Get to know coffee beans from around the world
The coffee trade is one of the world’s biggest. More than 2 billion cups per day are consumed and there’s no sign of it slowing down. Most coffee is produced close to the Equator in warm regions of South America, Africa, and Asia.
We sell coffee beans from three of those regions – Central America, South America and Africa.
South American coffee is typically grown at high elevation in the Andes in areas with high humidity. Columbia and Brazil are the biggest exporters, although recently Ecuador and Peru have stepped up their game.
Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of coffee beans, with around 10,000 square miles of plantations – a third of the world’s coffee. Coffee is grown in a variety of settings, from giant fazenda’s (estates) where machine harvesting is the norm, down to tiny smallholder sitio’s(farms) often farmed by one family, and is shipped almost year round. A classic Brazil profile is sweet and mild, with chocolate or nutty flavours.
Colombia, in the northwest, is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world. It produces some of the world’s best coffee, although many Colombians drink instant for their daily fix. Colombia’s ‘Coffee Cultural Landscape’ is a region of fertile coffee production named as a UNESCO World Heritage Area. Coffee from Colombia typically has a medium-bodied, citrus flavour with a caramel aroma, but there;s masses of flavour profiles available. If you were looking to start somewhere, Colombia would be an excellent choice.
Peru’s long history of coffee production has been one of Peru’s long-held secrets, too. However, this historic country is rapidly gaining a good reputation for coffee production, particularly organic and fair trade. Coffee is grown across the country in hundreds of thousands of farms and is usually understated – light-bodied and still full of flavour.
El Salvador, the tiny country nestled between Guatemala, Honduras and the Pacific Ocean, once based its entire economy on coffee growing. Coffee claims major socio-cultural importance in the history of the country, and Salvadoran beans have a bright taste, with sweet, citrus and chocolate flavours.
Neighbouring El Salvador to the north-west, Guatemala borders both the Pacific and Caribbean seas and is known for its ancient Mayan history. The ‘place of many trees’ is also a biodiversity hotspot with a lively coffee trade. Coffee grown in Guatemala is usually full-bodied, with sweet chocolatey and nutty flavours.
From Angola to Zimbabwe, this huge and diverse continent produces some of the world’s best coffee. We sell beans from the following four nations:
Ethiopia is thought to be the spiritual home of the coffee plant, and one of its main global sources. It’s where it’s thought to have first been grown, followed by Kenya in the 19th century. Ethiopian coffee is known for its complex, full-bodied variants, with Yirgacheffe and Sidamo some of the most well-known. Because of the variety it’s hard to define a specific Ethiopian coffee taste – other than being really very good.
Kenya is a beautiful nation on the eastern coast of Africa, straddling the Equator. Its strong economy and natural resources mean it exports a high number of coffee beans and Olympic marathon runners. Most coffee in Kenya is produced by small-scale cooperatives. It’s known for its intense, full-bodied flavour, often with rich tastes of chocolate, fruit and berries, although there’s a huge variety of different regional types.
Rwanda is a small landlocked country in central-east Africa, part of the African Great Lakes region close to the Equator. Coffee is one of Rwanda’s main exports, with its high altitudes and volcanic soils making a superb environment for growing. A Rwandan coffee will generally have a silky, creamy body with floral and citrus notes, and a subtle caramel aftertaste.
Burundi, immediately south of Rwanda, is shaped like a heart – and loves coffee. It has five primary coffee producing regions and over a million people involved in coffee production. And it produces increasingly amazing coffee. Bright, clean flavours are characteristic of Burundi coffees.