The Coffee Belt

The Coffee Belt is the imaginary line that wraps around the globe and houses all of Africa’s, South America’s, Central America’s, and Asia’s best coffee-growing regions.

The continent that any given coffee is grown in has a remarkable affect on the coffee’s flavor profile, and the profiles vastly differ from each other from continent to continent. Flavor profiles also differ from region to region within a continent, and even from farm to farm within any given region! However, there is usually a basic foundation of terms one can use to describe a particular region’s coffees.

This quick guide can serve as a basic overview of how coffees taste from region to region:

Central America

Costa Rica – medium body, citrus, nutty

Guatemala – can be spicy, smoky, chocolate, earthy or delicate, floral, fruity, sweet

Honduras – crisp, light-bodied, nutty, spicy

Mexico – light/medium bodied, milk chocolate, bright, lively, fruity

Nicaragua – mild acidity, vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, pear

Panama – zesty, lively, spicy, lemongrass, herbal

El Salvador – pretty similar to Nicaraguas

South America

Bolivia – medium body, caramel, chocolate, can be flowery and fruity

Brazil – medium/full body, low acidity, milk chocolate, fruity

Colombia – medium body, medium acidity, fruity, nutty

Ecuador – light/medium body, medium acidity, caramel, fruit, nutty

Peru – medium body, medium acidity, spice, nutty, chocolate, earthy

Africa and Arabia

Burundi – full body, low acidity, grassy, chocolate

Congo – full body, low acidity, intense, chocolate, nutty, tobacco, vanilla, earthy, spicy

Ethiopia – the birthplace of coffee and the most diverse region in the world, it’s very hard to find terms that can accurately describe this country’s coffee; they can have full body, chocolate, cherry, creamy, earthy, blueberry or medium body, flowery, herbal, nutty

Kenya – full body, zesty, citrus, floral, herbal

Rwanda – medium body, chocolate, floral, nutty

Tanzania – medium body, woody, earthy, spicy

Uganda – full body, chocolate, creamy, vanilla

Yemen – full body, chocolate, winy

Zambia – medium body, tangy, citrus, caramel, bittersweet

Zimbabwe – medium body, woody, low acidity, herbal, vegetal, spicy

Indonesia and Asia

Bali – full body, low acidity, creamy, nutty, chocolate, vanilla, earthy

Flores – full body, low acidity, floral, earthy, woody, syrupy sweet

India – full body, spicy, medium acidity, tropical fruit; monsooned Malabars are very intense, full body, tobacco, low acidity

Java – full body, chocolate, nutty, low acidity, creamy

Myanmar – medium body, medium acidity, similar to Brazils

Papua New Guinea – full body, medium acidity, fruity, earthy,

Sumatra – full body, intense, earthy, woody, gritty, low acidity

Sulawesi – full body, low acidity, herbal, spicy, woody

Timor – full body, low acidity, floral, woody, earthy, herbal

Islands and Others

Australia – medium body, medium acidity, mild, juicy, syrupy

Dominican Republic – medium body, medium acidity, mild, sweet, caramel,

Hawaii – medium body, low acidity, creamy, vanilla, brown sugar

Jamaica – medium body, low acidity, tobacco, mellow, sweet

Puerto Rico – medium body, low acidity, smoky, creamy, buttery, nutty, sweet