For coffee lovers, exploring the diverse world of coffee is a thrilling journey filled with rich flavours, unique aromas, and unexpected surprises. But, when tasting the finest coffee the world has to offer, how does the location affect it? The short answer is a lot.
Many factors influence how the location of coffee impacts the taste, but one fascinating aspect is the altitude at which it’s grown and the climate in which it thrives.
In this guide from speciality coffee company Howden Coffee, we’ll delve into the world of coffee, exploring how altitude and climate impact its taste while traversing continents to uncover the distinct flavour profiles of coffee from Central America, Africa, and Asia.
Altitude and Climate
Before we embark on our global coffee tour, let’s understand the significance of altitude and climate on the coffee we savour. High-altitude regions, typically above 2,000 feet, provide an ideal environment for growing premium coffee beans. The lower oxygen levels and cooler temperatures slow down the maturation process, allowing the beans to develop more complex flavours.
Conversely, the climate plays a pivotal role in shaping the taste of coffee. Factors like temperature, rainfall, and humidity can dramatically affect the beans’ flavour profile. Now, let’s explore how these elements come together to create unique coffee experiences around the world.
Central America stands as a powerhouse in the world of coffee production, with countries like Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Nicaragua producing some of the finest beans.
The high-altitude plantations in this region contribute to a bright acidity, a full-bodied profile, and notes of citrus and chocolate. The volcanic soil prevalent in Central America adds an extra layer of complexity to the coffee, resulting in a brew that’s as dynamic as the landscapes from which it hails.
Africa, often considered the birthplace of coffee, boasts a rich history intertwined with aromatic beans. Countries like Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania are renowned for their unique coffee profiles. Ethiopian coffee, for example, is celebrated for its wine-like acidity, floral notes, and vibrant fruitiness.
The diverse climates across the continent, ranging from the high plateaus to the lush lowlands, contribute to the plethora of flavours found in African coffees.
India and Asia
In the heart of Asia, coffee finds a distinct character influenced by the region’s diverse cultures and landscapes. India, known for its Monsoon Malabar beans, offers a brew with low acidity, a full body, and an unmistakable spicy undertone.
In Asia, each country brings its own unique flair to the coffee scene, from the earthy and bold Indonesian coffee to the bright and floral Thai brews.
Why Coffee is Grown Around the Equator
As we travel the globe exploring coffee’s diverse flavours, you may note that beans are predominantly grown around the equator. This is because the equatorial belt provides the perfect conditions for coffee cultivation, with consistent temperatures, abundant rainfall, and a lack of frost.
Coffee plants thrive in this tropical zone, ensuring a year-round growing season and producing the flavorful beans that have captivated our palates for centuries.
From the picturesque landscapes of Central America to the historic coffee fields of Africa and the irresistible brews of Asia, each region contributes a unique chapter to the global coffee story.
So, the next time you sip your favourite brew, take a moment to savour not just the flavours but the journey these beans undertook to reach your cup, connecting you to the rich tapestry of coffee culture worldwide.