While coffee can only be made from two types of beans (Arabica or Robusta), the growing conditions of the coffee beans have a tremendous effect on the flavor of the coffee. Most of the world’s coffee market comes from three main coffee-growing regions: Arabia/Africa, Central/South America and the Pacific. Each region lends certain recognizable flavors, body and aromas to its coffee.
Coffee-growing Regions: Arabia and Africa
Coffee grown in Arabia and Africa is typically planted in dark, rich soil at the ideal altitude for raising coffee crops. The Arabica coffee bean actually originated in Ethiopia, and the region has been producing coffee for more than 1,000 years. Specific regions within this area–and the coffee they typically produce–include:
- Ethiopia: Full-bodied, medium-roast coffee with mild to medium acidity
- Kenya: Medium- to dark-roast coffee with medium body and high acidity
- Tanzania: Medium- to dark-roast coffee with rich flavor
- Yemen: Medium-roast coffee with a fragrant aroma.
Coffee-growing Regions: Americas
Many countries in the Caribbean and Central and South America grow and harvest coffee beans. Specific regions within this area–and the coffee they typically produce–include:
- Brazil: Medium- to dark-roast coffee with a spicy-sweet flavor
- Colombia: Medium-roast coffee with strong acidity and rich flavor
- Costa Rica: Medium- to dark-roast coffee with a full body and fragrant aroma
- Guatemala: Medium- to dark-roast coffee with a smoky, almost chocolatey flavor
- Haiti: Dark-roast coffee with a rich flavor.
Coffee-growing Regions: Pacific
The high mountains and tropical climates of the Pacific create ideal coffee-growing conditions. Three of the most famous types of coffee are native to this region:
- Java: From Indonesia, Java is an acidic, medium roast with a spicy aroma and a smoky flavor.
- Kona: Kona coffee is grown in Hawaii. It’s a medium- to light-roast coffee with a fragrant aroma and a rich, winey flavor.
- Sumatra: Sumatra coffee comes from Indonesia. Sumatran coffee is a dark roast with a velvety feel, smoky aroma and exotic, earthy flavor.