Who’s Got The Best Coffee Around The World?

It’s estimated that 3.5 billion cups of coffee are enjoyed worldwide every day. Many people, whose lives revolve around the love of this dark and delicious brew, probably have a favorite brand of bean, but chances are where their daily cup-o-joe comes from is a mystery. Today, we are diving into where the best coffee in the world comes from and what makes it so special. Here, you can learn more about your favorite regions and beans, and possibly discover new areas you might like to try.

Who Grows the Best?


So, which countries shell out the best beans? With the many variables, naming the best countries is not an easy task. Naturally a personal bias in taste, education, and life experience influence a person’s favorite.

Going around the world, here’s each of the regions and countries that produce the best beans in the world.

North America and the Caribbean

Different coffee varieties are grown all over the state; however, it’s the coffee from the Kona region on the big island that’s the most famous.  Grown on the slopes of the volcanoes in black volcanic soil, Hualalai and Mauna Loa, this extraordinary coffee is pricey and in-demand. Known for its buttery finish, medium body, and deep aromatics its grown in the perfect conditions of frequent showers and just enough cloud coverage from the intense tropical sun.

Over 100,000 smaller coffee farms contribute to the coffee production making it one of the largest coffee-producing countries concentrated in the southern regions, primarily Veracruz, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. With so many plantations and locations there’s a lot of variability in varieties; however they lean on the side of rich, nutty, chocolaty, and on the darker side.

Jamaica produces Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee, one of the world’s most sought after specialty coffees. Exports are highly regulated and certified only through their Government which makes it hard to find in the U.S. This high altitude bean is known for its mild and sweet flavor from the cool air, bountiful rainfall, rich soil, and excellent drainage found at the top of one of the highest mountain ranges in the Caribbean. Other coffees found in Jamaica tend to be brilliantly acidic and nutty, with almost beefy-flavored notes.

Central America

Costa Rica:
Coffees from Costa Rica have a good reputation throughout the world from the enormous amount of effort put into the cultivation of their beans. Coffees are strictly wet-processed arabicas, which results in a perfectly balanced, medium bodied, and sharply acidic coffee. The flavors of these beans range from sweet with floral notes, to berry undertones to nutty and chocolaty.

Guatemalan rich volcanic soil plus its microclimates give the beans from this country depth and complexity, as well as a spicy and chocolaty taste, with a medium-to-full body. Grown at high altitudes of 4500 feet or higher is the Strictly Hard Bean, known as a dense and hard bean.

The many microclimates along with high altitude, rich volcanic soil, just enough moisture and sunshine make Panama’s countryside an ideal coffee producing environment. Producer of the “Holy Grail” of coffee- Panama Esmerelda and the most expensive coffee- Panama Geisha, this Central American country brings coffee lovers to its yearly Best of Panama coffee competition. Other coffees of renown from Panama include the sweet Honey Hartmann, as well as those produced by Elida Estate.

South America

As the largest producer of the bean in the entire world, Brazil contributes about a third of all coffee. About 80% of the beans produced here are the arabica variety, with the rest being rubusta, and are cultivated using the wet, dry, and semi-washed methods of processing. Brazilian coffees are produced in many different regions but they are almost all quite mild, medium body, and low acidity with nice bittersweet chocolate tastes.

As the third highest producer and probably the best-known coffee producer, Colombia maintains a high standard when it comes to their beans. Coffee is grown on many small farms throughout the country, whose rugged landscape makes it a perfect environment for these world class beans, but complicated to transport. The coffees of Colombia tend to be mild, with a well-balanced acidity, with Colombia Supremo, a delicate and aromatic coffee, and Excelso Grade, a softer and more acidic coffee, being the two most sought after types.

Africa and Middle East

The mother land of the coffee plant. Coffee was first discovered in southern Ethiopia. The flavors differ according to how the bean is processed as it comes both natural and washed. Natural beans have the fruity and wine-like tastes while the washed tend to be floral and tea-like. Harrar and Yergahcheffe beans are the most famous beans found here, and a typical Ethiopian coffee is sweet, full-flavored, full-bodied, and bold.

Coffee from Kenya is grown on the foothills of Mount Kenya often by small farmers. The processing and drying procedures are strictly controlled and monitored. Processing and drying procedures are graded with their unique system such as Kenyan AA is the largest bean while AA+ means it was estate grown.  The coffees produced in Kenya have a bright, wine-like taste, with fruity notes and acidity, and a full body and rich aroma.

Ninety percent of the coffee grown here comes from smallholder and the rest from plantations. Tanzania grows its coffee beans at the foot of mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, near Kenya. Coffees from this country tend to be medium-bodied, with a mild acidity, a rich and delicate taste, and wine notes. Home to the world-famous Peaberry coffee, these beans are not only unique in their taste but are rare because they’re a whole-bean coffee cherry, rather than two half-beans like most coffee fruits bear.

