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Coffee Profile Chart by Country

Coffee characteristics can change from year to year and vary from farm to farm even within a small region. Many factors affect coffee flavor and one’s perception of flavors.

The following chart provides only very general descriptions of coffees that we often carry at Highland Coffees. These descriptions are for coffees medium roasted. We also sell dark roasted versions for most of our coffees, as well as some interesting blends. Our coffee offerings may change throughout the year, depending on which coffees are available and worthy of being brought in. Use the chart only as a starting point for evaluating coffees and developing one’s own coffee profiles.

Roasted Coffees

Type Region Acidity Body Other Flavor Characteristics and Origin Information
Brazil South America 4 4 Brazil is the world’s biggest coffee producer, supplying about 30 percent of the world’s supply. Most of its coffee is commercial grade, although it does produce some good specialty coffees. Coffees are grown at altitudes of only 2,000 to 4,000 feet. The highest grade is called “Strictly Soft Bean.” Coffees tend to be mellow, pleasant, uncomplicated.
Colombia South America 5 5 Colombia is second only to Brazil in overall coffee production and first in quantity of Arabicas grown. The Juan Valdez ad campaign helped make Colombia the best known origin. “Supremo” is the highest grade, based on bean size. Colombian coffee has long been considered generally good, but unspectacular. Some really fine coffees, however, are produced in Colombia, mostly in the southwest part of the country.
Costa Rica Central America 7 4 Costa Rican coffee is consistently smooth and fragrant. Coffee has been grown in Costa Rica since the late 1700s. Most coffees are grown between 4,000 and 5,500 feet. Tarrazu and Tres Rios are two of the best known growing regions. La Minita, an estate coffee from Tarrazu, is one of the most highly regarded coffees in the world, year after year.
El Salvador Central America 6 5 Some excellent coffees come from this tiny country located between Guatemala and Honduras. Coffee is grown at high altitudes in rich volcanic soil. The best Salvadorans are fragrant, mildly complex, and have good acidity.
Ethiopia Northeast Africa 9 4 Ethiopia is the birthplace of Arabica coffee. Two of its most renowned coffees are from Yirgacheffe, in the Sidamo region, and Harrar, although their profiles are quite different. The Harrar is dry processed and has an exotic, fruity, complex taste, while the Yirgacheffe is a washed coffee. It is more delicate than the Harrar and displays floral and citrus tones.
Guatemala Central America 7 5 Guatemala features several famous growing regions, including Antigua, Huehuetenango, Coban, and Atitlan. The country has countless microclimates because of its terrain. Coffees are often grown at elevations over 5,000 feet. “Strictly Hard Bean” is the highest grade, based on elevation. Great Guatemalan coffees are fruity and nuanced, and they have very good acidity.
Kenya East-Central Africa 8 7 Kenyan coffees are among the most admired among coffee experts. These coffees are complex and often possess deep berry notes. Kenya only began cultivating coffee in the early 1900s. Much of the great coffee of Kenya comes from high altitude growing regions just north of Nairobi. “AA” is the highest grade in Kenya based on bean size.
Mexico Central America 6 4 Coffee cultivation in Mexico dates back to the late 1700s. Many of the best Mexican coffees are grown in the southern part of the country in the states of Oaxaca and Chiapas, the latter of which borders Guatemala. Mexican coffees are smooth and rather delicate with a light snap.
Nicaragua Central America 7 5 Coffees from Nicaragua are generally grown at altitudes of 3,000 to 4,500 feet. The highest grade, by altitude, is called “Strictly High Grown.” The best known coffee regions are Jinotega, Matagalpa, and Segovia. Nicaraguan coffees are fragrant, mildly complex, with good acidity and body, often showing nut and citrus flavors.
Panama Central America 6 5 Panama is a thin slice of land connecting Costa Rica on the west and Colombia to its east and separating the Caribbean from the Pacific. Most of Panama’s great coffees come from altitudes of 3,500 to 6,000 feet in the Chiriqui province in the west, especially from the Boquete and Volcan regions. These coffees can be lively with floral and citrus notes.
Papua New Guinea Malay Archipelago 7 5 Located just above the northeast tip of Australia, Papua New Guinea (PNG) is the eastern half of the island of New Guinea. Much of the rootstock of PNG coffee is from Jamaica. Its coffees often have a profile with characteristics of both Central American coffees and those of Indonesia. The best New Guineas are delicately complex with good acidity and mellow fruit and spice notes.
Sulawesi Indonesia 4 7 Coffees from Sulawesi, formerly known as Celebes, come mostly from the Toraja region in the central part of this orchid-shaped island. These coffees have good body and low to medium acidity with a light woody flavor and sometimes ripe fruit undertones.
Sumatra Indonesia 3 8 Coffee growing in Sumatra dates all the way back to the early 1700s. Arabica coffees from Sumatra are grown at high elevations mostly in the north-central and far northern parts of the island. Coffee processing methods in Sumatra vary widely, yielding uneven results. The best Sumatran coffees have a pronounced earthy quality. They are deep bodied and complex.
Tanzania East-Central Africa 7 5 Most of Tanzania’s coffee is grown around Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Meru near Kenya. While the highest grade is “AA,” the coffee is often sold as peaberry. A peaberry is a single small, rounded bean that forms inside the coffee cherry, rather than the usual two flat-sided beans. Tanzanian coffee displays good acidity and can be similar to Kenyan coffee in flavor, but it is milder and less complex.
Timor Malay Archipelago 4 6 Timor is a relatively poor, recently independent (2002) nation. Most of its coffee is certified organic. Coffees from Timor have a milder, cleaner profile than those from Sumatra. They are balanced with a light woody flavor.

Coffee Blends

Type Region Acidity Body Other Flavor Characteristics and Origin Information
Italian Blend Central America and South America 2 6 Italian Blend is the darkest of the three blends we keep on our retail shelf. It is three-quarters dark roast and one-quarter medium roast. We use this blend as our Darker house espresso blend.
Traders’ Blend Central America, South America, and Indonesia 3 7 Traders’ Blend is the lightest of our three blends. It is made up of one-third dark roast and two-thirds medium roast. We use Traders’ Blend as our Lighter house espresso blend.
Viennese Blend Central America and South America 4 6 Viennese Blend is half dark roast, half medium roast. It is popular as an espresso blend, as a hot brewed coffee, and as a cold dripped iced coffee.

Flavored Coffees

We also offer a nice selection of flavored coffees. Our flavored coffees always start with a fine fresh-roasted Central or South American coffee so that the underlying coffee is outstanding. Our selection includes the following flavors: Caramel Royale, Chocolate Pecan, Chocolate Mint, Cinnamon Swirl, French Vanilla, Hazelnut, Irish Cream, Macadamia Cream, and Vanilla Nut.

Decaffeinated Coffees

We always have three or four decaffeinated coffees, including a dark roasted decaf, among our available coffees. Our decafs have had the caffeine removed using a water process that leaves great flavor in the beans. When quality beans, the right decaffeination process, and in-shop roasting are combined, great tasting decaffeinated coffee is the result.