Coffee Growing Regions, Varieties & Grading
Posted on 03/12/2013 8:13 AM
Joined: October 24, 2005
COFFEE GROWING REGIONS
Altura Coatepec is high grown coffee from the historical red-tiled town of Coatepec, Mexico, 15km (9 miles) south of Xalapa.
Arabica coffee from the Yemen port of Mocha. Two famous market names for this coffee are Mattari and Sanani. Sanani is medium bodied with wild, fruity acidity, while Mattari is medium to full bodied, with good acidity, and chocolatey undertones. The word mocha is associated with chocolate because when cocoa was first introduced in Europe, it reminded people of Mocha coffee from Yemen. Arabian Mocha, grown in the northern mountains of Yemen, is one of the oldest and most traditional of the world's coffees. It is also one of the finest. This coffee has been cultivated and processed in the same way for centuries, grown on mountain terraces and naturally dried. No chemicals are used in its production, and it is no doubt organic.
A region in Tanzania at the foot of Mt. Meru. Tanzania produces excellent Arabica coffee, most of which is grown on the slopes of Mt. Meru and Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Bani is a city in the coffee producing region of Sierra Sur in Dominican Republic. Bani has been a trade name for coffee from the City of Bani. There are various micro-climates in Dominican Republic that produce beans with distinct physical and taste characteristics. The government of Dominican Republic established seven official coffee-growing regions: Barahona, Cibao, Neyba, Noroeste, Sierra Central, Sierra Occidental, and Sierra Sur.
Jamaican Blue Mountain is one of the world's most controversial coffees. The best Jamaica Blue Mountain coffee is characterized by a nutty aroma, bright acidity and a unique beef-bouillon like flavor. However, lack of attention to quality has led to some mediocre, over-priced product. Some confusion exists about where the boundaries for growing this coffee actually lie, and often coffees of lesser quality are packaged under its name. Jamaican High Mountain is a term that applies to coffees of lesser quality that are grown at a lower altitude than Jamaican Blue Mountain. Jamaica High Mountain and Jamaica Blue Mountain coffees are produced using the wet-process.
Market name for Arabica coffee from the slopes of Mt. Elgon in Uganda, near Kenya. Most coffee produced in Uganda is Robusta, and is used for making instant coffee. Bugisu is a bright coffee with flavor characteristics comparable to Indonesian or Kenyan coffees.
Chiapas is the southernmost state in Mexico, and shares a border with Guatemala. The coffees of Chiapas are typically well balanced with a chocolatey brightness, and are more comparable to high grown coffees from Guatemala.
Chipinge, formerly named Chipinga, is a town in southeast Zimbabwe on the slopes of the Chimanimani mountains which, as part of the Eastern Highlands, forms a natural border with Mozambique. Good agricultural conditions allow the Chipinge region to produce the finest coffee in Zimbabwe, produced under the market name Zimbabwe Salimba, or Zimbabwe Salimba Estate. Zimbabwe Salimba has a rich flavor comparable with other fine African coffees, is well balanced and has a good aftertaste.
Coatepec is a charming town with cobblestone roadways in the Mexican State of Vericruz, 15km (9 miles) south of Xalapa. Coffee from the Coatepec regions is marketed under the name Altura Coatepec and is one of the best high grown coffees from Mexico.
Coffee from the harar region of Ethiopia. Ethiopia Harar is a flavorful and aromatic dry processed coffee with a wild berry acidity. Ethiopia Harar is commonly designated as Shortberry or Longberry. The Longberry variety, which comes from coffee cherries that are physically longer than normal, typically produces coffee with an unusual wild-blueberry-like aroma. Also spelled Harrar or Harar.
Coffee from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia. Sidamo, also called Sidama, was a large province in the southern part of Ethiopia prior to 1995, but is still used to designate a geographical area of Ethiopia. The Sidamo province was named after the native Sidama, or Sidamo, people. With the adoption of a constitution in 1995, the Sidamo Province was divided into new regions. One of the newly created regions, The Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples Region (SNNPR), includes the Gedeo zone, where the Village of Yirga Ch'efe is located. Coffee grown near Yirga Ch'efe, while from the greater region sometimes identified as Sidamo, is marketed under the name Yirgachefe (also spelled Yirgacheffe).
Coffee from the higher elevations of the Sidamo region of Ethiopia near the village of Yirga Ch'efe. Ethiopia Yirgachefe is typically wet processed. Yirgachefe coffee is considered by many as the cream of the crop in Ethiopia and is known for its sweet fruity acidity and floral aroma. Sometimes spelled "Yirgacheffe".
Coffee grown in the central highlands of Guatemala near the historic City of Antigua. Antigua is Spanish for "old". One of the most well known and highly rated coffees in Central America, Guatemala Antiguas are balanced and aromatic, generally with a chocolatey acidity. The Antigua region produces well known and highly rated specialty coffees that rank with the most flavorful and nuanced coffees in the world.
Coffee grown in the Guatemalan highlands, near the town of Coban. Guatemala Coban is sold under the market name "Tanchi", and is comparable to other bright and fruity Guatemalan coffees, but often with unique characteristics, such as bittersweet spicy notes.
