Coffee and Its Beans from Around the World

4 December 2019

If you love coffee, you probably will have a cuppa during the same time everyone else does — as the first thing in the morning. In every country around the world, early risers wake up, get out of bed, and have coffee. But that doesn’t mean we’re all drinking coffee in the same way.

How does coffee around the world differ in taste? We take you through the “coffee bean belt” as we explore what a morning cup of coffee around the world tastes like and the characteristics that give it its unique flavour.


coffee beans spilling out of a paper bag
Brazilian coffee is known for its nutty, chocolatey taste and relatively low acidity. Photo from Lisa Fotios

If you drink coffee, chances are you’ve had the Brazilian kind. Being the world’s largest coffee producer and exporter for the last 150 years, Brazil supplies over a third of the global coffee supply.

Brazilian coffee is processed in three ways: dry, washed, and semi-washed. With dry processing, harvested coffee cherries are dried traditionally under the sun, whereas washed processing takes place when coffee cherries are pulped by machine to remove their outer skin.

The seeds with their mucilage (the flesh of the coffee fruit) are then fermented, which gives off the coffee’s unique flavour. Coffee cherries are pulped and the beans undergo two phases of drying.

Coffee connoisseurs would talk about Bourbon Santos, Brazil Cerrado and how Brazilian coffee is able to take dark roasts without turning overly bitter. The best Brazilian coffee has relatively low acidity and exhibits a nutty, chocolatey taste.

Use this coffee wheel to guide you through the specific taste notes of your coffee.


a photo of roasted coffee beans
Washed Kenyan coffee beans yield a cup of rich and full-bodied coffee. Photo from Adam Lukac

Coffee from Kenya is consistently rich and generally full-bodied, with fruit and berry notes. Most can be described as clean, crisp, typically well-balanced with a slightly dry finish.

Kenyan coffee beans are processed using the washed method. The coffee cherries are de-pulped, fermented, and washed before dried under the sun.

The result? A cup of Kenyan coffee has intense citrus and fruity flavours.

But, with its quality and complex flavour, why is the elusive Kenyan coffee not more popular or known? Here’s why.


coffee beans being roasted in a coffee roasting machine
Ethiopian coffee flavour profiles depend on their processing methods, which are dry and washed. Photo from Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

“Buna dabo naw”, our coffee is our bread — it just goes to show how the Ethiopians take great pride in their coffee. Ethiopian coffee is best known for its complex, distinct wine flavours and citrus notes.

Ethiopian coffee flavour profiles are impacted by their processing methods, which are dry and washed.

Washed coffee beans display floral notes in the aroma (think jasmine and lemon flavours) while others may exhibit spicy and distinct wine flavours with fruity tones.

Naturally-processed or dry Ethiopian coffee is known for its light acidity and strong mocha flavour with hints of berry notes in the aroma.


a person roasting coffee beans on a pan
Coffee from Indonesia has a prominent earthiness; an acquired taste among coffee drinkers. Photo from Aleksandar Pasaric

From the celebrated Mandheling to the popular Sumatra Ankola coffee — some of the world’s finest premium gourmet coffee is grown in Indonesia. Coffee from Indonesia has a dark and bold flavour profile, with a prominent, acquired earthy taste.

Indonesian coffee is semi-washed, or locally known as giling basah. Coffee cherries are de-pulped and dried under the sun to a moisture content of 30%. The parchment is removed, and the coffee beans enter a second drying phase.

The semi-washed processing method increases the coffee’s body and intensity, creating tasting notes ranging from earthy, spice, and tobacco, with a long-lasting finish that tastes like unsweetened or dark cocoa.

For the complete list of coffee beans from Indonesia, click here.


a person scooping up coffee beans from a pot using her palm
The best Colombian coffee displays chocolatey flavours with fruity, berry notes. Photo from Milo Miloezger

The best-known and most distinctive South American coffee is grown in Colombia. Colombian coffee is known for its mellow flavour, which makes it a clean cup and easy to drink.

Most Colombian types of coffee are washed, yielding a cup of medium-bodied coffee with a rich taste and citrus-like acidity.

It’s difficult to peg down the exact flavours you’ll get from any single-origin Colombian coffee, but the best beans exhibit prominent sweet, chocolatey flavours with fruity, berry notes.


roasted coffee beans spilling out from a cup
Superior, rich-tasting coffee from Kilimanjaro. Photo from Pixabay

What makes Kilimanjaro coffee so good? Cultivated in fertile volcanic soil on the slopes of Africa’s highest mountain, Kilimanjaro’s coffee cherries are washed using glacial water and dried under the African sun.

The optimal geographical and climatic characteristics of this region gives Kilimanjaro coffee beans a reputation as one of Africa’s best coffee.

The result is a superior, rich-tasting coffee — smooth, velvety texture with sweet, fruity notes and hints of ripe cherries. Our suggestion is to always go for a single origin Kilimanjaro coffee.

What is single origin coffee and is it worth the premium price tag?

Found your favourite coffee beans? All that’s left is for you to choose the right gadgets that will yield the best cup of coffee — check out the complete range of bean-to-cup, pump espresso, drip coffee, and more at the De’Longhi eshop.

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