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| Written by Miles Spencer

A Journey Through the World’s Coffee Regions

Coffee in Colombia

At Coffee-Direct, we offer a fantastic range of more than 100 varieties of coffee, sourced from a wide selection of coffee-growing regions. But what are the differences between coffees grown from one region to another?

A variety of factors go into creating the specific, unique flavour profile of a country’s coffee beans; climate, growing altitude, rainfall and soil type all play a part, as well as the history and development of coffee production in each country.

We’ve taken a look at some of the most popular coffee-growing regions in the world, while offering a few of our favourite coffee picks from those regions.

Coffee first arrived in Peru sometime between 1740 and 1760 and, while the climate was well suited to coffee production, the coffee grown during the first hundred years was consumed locally. The first exports, to Germany and England, did not begin until 1887.

Peruvian coffees are grown across several regions: Cajamarca in the north of the country; Junin, which produces around 20% of the country’s coffee; Cusco in the south of the country; San Martin, which in the past was the main area of coca production in Peru.

Our Peruvian Coffee offers a fruity and floral taste, a low-to-medium acidity and a subtle chocolate finish that works perfectly in filter coffees and sharp espressos.

There are suggestions that coffee first came to Tanzania from Ethiopia in the 16th century, brought by the Haya people and known as “Haya Coffee”. In 1911, German colonists mandated the planting of Arabica coffee trees in the Bukoba region, bringing new methods to the production process. The first cooperative, the ‘Kilimanjaro Native Planters’ Association’, was formed in 1925 and allowed producers to sell more directly to London.

Tanzania coffee producers use a grading system that is similar to that used in Kenya, with grades including AA, A, B, PB, C, E, F, AF, TT, UG and TEX.

The oldest growing area in Tanzania for Arabica coffee is Kilimanjaro, but other regions include: Arusha, which borders the region around Kilimanjaro; Ruvuma, located in the extreme south of the country; Mbeya, a key producer of high-value export crops including coffee, tea, cacao and spices; Tarime, a small region in the far north of the country; Kigoma, situated on gently rolling hills in the northeast of the country.

The taste profile of Tanzanian coffees is complex and bright, with lovely acidity and berry, fruity flavours. Our Tanzania Coffee offers a mild acidity and beautiful, sweet flavours, and is ideal for cafetiere and filter coffees.

Papua New Guinea
While coffee was planted relatively early in Papua New Guinea, it was not at first treated as a commercial product. However, by 1926 18 estates were established using seeds from Jamaica’s Blue Mountain, so that coffee production had begun in earnest by 1928.

In the 1970s, the government sponsored a series of programmes to encourage cooperatives to run small farms, during a time when the industry was more focused around managed estates. In the 1980s, the industry began to decentralise, and today around 95 per cent of coffee producers in Papua New Guinea are smallholders, producing around 90 per cent of the country’s coffee.

Coffee exports from Papua New Guinea are graded by quality, in descending order: AA, A, X, PSC and Y. The first three grades are awarded to estate coffees, while the last two are grades for smallholders’ coffees.

High quality coffees from Papua New Guinea often offer great sweetness and wonderful complexity, and our Papua New Guinea Coffee has distinctive chocolate and nut flavours, with a fruity mango and papaya finish.

Coffee was likely introduced to Colombia in 1723 by the Jesuits, before slowly spreading to various regions of the country as a commercial crop, becoming a significant crop by the end of the 19th century.

In 1958, recognising the value of brand marketing, Colombia created the Juan Valdez character, which featured on bags of coffee and in various advertising campaigns. This branding was undertaken by the Federacion Nacional de Cafeteros (FNC), an organisation founded in 1927 that is closely involved with the export and promotion of Colombian coffee.

Colombian coffees offer a wide range of flavours, from chocolatey, heavier coffees to sweet and fruity coffees. We offer a great selection of Colombian coffees, including: Colombian Medium Roast Coffee, a mild and smooth coffee with a delicately balanced taste; Colombian Supremo Coffee, a medium strength coffee, with well balanced, nutty flavours and plenty of heavy body; Dark Colombian Coffee, an excellent coffee that offers a rich aroma, luxurious depth and sweet flavours of fruit and chocolate.

Kenya did not begin coffee production until relatively late, with the earliest documented imports of coffee dating to 1893, when French missionaries brought coffee trees from Réunion. Coffee was produced on large estates at first, under British colonial rule, with the crops sold in London, but with the passing of the Coffee Act in 1933, and the creation of the Kenyan Coffee Board, the sale of coffee moved back to Kenya.

Since Kenya gained independence in 1963, the country has been producing very high-quality coffees, while the research and development of coffee production is seen to be excellent, with many farmers being highly educated in coffee production. Like many other coffee-producing countries, Kenya uses a grading system for all of its exported coffees, which involves a combination of bean size and quality.

We offer a fantastic range of Kenyan coffees, including: Kenya Blue Mountain Coffee, a full bodied coffee with a good acidity, hints of nut and citrus and a lovely caramel aftertaste; Kenya AA Coffee, which gets its AA+ rating based on the large sizes of the specially selected beans, which result in a strong, slightly tangy flavour; Kenya Peaberry Coffee, a smooth but intense coffee offering fine acidity, coupled with a well-rounded aroma and fruity notes.

Costa Rica
Costa Rica has grown coffee since the early 19th century, with the Spanish government soon promoting coffee production in a number of ways; when the country’s independence from Spain was declared in 1821, free coffee seeds were given out to encourage production, while in 1825 the government exempted coffee from certain taxes and in 1931 declared that if anyone grew coffee on fallow land for five years, they could claim ownership of it.

Exports began in earnest in 1832, to England, but first passed through Chile where the coffees were renamed as ‘Café Chileno de Valparaiso’. Direct export to England followed in 1843, which led to the establishment of the Anglo-Costa Rican Bank in 1863, providing finance to allow the industry to grow.

Costa Rican coffees are usually very clean and sweet, and often quite light bodied. Our Costa Rica Coffee is a smooth, mild coffee, made from beans bursting with rich flavours and a higher acidity, making them perfect for cafetiere brewing.