Coffee from the Huehuetenango ("way-way-te-nan-go") region. Huehuetenango is an approximation of an Aztecan term for "place of the ancients". This coffee from the western highlands of Guatemala, is bright, aromatic, and fruity
Hawaiian coffee is grown primarily on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai, with coffees from the Kona region of the island of Hawaii being the most expensive. The best estates grow beautiful, large, flat beans, which produce a medium-bodied brew, with buttery, spicy characteristics. Consumers should beware that many Hawaiin coffees being sold as blends may contain only 10% Hawaiian coffee, and are typically blended with Latin American coffees. Hawaiian coffees demand a premium price, although the flavor characteristics of some lower priced Latin American coffees may rate even higher. Coffee is grown on the islands of Molokai, Kauai, and Maui, but the Kona region of Hawaii has better growing conditions (higher elevations and a relatively dry environment).
Aged Indian coffee exposed to monsoon conditions, with a golden color and a unique mellow flavor. Over 150 years ago the British started cultivating coffee on the Southern slopes in India and transporting the raw coffee to Europe in large wooden ships. The journey around Cape Hope took almost 6 months. During this long journey the raw coffee was exposed to rain and humidity causing the coffee?s characteristics to change. The coffee became pale gold in color, lost acidity and swelled in size. Europeans became accustomed to this coffee with its mellow earthy flavor. After the Suez Canal opened the shipment became very short and the coffee was no longer aged in the monsoon winds, causing the coffee to lose popularity since it looked and tasted different. To recreate the monsooned coffee, India Monsoon is now purposely stored in monsoon conditions on the Malabar Coast of India for 12-16 weeks. During this time the coffee is periodically rotated for even exposure.
Indonesian coffee from Island of Java. Early Dutch explorers brought Arabica trees to Java, which became the world's leading producer of coffee until Rust Disease wiped out the crop. The trees were replaced with more disease-resistant, but less desirable Robusta. With the support of the Indonesian government, Arabica is once again being grown on some of the original Dutch estates. Estate Java is a wet-processed coffee that is more acidic, lighter in body and quicker to finish than other coffees in the region. Smoke and spice are flavors often associated with this coffee's acidity. Some Javanese coffee is stored in warehouses for two or three years and is referred to as Old Java. This aging process causes the coffee to lose acidity and gain body and sweetness.
Once known as Celebes, the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia produces some of the world's finest coffee. Celebes Toraja, grown in the mountainous area near the center of the island, is one of the most famous. Coffees from Sulawesi are processed using the dry method and possess an intriguing combination of sweetness and earthiness. They are low in acidity with a deep almost syrupy body. These coffees are more expensive than Sumatran coffees because of small yields and the fierce demand for this coffee in Japan.
Two of the world's best and most famous coffees come from Sumatra: Mandheling and Ankola. Both are semi-dry processed coffees grown in west-central Sumatra near the port of Pandang at altitudes of 2,500 to 5,000 feet. Mandheling is known for its herby aroma, full body, low acidity, and a rich smooth flavor. While most coffees are named after the country, or growing region, where it is farmed and harvested, Sumatra Mandheling is named after the "Mandailing" People that traditionally farmed and processed the coffee beans. A WWII Japanese military man stationed in Sumatra is said to have asked a local Sumatran where his coffee originated, but the Sumatran man mistakenly thought he was being asked about his ethnicity and replied "Mandheling". The name stuck as word spread about the coffee in Japan and merchants began inquiring about the purchase of Mandheling coffee from Sumatra.
Coffea Arabica trees produce nearly all of the worlds specialty coffee. The vast majority of coffee is Robusta or Arabica. Most consider the flavor of Arabica coffee far superior to Robusta. Robusta trees, however, are more "robust" and are less susceptible to insect infestation and disease. Arabica trees are typically grown at high elevations where insects and disease are less prevalent. Because of the inherently steep terrain at high elevations where Arabica is generally grown, mechanical harvesting is impractical, so Arabica coffee is nearly always picked by hand. Hand picking of Arabica results in less under-ripe and over-ripe beans compared to the commonly machine harvested Robusta. If left alone, Arabica trees will grow to 40 feet high, but in most plantations the trees are pruned to less than 8 feet high for better yield and easier harvest. There are at least a dozen variations, or cultivars, of the Coffea Arabica tree. These include: Typica, Bourbon, Caturra, Catuai, Pache Comum, Pache, Catimor, Kent, Mundo Novo, Maragogype, Amarello, and Blue Mountain. Typica is the oldest known Arabica cultivar and is the base from which others developed.??
Coffee produced from the Bourbon cultivar of the Coffea Arabica tree, was named after Bourbon Island where it was first cultivated. Bourbon Island was later renamed Reunion and is located east of Madagascar in the Indian ocean. France introduced the Bourbon cultivar to Africa and Latin America. Bourbon became the second most commercialized Arabica variety after Typica. Both the Typica and Bourbon varieties of Arabica are produced in large quantities throughout the world, but are slowly being replaced by more productive and disease resistant varieties such as Caturra. The Bourbon variety is bright yellow when ripe.??
