What’s Your Coffee? by Reg Coffey, February 13, 2012

A World of Coffee

CFN – The last article I wrote I described how to make a good cup of coffee. I talked about the freshness of the coffee, the water and the brewer but I did not talk about the basic flavour or flavours of coffee. This is a difficult subject because coffee isn’t a flavour but a combination of flavours, tastes and aromas, and taste perception is very personal and individual. Not everyone tastes the same things since the differences in tasting perception are based on experience, environment and DNA as well as personal health at the time of drinking your coffee. Smokers are well known to have diminished capacity to taste subtleties in food and beverages.

“Coffee is a sensual experience as well as a wake-up pill, and if it is drunk at all, it should be drunk well and deliberately, rather than swilled half cold out of Styrofoam plastic sups while we work. Enjoying good coffee may not save the world, but it certainly won’t hurt.” – Kenneth Davids, Coffee – A Guide to Buying, Brewing, and Enjoying. 5th Edition

Now having said that I am going to try and describe some of the basic characteristics of coffees grown in different regions around the world which may direct your coffee preferences. The origin of coffee has been identified as modern day Ethiopian but it is now grown around the world in the area between the Tropic of Cancer and Capricorn called the Bean Belt. In each area coffee has developed its own characteristics due in large to the differences in soil. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules depending on the variety of the bean, the weather during the growing season, etc, etc, but I am only trying to give you a guide. As you explore more and more single origin *specialty* coffees you will recognize what you like and when you like it. I would like to point out that *specialty* coffees refer to premium quality Arabica coffee beans, not the vanilla flavoured cara-mocha crap-a-chino coffee like beverages sold in the low end coffee chains.

The following description is an excerpt from the http://www.merchantsofgreencoffee.com web site. I couldn’t have written the descriptions any better so why not give credit where credit is due.

What Makes One Coffee Bean Different From Another?

Coffee acquires unique taste characteristics from its geography – soil, water, air, flora, etc. While entire books have been written about varietals and the art of Cupping Coffee, coffee taste can be described and generally characterized by continent of origin.

AfricaHigh acidity / low body

Coffees from Africa are distinctly bright (similar to citrus), sweet (fruits and floral), with a dry wine finish. Countries to note are: Ethiopia, Yemen, Tanzania, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Uganda.

South AsiaLow acidity / high body

Coffees from Asia are rich and full bodied, with heavy earth and spice flavours. Countries to note are: India, Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, Papua New Guinea.

Latin America Medium acidity / medium body

Coffees from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, possess a full spectrum of tastes from fruit and earth to nut, vanilla and chocolate. They are intensely aromatic. Countries to note are Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Cuba, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

So there you have it, a general description of the usual unique characteristics of coffee grown in three different growing regions as tasted by experts. Keep in mind though that the truly great coffees usually are exceptions to the rules and your taste impressions are your own. Don’t be afraid to try new coffees but also don’t be afraid of enjoying a coffee that the critics don’t like.

For more information on the coffees that I have available please go to my web site,


Coffey's Coffee


  1. Hi Reg,

    I don’t drink coffee because I find it very strong! However, I have started drinking more teas over the years and I am trying to kick my Diet Pepsi addiction!

    I am also on a diet and I am allowed coffee for the caffeine! What would you recommend a someone like me start with? I was hoping there would be a common solution like none wine drinkers starting with coolers, then on to a zinfandel, then white, then to red, etc.

    Do you have any recommendations? I think I wouldn’t mind something that tastes like chocolate, vanilla or fruit! What do the generic canned and Tim hortons mixes use because I do not like those?

    Thank You,
    Mike Bedard

  2. COFFEE <3

  3. Life is too short to drink stuff you don’t like, but if you want to drink coffee why don’t you try café au lait. It is just brewed coffee mixed half and half with steamed milk. The smoothest coffee that I have available right now is the Jamaica Blue Mountain but at $38 /lb it might be a bit large of an investment for a beginner. As for flavoured coffee, there are no prepackaged flavoured coffees worth drinking. If you want flavour add it after the coffee is brewed like Kahlua or Bailey’s or Irish Whiskey……..or you could get some flavour syrup, but what fun is that.

    Actually there is nothing wrong with drinking good tea either. I grew up on tea and I still enjoy a well brewed cuppa black tea every morning and green tea in the evening. Of course I have my own tea packaged specifically for my company (which I also sell).

    To me it’s not quantity that counts but quality, even in my business. I would love to sell mass quantities of coffee but I am just as happy to roast one pound at a time so my customers (and I) can enjoy the freshest coffee possible.

  4. For a full range of Coffey’s Coffee please visit Island Ink-Jet & Laser Toners Internet Cafe at 8 Third Street West in Cornwall. The carry the complete line of coffee from Reg. Many different tea’s are also available.

  5. Thank You, I don’t beleive I have ever tried Cafe au lait but I will give it a try!

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