Coffee is grown in over 50 countries around the World, with its origins traced back to Africa in the 10th century. Since then, it has spread across the globe in what is now known as the “bean belt”. Today, coffee is more than just a beverage – it is a cultural phenomenon with a rich history and a variety of flavors to explore.
Deciding which country has the best coffee is no simple task. It’s not as straightforward as picking the world’s top football player based on their performance statistics
On the other hand, deciding which countries produce the best coffee is a complex matter that depends on subjective preferences that can vary greatly from person to person. Some prefer a bitter brew, while others prefer a tangy, acidic cup. The aroma and texture of the beans also play significant roles in determining their appeal. Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to coffee – it all boils down to personal taste.
In short, there are many different qualities to grade a cup of coffee, and most of them are subjective, so it’s very hard to agree on which coffee is the best. But we all agree that the taste should not be burnt, overly bitter, or sour, and it should have a decent aroma.
Some countries are known to produce higher-quality coffee than others because of their geographical characteristics. First, I will discuss the qualities of the best coffee, and later I will list the best coffee countries in the World.
What are the qualities of the best coffee?
Professional coffee tasters or cuppers define the quality of coffee based on the following ten characteristics.
- Aroma: The Aroma is an enticing invitation to enjoy its delicious and flavorful taste. When coffee is freshly brewed, it gives off a warm and comforting scent that wakes up your senses. The smell of coffee is directly related to its flavor, as a rich and full-bodied cup will have a delightful and satisfying aroma, whereas a tangy and acidic one will have fruity and wine-like notes.
- Flavor: The combined effects of sensation felt by the taste buds after taking a sip defines the flavor profile of coffee. Beans from some regions have dominant citrus flavors, while some have dominant bitter flavors. The perfect balance of both is considered to be ideal.
- Aftertaste: Aftertaste is the sensations felt in the mouth after drinking coffee. The coffee is graded good if it has a pleasant and long-lasting aftertaste and poorly graded if it has a displeasing or overly bitter aftertaste.
- Acidity: Acidity gives life to a cup of coffee, and it is known as brightness when balanced. Without acidity, the taste is very dull and flat but also the highly acidic coffee is known as sour and certainly not desirable. Geographical location and soil conditions have a significant impact on the acidity of beans.
- Body: The body is the taste and texture felt by the mouth after sipping coffee. A full-bodied cup of coffee is thick, heavy, and oily. On the other hand, thin-bodied coffee is water-like and has fewer oils and flavors.
- Uniformity: Uniformity refers to smoothness and consistency in the taste of coffee. The taste and flavor profile of good-quality coffee beans should be uniform and consistent.
- Sweetness: Sweetness is the desirable quality in the taste of coffee, and it represents the presence of certain carbohydrates in the beans. Coffee beans from some regions have a high amount of carbohydrates, making them sweet and preferable.
- Defects: Defects are negative aspects of coffee beans. Too many variations in the size and color of coffee beans and too much moisture are referred to as negative qualities of beans. The defects result in unpleasant flavors and displeasing aftertaste.
- Balance: The overall taste of the coffee should be balanced. It must not be too much acidic or bitter.
These qualities are not absolute; in the end, it all comes down to personal preference. It is likely that one quality is preferred by some individuals and hated by others.
What country has the best coffee?
Ethiopia the birthplace of coffee is the place where the best coffee is grown. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is famous in the World for its unique qualities and flavorful aroma.
The final taste of coffee depends on so many factors such as soil chemistry, weather conditions, average rainfall, growing conditions, types of seeds, and the altitude above sea level.
Even the same coffee tree grown in different regions will not produce the same type of beans because of different geographical factors.
The best quality coffee beans are grown in tropical regions near the equator known as the “bean belt .”
Let’s take a look at the list of the top 6 countries that produce the best coffee in the World
1. Ethiopia – The birthplace of Coffee
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and the fifth largest coffee producer in the World.
Coffee grown in Ethiopia is well known for its bright mouthfeel and fruity flavors. Generally, the coffee beans of Ethiopia are mild to high in acidity with a medium body.
There are three regions in Ethiopia where the best coffee comes from: Yirgacheffe, Sidamo, and Harar.
The coffee from Yirgacheffe is rated as the highest quality Arabica beans. These coffee beans have a fruity and flavorful aroma, medium body, and well-balanced flavors.
Sidamo region is well known for producing full-bodied and rich coffee beans. Unlike the Yirgacheffe region, the coffee beans from Sidamo are very low in acidity.
