Coffee Origins: Bean Bros

Coffee Regions | Bean Bros

Before we even get to taste a cup of coffee, we are faced with a characteristic that plays the main role in how that taste is going to come out. More than any other product, coffee is heavily influenced by the region where it was produced. 

The tasting notes of each bean are heavily influenced by where coffee is grown, along with the processing, roasting and, eventually, when it's prepared by your favourite barista or by yourself at the comfort of your home.

And even though there's a number of the world coffee maps you can come across, the list of the world's top 10 coffee producers is quite fixed now. Like the world speciality coffee map, it tends to vary thanks to new coffee producers finding their way to the top. 

It doesn't matter if you're buying the most expensive coffee beans in the world (even though those are probably pretty darn good), if the tasting notes are not “your cup of coffee”, you just won't be enjoying those as part of your morning ritual.

So what makes coffee beans so special and what regions made our list of favourites and why?

Main coffee-growing countries

It is hard to say what coffee is the best-tasting one because more than anything else, the golden rule of one man's trash is another man's treasure is gaining in importance when it comes to coffee. 

But as made pretty obvious in our collection, we do have our favourite picks when it comes to coffee regions around the world. We keep close relationships with the farmers harvesting our beans and visiting as often as possible (which has recently turned into “mission impossible”, thanks covid…).

So on top of Brazil, the country with the biggest coffee production globally, we headed to other main coffee-growing countries, like Colombia, Costa Rica, Kenya, and Ethiopia, where coffee is originally from.

Coffee origins are no less complicated today than they used to be at their inception, so let's have a look at the history of coffee, what does a single-origin mean, coffee characteristics that are behind the wonderful taste and which coffee-producing countries we love and why.

The family tree of the coffee plant keeps growing and developing as botanists find new species and varieties, but let's try to simplify things down. Of the Rubiaceae Family, there are four main varieties: Liberica, Robusta, Arabica and Excelsa.

Of these, only two made their way to the commercial market. Robusta and Arabica and varieties that even a novice would recognize. Robusta, generally considered to be of lower quality as Arabica, originally comes from lower altitudes that allowed the development of more bitter-tasting alkaloids, such as caffeine. 

This means that Robusta, having about half as much caffeine as Arabica, also developed a very bitter taste, which is why it can be found in a coffee mix with Arabica but doesn't stand on its own.

Arabica comes originally from higher altitudes and cooler climates which means lesser bitter alkaloids. On the other hand, Arabica is typical for having 50-80% more sugars than Robusta, cultivating the base for the delicious taste of its numerous varieties.

Just as important as the coffee bean variety is its processing and later on the roasting. From lightly roasted coffee beans to deciding between dark roast vs. medium roast, you should know that the amount of caffeine in those is more or less the same. 

And so choosing a roast and processing method falls purely on the taste and coffee bean type, you're looking for because you're going to get that coffee kick one way or another. The best espresso coffee beans are the ones you love the most.

Frequently asked questions about coffee origins

What is single-origin coffee?

Single origin coffee, or sometimes also referred to as a single estate coffee, comes from one specific farm or estate, while the blend comes from multiple different locations. Rare coffee beans can also come from a small section on a particular farm, called micro lots.

Where did coffee originate?

The coffee beans origin story dates centuries back into the ancient forests of Ethiopia where, as legend says, the beans have been discovered by a farmer, completely by accident. The history of coffee is complicated, having travelled all over the world and finding new ways to fall on the fertile soil and germinate into new varieties.

Which country produces the most coffee?

Currently, the largest producer of coffee in the world is Brazil, covering 35% of the world's production despite its drop from 80% in the 1920s due to more and more farms joining the market and more countries exporting coffee on international trade.