi or Yemen is for you.
Decaf coffee often lacks the care and consideration of its caffeinated counterpart. Decaf is, however, the best option for many coffee lovers including; pregnant women, sufferers of heart conditions and anxiety disorders.
For the best beans that retain that full-bodied flavour minus the midnight jitters, it’s the process of decaffeination that you need to be concerned with, as many traditional methods use a solvent to extract the caffeine, often diminishing the flavour in the process.
For a tastier treat, the Swiss Water® process is on the up as it avoids using chemicals and focuses on retaining the dignity of the bean, meaning you can enjoy your morning without any bitterness.