Bourbon Santos is a single origin coffee named after Santos, the port in Brazil where the coffee is shipped. Bourbon is the variety of coffee tree used to make Bourbon Santos. ??
Caturra is a modern hybrid of Coffea Arabica and is becoming increasingly popular with farmers. Caturra has a greater crop yield and is less susceptible to disease than classic Arabicas (Typica and Bourbon).??
Botanical name for the Robusta coffee tree. Coffea Canephora and Coffea Arabica are practically the only coffee species used to make coffee. Robusta coffee trees, like Arabica, can grow about 40 feet high, but Robusta beans tend to be smaller and more bitter. Robusta trees are "robust", meaning they are less susceptible to pests and disease and yield more coffee crop. Because of its ability to resist pests and disease, Coffea Canephora is the dominant coffee species grown at low elevations.??
A cultivar is a variation of cultivated plant. Cultivars have a name given in accordance with the International Code of Nomenclature for Cultivated Plants (ICNCP). Typica and Bourbon are cultivars of the Arabica tree.??
Common name for Coffea Canephora plant. Coffea Canephora and Coffea Arabica are practically the only coffee species used to make coffee. Robusta coffee trees, like Arabica trees, can both grow to about 40 feet high, but Robusta beans tend to be smaller and more bitter. Robusta trees are "robust", meaning they are less susceptible to pests and disease and yield more coffee crop. Coffea Canephora is the dominant coffee species grown at low elevations due to its ability to resist pests and disease.?
AA is a coffee grading term that refers to a specific, larger than normal, bean size. Kenya AA coffee beans, for example, pass through Grade 18 (18/64" diameter) sieve perforations, but are too large to pass through Grade 16 (16/64" diameter) sieve perforations. AA+ refers to coffee beans AA or larger. The term AA is used as a coffee quality "grade" due to the general correlation (with many exceptions) between coffee bean size and coffee flavor.??
Altura means height in Spanish and is used to describe high grown, or mountain grown, coffee.??
Excelso is used mostly as a coffee grading term, especially in Colombia. Excelso coffee beans are large, but slightly smaller than Supremo coffee beans. Excelso coffee beans pass through Grade 16 (16/64" diameter) sieve perforations, but are too large to pass through Grade 14 (14/64" diameter) sieve perforations. The term "Excelso" is used as a coffee quality "grade" due to the general correlation (with many exceptions) between coffee bean size and coffee flavor. Colombia Supremo coffee beans are slightly larger than excelso beans and will pass through Grade 18 (18/64" diameter) sieve perforations, but are too large to pass through Grade 16 perforations. Supremo and Excelso coffee beans may come from the same tree, but are sorted by size.??
Grade is generally used to indicate coffee bean size, which is associated with coffee quality. While there are many exceptions, coffee beans grown at higher elevations tend to be denser, larger, and have better flavor. The process of determining coffee bean size, or grading, is done by passing unroasted beans through perforated containers, or sieves. For example, Grade 18 beans, also called AA, will pass through a sieve with 18/64" diameter holes, but are retained by the next smaller sieve with 16/64" diameter holes. Traditionally, even grades were used for Arabicas (20, 18, 16, etc), and odd numbers were used for Robustas (17, 15, 13, etc). The method of grading coffee (classifying coffee quality) varies by country, and may include bean size, bean density, number of defects, growing altitude, taste, etc.??
Synonymous with "high grown (HG)", "hard bean (HB)" refers to coffee grown at altitudes about 4,000 - 4,500 feet above sea level. Beans grown at high altitudes mature more slowly and grow to be harder and denser than beans grown at lower elevations. The inherent consistency and taste attributes of high grown beans makes them more desirable, and generally more expensive, than coffees grown at lower elevations. ??
Strictly Hard Bean
Synonymous with "strictly high grown (SHG)", "strictly hard bean (SHB)" usually refers to coffee grown at altitudes higher than about 4,500 feet above sea level. Beans grown at high altitudes mature more slowly and grow to be harder and denser than beans grown at lower elevations. The inherent consistency and taste attributes of high grown beans makes them more desirable, and generally more expensive, than coffees grown at lower elevations. ??
Strictly Soft Bean
Strictly Soft (SS) beans are grown at relatively low altitudes (under 4,000 feet). Beans grown at lower altitudes mature quickly and produce a lighter, less dense bean. Strictly Soft Arabica beans have a more rounded flavor compared to the generally more flavorful and dense Arabica beans grown at higher elevations.??
Used mostly as a coffee grading term in Colombia. Supremo coffee beans are slightly larger than Excelso beans and will pass through Grade 18 (18/64" diameter) sieve perforations, but are too large to pass through Grade 16 perforations. Supremo and Excelso coffee beans may come from the same tree, but are sorted by size. Excelso coffee beans are also large, but slightly smaller than Supremo coffee beans. Excelso coffee beans will pass through Grade 16 (16/64" diameter) sieve perforations, but are too large to pass through Grade 14 (14/64" diameter) sieve perforations. The term "Supremo" is used as a coffee quality "grade" due to the general correlation (with many exceptions) between coffee bean size and coffee flavor. ??
Edited by ginny on 03/13/2013 12:28 PM
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