Looking for a great cup of coffee? Zach’s got you covered.
This is a guest post by Zach Parkes.
Coffee is grown in numerous countries all across the globe. Different countries and continents have such a range of coffee growing conditions, it should come as no surprise that there is an enormous variety in coffee beans! With a seemingly infinite amount of different beans available, it can be tough to know which are worth your while! Have no fear, I’m here to help you navigate through the wide world of coffee. Here are my picks for the best coffee from each continent!
Ethiopia, Africa is widely considered to be the birthplace of coffee. The continent where it all began has a number of countries that produce a significant amount of coffee. Ethiopia, Tanzania and Kenya are the most well know, but Uganda and Ivory Coast also are large players in the coffee game!
Africa is a large and biodiverse continent, and is therefore home to numerous distinct coffee growing regions. Most of Africa experiences an ideal climate for growing coffee, as the temperatures remain consistently warm.
There is no one way to describe African coffee as a whole, because there are so many unique origins that bring something different to the table. That being said, you can probably expect an African coffee to have at least a few of the following traits:
- Rich & full bodied
- Fruity, sometimes floral aroma
- Notes of wine, berries and citrus fruits
- Medium to bright acidity
It’s a tough choice, but if I had to choose one, I would say the best African coffee is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Carrying a very high reputation among coffee drinkers, Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is serious treat. This is a complex cup of coffee with notes of fruit and wine, and a pleasantly bright bite. If you’ve never experienced Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee, I highly recommend it!
I have to give an honorable mention to Tanzanian Peaberry coffee too, another favorite of mine and a close second for the best African coffee title.
Asia is home to an extremely diverse collection of climates and coffee growing conditions. There are many different islands, each of which have their own combination of weather conditions, volcanoes and variable altitudes.
Vietnam produces the second most coffee in the world, the vast majority being Robusta beans. (International Coffee Organization) You are probably more accustomed to Arabica beans, as Robusta beans are more commonly used in instant coffees and blends.
Being that it is comprised of a number of islands, Indonesia is really the epitome of diversity when it comes to growing conditions within a single country. Indonesian coffee has an esteemed reputation, and for good reason! You can expect an Indonesian coffee to be something like this;
- Rich & full bodied
- Notes of chocolate and ripe fruit
- Often contains some earthy character
- Low acidity
It probably will not come as a surprise that my pick for the best coffee from Asia is an Indonesian coffee! There are many good Indonesia coffees to pick from, but for me, Bali Blue Moon edges out the competition. Bali Blue moon coffee balances dark chocolate, vanilla and spice with some earthy character and a low acidity. I couldn’t recommend it more!
North/Central American Coffee
Okay, so the majority of North American coffee actually comes from Central America, with Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica being the major players. Jamaica is also well known for their highly reputed Blue Mountain coffee.
Central America benefits from ideal coffee growing conditions, including rich, nutrient filled soils, warm weather and plenty of rain. You can expect a Central American coffee to have at least a few of these characteristics;
- Smooth & balanced
- Sweet aroma
- Notes of fruit, spice and citrus
- Fruity or wine-toned acidity
It’s pretty hard to pick against Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee for the best coffee of North America, it’s considered by many to be the best coffee in the world! Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is silky smooth, rich and creamy with notes of chocolate. The only downside is that it’s quite pricey! This is a great coffee for special occasions.
Europe does not grow a significant amount of coffee due a lack of ideal conditions. But this does not mean that Europe has not made a significant impact in the world of coffee. You are probably familiar with French, Italian and Spanish roast coffee. The roasting process is an extremely important part of making a great cup of coffee, and you can thank Europe for perfecting some of these processes!
Europeans take their coffee seriously, and they definitely know how to make a seriously good cup. Any time you want to taste what Europe has to offer, get yourself a French or Italian roast!
Okay so things get a little blurry here, you’ll see what I mean. Hawaii is part of the United States… but is geographically part of Polynesia… which is part of Oceania.
To be honest, regardless of which continent you’d like to assign Hawaii to, Hawaiian Kona coffee is going to the pick for the best coffee of the continent. You’ve probably heard of Kona coffee before. If you haven’t you should really check it out.
Hawaiian Kona coffees usually have a mild, fruity acidity and sweet taste. There are often hints of fruit, wine, nuts, spices or chocolate. Kona coffee beans come with a sizeable price tag, so it’s definitely not an every day coffee. Every coffee drinker should try Kona beans at some point in their life!
South America is home to the first and third highest coffee producers in the world, Brazil and Colombia respectively. (International Coffee Organization) Coffee growth in South American countries benefit immensely from conditions created by the vast mountainous ranges that stretch throughout the continent. High altitude, rich soil and ideal climates aid in the production of both quantity and quality of South American coffee beans.
South American offers a wide variety of coffee flavor profiles, but there are a few key aspects that you can expect to consistently find;
- Relatively mild, smooth
- Caramel-toned sweetness
- Notes of chocolate, nuts and fruit
- Citric acidity
Colombian Supremo coffee follows these guidelines quite closely, and is my pick for the best coffee from South America. What most people consider to be the taste of coffee in general, is the taste of Colombian coffee, that’s how prolific it is.
You might be wondering, what does Supremo mean? It’s more than just a name, it’s actually a reference to the Colombian coffee bean grading system. Supremo is the highest grade! These beans are sorted to include only the biggest and best!
It’s very difficult to pick the best coffee from any one country, let alone a whole continent. The only way to be sure of which coffee is really the best, is to try as many as you can for yourself! If you haven’t explored the extensive world of coffee yet, you have quite an adventure ahead of you. Best of luck, and enjoy!
About the author: Zach Parkes is a writer for Try New Coffee, which provides a collection of in depth profiles for different coffees from around the world. We provide all of the details needed to help you find a new coffee that sounds right for you!