Speciality coffee is a higher quality and more complex version of the commodity coffee, and its flavourful beans are produced under specific circumstances in special micro climates. So which countries are the world’s specialty coffee producers, you may ask? And does being a coffee producing country mean that it produces higher quality coffee as well? Well, not necessarily. But here is a list of countries that produce a considerable amount of speciality coffee, along with some interesting information about the characteristics of its coffee.
Ranked the world’s largest coffee producer, Brazil provides mainly Arabica beans using natural and pulped natural processes. Its high quality beans are known for a medium body, low acidity, and nice bitter sweet chocolaty and nutty tastes. The country’s most popular varieties are Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, and Mundo Novo, which are used for high quality espresso blends. Brazil has the most popular and accessible coffees in the world.
Colombian coffee is one of the most recognized worldwide due to its efficient branding. It is grown along three northern Andes mountains in generally small plantations. It is known for its silky taste and a creamy feel due to its mild and balanced body. It also has high acidity, as well as floral and citric flavours.
Due to its excellent coffee growing conditions, Costa Rica certainly produces some of the best coffees in the world. High grown coffees from the mountains of Costa Rica are typically bright, crisp and clean with good body, fruity aroma and high acidity. Notable coffee growing regions include Tarrazu, Tres Rios, Herediá, and Alajuela.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of the Arabica tree and wild coffee cherries are still harvested by tribes people in the mountains. In Eastern Ethiopia is where you will find the Harrar coffee, which is characterized by winy and blueberry undertones, with good body and acidity, as well as the Eastern Gimbi coffee, which has the winy undertones of Harrar, but can be richer, more balanced, and has a heavier body and longer finish. Southern Ethiopia produces washed coffees with fruity acidity and intense aromas.
Some of the world’s finest specialty coffee is produced in the central Highlands of Guatemala in the areas of Antigua, Coban, and Huehuetenango. High quality Guatemalan coffees are generally produced using the wet-process method, and typically have spicy or chocolaty tastes, with medium body and high acidity.
Although Indonesia is the world’s fourth largest producer of coffee, the majority of the crop is Robusta and the amount of specialty coffee is limited. Nonetheless, the Arabica coffees from this region are considered some of the best in the world and are prized for their richness, full body, long finish, earthy aroma and gentle acidity.
Good Indian coffee is grown in the states of Karnatka, Kerala, and Tamilnadu. It is known for its unique spicy flavours of nutmeg, clove, cardamom, and pepper. India also produces monsoon coffee, which is characterized by its lower acidity and enhanced sweetness, making it similar to Indonesian aged coffees.
Kenya has a good reputation for exporting high quality coffee beans, which is generally wet-processed. A single origin Kenya coffee estate, called Estate Kenya, can cost twice as much as regular high quality Kenyan coffee. Estate Kenya coffees are ranked among the finest coffees in the world and are known for having tremendous body, high winy acidity and black-current aroma.
Known for producing the most expensive coffee in the world, the best Blue Mountain coffee can be rare to find since not many coffee sources offer it due to its price. It is generally produced by wet-processes and is characterized by a nutty and earthy aroma, bright acidity, and a unique beef-bouillon like flavour.
Peru is known for producing a mild coffee with medium acidity that is used mostly for blending. Good Peruvian coffee is generally produced high in the Andes in the Chanchamayo and Urubamba Valleys. Northern Peru has become the world’s primary source for high-quality organically grown coffee since it has become one the largest producers of certified organic coffees.
Coffee in Zimbabwe is grown on medium-sized farms and is roughly comparable to coffee from Kenya, although Zimbabwe coffee typically has slightly less acidity. The highest quality coffee in Zimbabwe is grown in the Chipinga region, providing a balanced body with rich flavour, moderate acidity, and good after-taste.
Often used for dark roasts and blending, the Mexican coffee is considered mostly average and produced in low laying regions. However, you will find specialty and high quality coffees produced in in the mountains near the city of Coatepec, in Vera Cruz, in the state of Oaxaca and near the Guatemalan border. Coffees from Mexico are wet processed and tend to have a light body with nutty and chocolaty flavours.