One of the best quality coffee beans is grown in the Harrar region of Ethiopia. These coffee beans are full-bodied and can deliver a spicy and intense taste with a fragrant savor.
Regardless of the region, the sweetness, fruity flavors, and presence of the natural carbohydrates in the coffee beans from Ethiopia make it the country with the best-tasting coffee Worldwide.
Ethiopian coffee beans will be the best option for you if you are trying to give up milk and sugar because of their natural sweetness.
The ideal altitude and weather conditions make Kenya one of the great coffee producing regions in the World.
Kenyan coffee has similar fruity notes to Ethiopian coffee but has a relatively heavier body.
Kenya’s volcanic soil and high altitude are well-suited for producing Arabica coffee.
Coffee beans in Kenya are generally wet-processed after harvesting, making them fruitier and more acidic.
Good Kenyan coffee has well-balanced and delicate flavor notes with a winey and fruity aftertaste.
Most of the coffee is grown in the Central region of the country. Coffee is a major export and contributes a lot to the Kenyan economy.
Colombia is an incredible place to grow coffee. There are many small coffee farms across the country, and Colombia is the third biggest exporter of Coffee Worldwide.
The elevation, average rainfall, and temperature of Colombia are perfect for growing high-quality coffee beans.
Colombian Farmers take pride in growing coffee and are constantly making improvements to make better quality beans.
The major problem with the Colombian coffee industry is the difficult terrain across the country, making it difficult to transport across the country and export.
Premium Arbaica Beans are grown in Colombia that have a medium body and delivers a satisfying mouthfeel, while their fresh aroma is infused with fruity and citrus notes that tantalize the taste buds.
“Supremo” is Colombia’s highest quality coffee bean, known for its rich, intense, and full-bodied flavors. Although relatively more expensive than regular coffee beans, the unique taste and savor of Supremo make it worth the indulgence.
4. Brazil – Top coffee producer in the World
Brazil is the largest coffee producer and the mass production makes up around one-third of the World’s total coffee supply.
There are many large coffee farms across the country, and unlike Colombia, Brazil has a good infrastructure for transporting tons of coffee across the country and Worldwide.
Brazil’s climate conditions and elevation are perfect for mass coffee production. Both Arabica and Robusta beans are grown in Brazil.
Some coffee professionals may argue that Brazil only focuses on quantity rather than quality. But it’s the fact that Coffee from Brazil is loved around the World.
And it’s also a fact that Brazil is a vast country with a huge amount of land available for farming. There are seven coffee growing regions in Brazil that differ slightly in the taste and quality of coffee. So, we can say that all Brazilian coffee isn’t the same.
You can find all varieties and types of coffee beans in Brazil. But generally, Brazilian coffee is low in acidity with a slight bittersweet aftertaste.
5. Costa Rica
The volcanic soil, high altitude, and favorable weather conditions of Costa Rica produce one of the best coffee beans in the World.
There are small family-owned coffee farms across the country. 100% premium Arabica beans are grown on these farms and wet-processed after harvesting.
The distinct quality of Costa Rican coffee beans is their sharp taste and medium body, making a perfectly balanced flavor profile.
6) Veitnam – Best for the Robusta
Although, Robusta beans are not considered as good as Arabica beans because they have a harsher and more bitter taste, with higher levels of caffeine and lower levels of acidity.
While they may not have the delicate flavors and complexity of Arabica beans, Robusta beans are still an essential component of many coffee blends and are appreciated by those who enjoy a more robust coffee taste.
Robusta is also an essential component of Authentic Italian Espresso and Specialty coffee drinks as it produces a better crema layer.
Robusta beans are often grown at lower elevations and in warmer climates, primarily in Asian countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and Thailand.
Vietnam is one of the world’s largest producers of Robusta coffee, and also they are often regarded as the best in Robusta production.
The country’s warm and humid climate, coupled with its fertile soil and ideal growing conditions, makes it an excellent environment for cultivating Robusta kind of coffee.
What is the most expensive coffee?
Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee around the World. It is mostly produced in Indonesia and is famous for its unique taste and processing method.
Kopi Luwak is produced by Asian palm civets. The red cherries of coffee are eaten, digested, and defecated by Civets. Then the coffee farmers collect these cherries and pass them through regular washing and processing.
Kopi Luwak has a unique taste because of two facts.
- Palm Civet only chooses the best green coffee cherries to eat.
- The digestive enzymes of civets do the magic while breaking down the coffee bean.
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