Where does coffee come from? And why do different coffees taste different?
Read our expert guide to where coffee is grown, the types of bean and the all-important roasting process.
Where does coffee come from?
Coffee is grown in more than 50 countries around "the coffee belt", in areas that have the right combination of altitude, soil and weather.
Thought to be one of the coffee capitals of the world, coffee from Latin America makes up most of the blends found on supermarket shelves today. The flavour is universally enjoyed which is mostly attributed to its well-rounded taste. A few of the key characteristics Latin American coffee possesses are:
Latin American coffee is:
- Low acidity
- Light or medium roast
Get to know your coffee beans
Coffee beans come from the fruit (called "cherries") of the coffee plant. The cherries are not good to eat, but the beans inside the cherries are full of flavor.
Each variety of coffee plant has a different and distinct flavor. There are more than 120 varieties, but most of the coffee we drink comes from either Arabica and Robusta, or a blend of the two.
Why is coffee roasted?
Roasting is the process of heating coffee beans to bring out the rich and aromatic flavour that we know and love.
Fresh off the plant, coffee beans are actually green in colour and possess a grassy smell. When the beans are roasted, chemical changes occur as a result of the beans being brought to a high temperature very quickly. This change also causes them to turn into a deep brown colour with a wonderfully earthy smell.
Once the beans are roasted, they’re ready to be ground. Different roasting processes, bring out different characteristics in the coffee and after they have been ground, they are combined to create a range of coffee blends to suit individual tastes and preferences.