There are 3 major regions in the world where coffee if grown: Central America, North Africa, and South Asia. Each region has its own distinct flavors and aroma. This comes from the minerals in the particular soil, the amount of precipitation, and the method of processing the beans. For this article, I will use Starbucks as an example; not for promotional reasons but since Starbucks is the most well known in the coffee industry.
By far the leading producers of coffee in the world, Brazil alone produces over 2 million metric tones of coffee each year. Latin American coffees go through a process called “washing”. After the beans are picked, they are pulped and fermented for 18 to 36 hours. This fermentation brings out an acidic flavor and smell from the beans. A good example of coffee from this region is the Starbucks Breakfast Blend or Organic Shade Grown Mexico.
Many consider North Africa as the birth place of coffee. Yemen was one of the first countries to brew coffee and sold their secrets to Italian aristocrats. North African coffees have a fruity, flowery flavor to them. The beans are left to dry with their beans inside to allow the bean to absorb more of the cherry’s flavor while it is drying on the bean. This process highlights a fruity, exotic and cocoa taste in the coffee. A good example of coffee from this region is the Starbucks Ethiopia Sidamo and Kenya blend.
South Asian coffees make the boldest coffees. The beans are separated from their cherries and laid out to dry. About halfway dry, a filament that protects the bean is separated from the bean and the drying process is completed. A good example of coffee from this region is the Starbucks Komodo Dragon and Sumatra blend.
It is recommended that the coffee is ground and consumed within a week of opening the bag, to keep the beans fresh. The grind depends on how the coffee is to be brewed. As a general rule, the longer the beans stay in contact with water, the coarser the grind can be; the average Mr. Coffee drip uses a medium grind.