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Why is a Coffee Bean from Brazil Bitter, while a Coffee Bean from Ethiopia is Sour?

This is a fact. The same Arabica brought from different countries has a completely different taste. With your mind you realize that it's just coffee, but in one cup the drink smells like fruit and berries, and in the other it gives off cocoa and bitter notes. Why does this happen and how will you decide on your favorite variety?

The same Arabica from different countries has a completely different taste.

Variety, terror, collection and processing methods

More than 90 species of coffee trees are known in nature, but only Arabica, Robusta, and in some countries (for example, Malaysia) Liberica are used to obtain the drink loved by millions. As a rule, however, when we say "coffee" we mean Arabica. But there is already complete anarchy among the varieties, because almost every producer country has its own coffee varieties.

In addition to variety, taste difference is influenced by terroir, which is a combination of natural characteristics of the region, soil, and climate. Despite the fact that trees in each country grow in different conditions, experts note that woody notes prevail in coffee in the hot-climate Asian region, fruity notes and acidity in Africa, and Chocolate and Hazelnut in South America.

More than 90 species of coffee trees are known in nature.

The next criterion for creating flavor is the collection method. For example, in Brazil, the world leader in the cultivation and sale of coffee (the country provides a third of the entire world market), they practice stripping (hand picking of all fruit on one branch, regardless of maturity), partially mechanized manual picking and harvesting by coffee harvesters. And "mass-market"-grade coffee turns out to be bitter and strong. By contrast, consider Jamaica, where the grains of the famous Jamaican Mountain Blue are harvested by selecting only the ripest fruit from its branch.

The processing method can also accentuate the coffee's natural qualities (or spoil them if chosen incorrectly). Dry processing, traditional for Africa, adds sweetness and tartness to the fruit when the grains are sun-dried along with the pulp of the fruit. "Wet" means high acidity and balanced flavor, while "half-washed" or "honey" successfully combines the advantages of both methods and gives a creamy body and honey sweetness.

Which coffee to choose?

Brazil - strong, rich taste with notes of hazelnut, spice and cocoa. He pronounced bitterness. In general, Brazil is for those who prefer "coffee like coffee" for breakfast: have your meal and cheer up.

Ethiopia is the reference coffee, the coffee that started it all. Slightly acidic, sweet, fruity, berry. A drink for those who have tried everything and decided to "go back to the roots".

Don't be afraid to experiment by mixing coffees from different countries.

Vietnam - Robusta for strong souls. Almost no Arabica is grown in Vietnam, where the region is not so rich in flavor, but incredibly caffeinated Arabica. Ideal for those who open their eyes after just a cup of coffee in the morning (it is not spoiled by milk or sugar).

Costa Rica - full bodied and rich flavor, cherry acidity and reduced caffeine content. Coffee for meetings during the day, evening get-togethers and a good mood, but not to your mind right away.

Colombia - for connoisseurs of velvety enveloping taste and bright lemon tartness. Like products from Ethiopia, this coffee is for lovers who have learned to distinguish subtleties.

Kenya - citrus fruits, apples and red berries. Coffee for lovers of pronounced acidity and freshness. It is even more surprising to find vanilla, cigars and warm pastries in the mouthfeel. Overall, coffee is a great option to broaden your horizons.

Indonesia is a place for experimentation (and we're not talking about Kopi Luwak!). Mainly strong Robusta is grown in the country, but Arabica is also available. Coffee from Sumatra has bitter woody notes and chocolate flavor, Arabica from Java has a light floral aroma, and coffee beans from Bali have fruity, lemon and orange tones.

Can you mix coffee from different countries?

Possible and necessary. The most classic example is an espresso blend of 85% Arabica and 15% Robusta, for which Arabica is responsible for flavor, and espresso for strength and stable crema.

All blends fall into 2 categories: Arabica blends from different regions and Arabica and Robusta blends (sometimes with the addition of Liberica for flavor). However, the exact recipes of the manufacturers are usually kept confidential. However, anyone can experiment in the kitchen and create a mix to their liking.


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