Coffee Regions | Where do they grow coffee | Regional Coffee Varietals
But even a novice coffee drinker can tell you that beans from Jamaica's Blue Mountain region taste different from those grown in Colombia or Ethiopia. Many regional coffee varietals are named just for the country where they are grown, but some really excellent coffee regions may have more localized areas and varietals within the country. Here are some of the best coffee regions, and the varietals you can find there. Jamaica The coffee grown in the Blue Mountain region of Jamaica is prized around the world as some of the finest coffee you can buy. It comes from a very small area, and its rarity means its expensive. The taste of Blue Mountain coffee is extremely mild with no traces of bitterness. For those who like a bold, strong cup, Blue Mountain may not be what you need. Hawaii After Blue Mountain, the next most well-known regional coffee variety is probably Kona coffee from the big island of Hawaii. It's grown on the slopes of Hualalai and Mauna Loa where the weather seems to be just right for great coffee. The taste is described as smooth, rich and naturally sweet. Kona blends are common on the coffee market, but that means that the precious Kona beans have been mixed with other varieties (usually Colombian). The flavor isn't as strong, but the price is usually more reasonable. True Kona should be labeled as 100% Kona coffee. Ethiopia Lots of coffee is grown in Ethiopia, and there are actually several named varieties that come from this part of Africa. The two most popular ones are Harar and Yirgacheffe. Harar coffee is grown in eastern Ethiopia, and has a fruity taste with occasional chocolate tones. On the other hand, Yirgacheffe is grown in the south, and has a stronger citrus taste. Colombia Colombian coffee is generally not broken down into smaller regional varieties, and is associated with the brand of Juan Valdez. There is a much larger quantity of coffee that comes out of Colombia, so the prices are not as high as rare varieties like Kona. The taste is strong and rich, with a hint of sweetness and chocolate.
Kenya Like inmost other coffee regions, the mountain slopes are the best place to grow coffee. In this case, it's on Mount Kenya though there are large coffee plantations in other parts of the country. The coffee from Kenya isn't as mellow as some other varietals, and it has a higher acid content making for a very "bright" or tart cup of coffee. Lightly roasted beans are even a little fruity though dark roasts are sweeter. Peaberry Now, peaberry isn't actually a regional coffee varietal, but it's a term so often used with coffee beans that it bears explaining. Coffee plants grow small red fruits called cherries, and the coffee bean is the seed inside each one. Coffee cherries typically have 2 beans in each fruit, but sometimes it will only produce 1. This one seed will be larger than the usual 2, and they are called peaberries. There is only a very subtle difference between peaberry and regular coffee, as the shape usually means peaberry roasts more evenly. These beans are often separated from the others, and sold as premium peaberry coffee in any regional variety.
- Jammie McClure