"Behind the Bean"—What a Coffee’s Origin Says About Its Taste

So, light, dark, medium … medium dark? For a good while, coffee has been thought of largely in terms of how it is roasted—and certainly, roasting is a big deal. However, in the age of coffee pluralism, where local shops and independent farmers will put everything on the line to bring special beans grown to very particular standards to the market place, it’s well worth exploring the flavors these dedicated people worked to capture in their prized coffees.

 

Coffee roasting and selection of beans are two factors that have an enormous impact on the flavor of the cups they yield. However, there is a point in the roasting process where these factors converge—put simply, after a certain point, the roast begins diminish the amount of the actual regional flavor you taste in your beans.

 
Dark coffee roasts like French, Italian, and Espresso roasts are delicious, but generally show very little of the flavor of the bean

 

Now, this isn’t to say at all that French or Italian roasts can’t make for absolutely magnificent cups of coffee—especially after dinner—but it is to say that you’re generally tasting much less of the inherent flavors nature sealed in the beans, and there’s a lot of good stuff in there—wondrously unique things you’d never imagine tasting in a cup of coffee. Going for a lighter roast can still mean a very complex and lively cup of coffee, and maybe one that brings you a little closer to its origins.

 

While there are additional factors in the post-harvesting process that can also affect a coffee’s characteristics (drying process, aging, etc.), there are many attributes that generally hold consistent in coffees from different geographic areas. We encourage you to explore them all!

 

Guatemalan Coffee Farmer examining coffee cherries

 

Central American:

 

One of our favorites regions at One World Roasters—even in fairly light roasts, Dominicans, Hondurans, and Guatemalans showcase some truly delightful dessert-like flavors of caramel, cocoa, and brown sugar. Furthermore, coffees grown in coastal areas of these countries can take on slight hints of oceanic saltiness, which balances wonderfully with the aforementioned flavors.

 

Try one: For breakfast or after dinner—These smooth, mild acidity coffees draw you in with their pleasing sweet flavors and pair very nicely with breakfast foods or desserts. 

 

A Colombian coffee farmer tossing beans as they roast

South American:

 

You might call them the “jack of all trades!” The wildly popular South American coffees some might say taste the most like the what we generally think of as the “coffee flavor,” but to stop there wouldn’t do them any justice. In Columbians caramel, nut, and dried fruit flavors come to the fore, while deep chocolate and spice cascade over the palate in Brazilians.

 

Try one: Any time really. These coffees are generally medium bodied with rich mouth feel and light acidity, making them great for breakfast wake up calls, but versatile enough to pair nicely with food.

 

Ethiopian coffee farmers inspecting collected cherries

African:

 

Citrus, berries, and flowers? These definitely aren’t flavors most would associate with their standard cup of joe, but these are the very flavors you may find yourself relishing in the renowned Ethiopian and Kenyan coffee varieties. There are many subtleties that exist between and among coffees of these regions, but in general the acidic soil and proximity of the coffee beans to other fruits and plants creates bright, complex, and refreshing coffees that can truly tantalize the taste buds!

 

Try one for: A morning/afternoon break. African coffees can be delicious with a little milk or served black, as is traditionally done in the Ethiopian coffee ceremony. The characteristic fruitiness and floral notes can also make for vibrant ice coffees.

 

Indonesian coffee farmer preparing to transport coffee cherries

Asian:

 

While Vietnam is certainly a large coffee grower, Indonesian Arabica coffees are the ones that get the attention. Perhaps a little more of an acquired taste, these rich, volcanic-earthy, and non acidic coffees may take a little time to cozy up to for the casual drinker, but their savory complexity can truly enchant.

 

Try one for: Afternoon “pick me up”—these are bold coffees best enjoyed by themselves. Their flavors are rich and unusual, and can make for a nice departure from the coffee norm.

 

Exploring New Territory: If you’ve grown accustomed to the smoky, dark flavors of the heavier roasts (many of which have quite a presence in the coffee shop and restaurant worlds), we encourage you to explore the lighter or medium roasted versions of coffees from world regions you haven’t tried before! See where your "spirit coffee" resides!

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One World Roasters
967 North High St,
East Haven CT 06512

United States
Phone: 1.203.376.1589

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