The Characteristics of Latin American Coffee Beans
In spite of its popularity, many of us know very little about the origins of our favourite hot drink. We might have a vague notion of the richness of Costa Rican coffee or the distinctive taste of Columbian, but that’s generally about as far as it goes. So where do coffee beans come from, and what are the characteristics of the coffee grown in each region?
This three-part blog series will look at some of the biggest coffee producers around the world, starting with Latin America.
South American Coffee Characteristics
South America’s high altitudes and volcanic soil make it an ideal region for growing Arabica beans. Countries such as Brazil, Columbia and Peru are famed for the balanced flavours and lack of bitterness to their coffee beans, making them some of the biggest producers in the world. The beans are generally highly versatile, and can be used in a mild roast to bring out a bright, slightly tangy sweetness or in an espresso roast to introduce delicious chocolaty tones.
We recommend: Cafedirect Machu Picchu Coffee Beans – These 100% Arabica coffee beans are grown at a high altitude in the Andes, giving a delicious, smooth tasting cup of coffee. They have fine, dark chocolate overtones for a rich and indulgent brew, and are also fair trade and organically grown so you can enjoy your cuppa with a clear conscience.
Central American Coffee Characteristics
Most of Central America rests on the Caribbean Plate, a volcanic area with high altitudes and wonderfully fertile soils, making for some of the tastiest coffee beans out there. Choose Guatamalan coffee for an acidic and medium-bodied taste with smoky, spicy and chocolate flavours. If you like a slightly sweeter taste opt for El Salvador coffee, or for a highly fragrant aroma, go for Costa Rican instead.
We recommend: Cafe Amore El Salvador Coffee Beans – These 100% El Salvador beans give a mild, well balanced taste with a hint of sweetness. Perfect for espresso and espresso-based drinks, these coffee beans are also fair trade, which is more important than ever in the wake of the coffee crisis in Central America. The crisis is being caused by an outbreak of the ‘coffee leaf rust’ fungus, which could affect over 50 per cent of the coffee growing area in the region.
The Best of Both Worlds
If you’re not sure whether to try South or American coffee first, why not opt for a blend that combines the best characteristics of each? Douwe Egberts Intense Roast Selection is made using 100% Arabica coffee beans and has a distinctive and rich, temperamental taste. It’s also UTZ Certified, so profits contribute to a better life for farmers, their families and the planet.
We hope the first part in the ‘Where do Coffee Beans Come From?’ series has inspired you to give Latin American coffee a try. In the next part we’ll look at coffee from Africa, taking you from the luscious foothills of Mount Kenya to the gradually sloping plateau of the Ivory Coast. If you’d like to try some high quality Latin American coffee in the meantime head over to www.coffeebuyer.co.uk, where you can filter your search results to find coffee from different regions with ease.