While all coffee beans fall into two basic kinds of beans, Arabica and Robust, there are a myriad of different flavors that can occur based on the location and roast of the bean. While robust beans typically make up the majority of instant and off brand generic ground coffees, most coffee aficionados will appreciate coffees derived from Arabica beans. Arabica beans are grown all over the world and while they are more sensitive to weather and disease, they also produce a fuller bodied, more complex coffee with less bitterness. If you’re a coffee lover, you’ll want to branch out and try a few of these coffees, grown in various origins around the world that provide a tasting experience not to be missed.
Jamaican Blue Mountain
This bean, grown only in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, is famous for its mild flavor and smooth, chocolaty finish. It is typically roasted in small batches as a medium roast, which brings out the flavor without any bitter aftertaste. While it was wildly popular as an exotic offering several years ago, prices have fallen and you can usually find this coffee on the shelf at your local grocery store at a fairly reasonable price. Sip away and roll the lush topical mountains of the Caribbean under your tongue.
While Africa might not immediately come to mind when you consider coffee, Ethiopia is actually the origin of the Arabica bean. Ethiopian beans have gained in popularity in recent years and have become big business for the African nation. There are three basic types of Ethiopian beans- longberry, shortberry and mocha. While critics disagree about which is best, all are likely worthy of sampling if you’re looking for a stronger brew with a heavy body and a fragrant aroma. Most drinkers prefer a medium roast to balance the coffee and bring out the fruity or peppery notes in the flavor. This is a bean that you’ll find in swanky coffee houses or the homes of hipsters, riding high on a wave of recent critical acclaim.
This bean, from the tropical island of Indonesia, has long been hailed as the most coveted among coffee lovers. It has a very particular, robust flavor with plenty of acidity and complexity. Most enjoy it as a dark roast but it can be inaccessible in terms of a taste profile for the average coffee drinker. Ease into this one slowly by sampling other lighter or medium bodied coffees before you taken on this infamous brew. At some point in your coffee experience, you’ll appreciate the earthy, oily profile Sumatra offers.
This coffee bean comes originally from Panama, where it first was grown in the 60s and has since developed a cult following. Some roasters refer to it as the “holy grail” of the coffee world. It is extremely rare and difficult to grow, so it garners a high price tag and can be hard to track down. Look to specialty shops and small batch roasters to provide this incredible bean that is usually prepared as a lighter roast to avoid damaging the delicate flavors, which contain citrus notes with floral accents.
Similar to Sumatra, this bean begins its life as an Indonesia native, but with a interesting twist. Kopi Luwak refers to beans that have been harvested from the feces of an Indonesia cat called the civet cat. Once eaten, these beans undergo a process within the animal’s stomach that is the source of this coffee’s unique taste. It is referred to as the most expensive coffee in the world and rightly so since it typically fetches upwards of a hundred dollars per pound. Again, this is a coffee that should be enjoyed as a lighter roast since the more sensitive properties of the beans will be destroyed by a darker roast method. Certainly a coffee tasting experience caffeine junkies will want to add to their bucket list.
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