Most coffee roots lead back to Yemeni coffee. Very distinct in flavor and home of the famous Mocha Java coffee, Yemeni coffee boasts citrus and cocoa notes. Blending the Java beans from Indonesia with their own homegrown Mocha gives way to the well know mocha java. Yemeni is an arid country, which means that coffee beans are a bit smaller than normal, and must be dry processed after harvest, resulting in a distinctively deep and rich flavor.

Asia and Indonesia

The most notable of the coffee-producing islands of the Indonesian archipelago, Java is so adept at coffee production that one of the nicknames for the beverage comes from this country. Coffee was brought here by the Dutch in the 17th century, which was so successful the name has become synonymous. Java beans tend to have a heavy body and an overall sweetness to the taste, a long-lasting finish, and a slightly herbaceous after-taste.

The coffees from this large island in western Indonesian can be sweet and crisp, with complex flavors with some describing as maple syrup to chocolate to toasted almonds. The body is smooth and well-balanced due to the acidity and contains notes of tobacco, cocoa, smoke, earth, and cedar wood. The most famous type of coffee from Sumatra comes from the northern part of the island and is called Mandheling, named for the people who produce it.

The coffees of India are similar to those from Indonesia and are grown mostly on terraced mountainsides. The best coffees from this country come from the regions of Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamilnadu, and are full-bodied and acidic. An unusual type of coffee that is unique to India is the monsoon coffee, in which the unripened beans are left out to be blown around by the heavy winds, which results in less acidity and more sweetness.

This short tour of coffee regions may be introduced new regions and sparked an interest in trying new flavors. So take a tour around the world without leaving your sofa by ordering from the menu of the world’s best coffees.

Small Batch Coffee

For a long time coffee was a simple commodity…it was roasted dark, sold cheap and chugged throughout the day. However, like the beer industry, micro took coffee’s creative side to a new industry high.  Type A coffee nerds take insane amounts of care in every step of the process, from visiting the farms that grow the coffee, building relationships with the farmers, to developing unique roast profiles that bring out each unique bean’s individual flavor qualities. Roasting in these small batches allows unparalleled attention to the details.

Erna Knutsen, who was a luminary in the coffee world, first coined the term ‘specialty coffee’ around 1974. Erna knew and pushed forward the appreciation for coffee’s potential. And since then, specialty beans currently represent 55% of the coffee market share; a major force in the US.

So what makes small batch coffee beans so special?

Coffee roasting is the application of heat to coffee beans in order to create chemical reactions that develop the complex aromatic and flavor components of the bean. The goal is to achieve a delicate balance of flavor, acidity, body, and aroma that is both harmonious and intriguing. Small-batch producers have the legroom to innovate on these roasting techniques and to experiment liberally with taste.

Graders are the sommeliers of the coffee world, trained to detect the most imperceptible defects and differences in beans. A coffee is ranked as specialty when it scores 80 points or higher on a 100-point scale according to the Specialty Coffee Association. This is determined by cupping, the way coffee professionals evaluate and compare coffees. Coffee far outshines wine in the number of aromatics and flavors, which is why cuppers rely on the SCA’s Flavor Wheel (at right), a detailed mapping of vocabulary to use when describing and ranking coffee.

The language around specialty coffee is as complex as the beverage

Customers are curious and want to know where their beans are sourced, how they’re roasted, and the nuanced flavor profiles to expect in the bag of beans. The smaller guys are often more transparent about the suppliers they work with, so each cup of coffee can be enjoyed guilt-free by their customers. More companies are specially coding their small batches so the consumer can find out exactly when it was roasted, where it came from and the farming relationship the roaster has to their community.  Fair trade is an important relationship as the coffee depends on the skill and care of  its farmers – hands in the ground, nurturing life from a small seed – and lot of hard work goes into just getting those beans to the consumer. The majority of the world’s coffee is produced by 25 million small-scale farmers – meaning farmers working 5 acres or less (the average Fair-trade farmer works just 3.4 acres of land). Many of these farmers are dependent on coffee to support their families and entire communities rely on the once-a-year harvest.



Every February, thousands of coffee lovers gather for the Global Specialty Coffee Expo, the world’s largest coffee conference. We’ll be among them meeting with Fairtrade farmers, traders, companies and manufacturers who all converge to talk coffee and enjoy the world’s finest.

Boys in a Soap-Box Car (8oz Whole Bean Small Batch Artisan Coffee – Bold & Strong Medium Dark Roast w/ Artwork)

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