If you're looking to expand your coffee horizons with new blends or flavors but don't know where to start, we've got the guide for you. Many coffee lovers often find themselves starting off by figuring out the type of roast they like (light, medium, dark). However, a lesser known option to many is choosing your coffee by country or geographical region. Climate is one of the most influential factors in coffee flavor and choosing your coffee by country offers additional refinement at the start of the process. Obviously, the processing, roasting and even the individual farmer will cause variations in taste and aromas; but all things considered, you can get a fairly accurate idea of what to expect from a coffee based on where it comes from.
This guide will give you an outline on how to choose your next coffee based on it's country of origin. (Quick note: beyond geographic region, there are also different species of coffee beans. The two most popular types of beans are Arabica and Robusta)
Coffee Profiles for Choosing Your Coffee by Country: Geographical Tasting Notes
Heralded as the birthplace of coffee, Ethiopia is the only country where coffee is grown in the wild. Ethiopian coffee is processed differently to anywhere else in the world as well, using a process where the cherry is dried naturally before removing it. This results in a bright and complex flavour profile, with the famous blueberry undertones. If you're looking for something full-bodied, full-flavored, fragrant-rich, and intense, then Ethiopian coffees will make an excellent choice. For those coffee lovers that appreciate a bold coffee experience, Ethiopian coffee is a great starting point.
Recommended Best Ethiopian Coffees
Topping our list of some of the best Ethiopian coffees is Out of the Grey Coffee. offers an excellent 100% organic sampling of the some finest coffee Ethiopia has to offer. We recommend their Ethiopian Harrar Blend. It's rich and sweet flavor is preceded by a delicious nutty flavor that's serves as a perfect complement.
The climate plays an especially large role in Kenyan coffee with it's complex soil and little shade. It's coffee has a distinct flavor profile owing to its generally higher levels of acidity. This gives it a tart finish, with more acidic fruit notes such as blackcurrant and grapefruit. Known in the industry for it's high quality, it has a very clean finish and it's acidity means the flavors still express themselves well when used in iced coffee.
Recommended Best Kenyan Coffees
If you're looking for top-rated Kenyan coffee in K Cup or coffee pod format, check out the Roastmasters Reserve. This brand sources its coffee from the high elevation mountains of Mt. Elgon, an area renown for its prized coffee beans.
Central American Coffees
Central America produces a large amount of the coffee beans consumed in the USA, so these are the ones you'll typically find in standard coffee shops and supermarkets. Acidity levels vary from one Central American country's bean to the next, but one words is consistent in their description: balance. Guatemala beans tend to be rich and flavorful, higher in acidity and have a chocolate flavor whereas beans from Costa Rica will be lower in acidity, lighter and have citrusy notes. Costa Rican coffee in particular is known for its bright and full-bodiedness.
Recommended Best Central American Coffees
Having sampled this blend, we can confidently say that Cafe Britt makes an exquisite coffee that captures the essence of Central American coffee bean quality.
South American Coffees
The other big player in supplying the USA with it's coffee beans is South America, namely Columbia and Brazil.
Colombia: Colombian coffee beans are noticeably sweet with well-balanced acidity. If you're looking for dependable and consistent flavor, the Colombian coffee bean is a solid choice.
Brazil: Brazil is the largest coffee grower in the world and their coffee is known to be creamier than it's other South American counterparts with a chocolaty flavor and, sometimes, a smokier aftertaste. It's this chocolaty aftertaste that makes Brazilian coffee beans ideal for espresso. Brazilian coffee is characterized by a clear, low-acid, and medium body taste with a distinct sweetness.
Bolivia: One of the lesser known coffee producers in South America is Bolivia. Their coffees tend to be malty with deep and rich chocolate notes, making them a perfect after dinner coffee.
Recommended Best South American Coffees
If your choosing your coffee by country, then pay special note to Indonesia. Many long time coffee lovers don't realize that the Indonesian coffee bean is one of them most prized beans in the world. Indonesian coffees have a distinct difference to African, South, and Central American coffees in that they are often shade grown. Shade grown coffee takes longer but allows more nutrients from the soil to be absorbed into the coffee bean. This results in low acidity and full body, with some having a savory or even earthy undertones.
Indonesia produces two well-known coffees; Sumatra and Java. Coffees grown in Sumatra are some of the world's finest and are Mandheling, Ankola, and Lintong. These are famous for their intense flavors of chocolate, savory notes and sometimes liquorice. Java is lighter than other Indonesian coffees with herbaceous flavors and a smoky aftertaste. It's commonly blended with Yemen Mocha Coffee to make Mocha Java.
Recommended Best Indonesian Coffee
Coffee was brought to Vietnam by the French in the 1800's. Today, they are the second largest global supplier of coffee. Almost all of Vietnamese coffee's are made with Robusta beans which are particularly well-suited for the country's hot and humid climate. This coffee takes particularly well to dark roasting and has notes of molasses and dark chocolate. It should be noted that Robusta coffee beans generally have 3 times the amount of caffeine as the Arabica bean. For a real Vietnamese coffee experience, try making it with a drip coffee maker and adding condensed milk. The strength and bitterness of the coffee matches perfectly with the sweet, thick condensed milk.
Recommended Best Vietnamese Coffee: Copper Cow Coffee
Hawaii is famous for it's Kona coffee. Making up only 1% of the world's coffee production, it is very rare. Kona uses Arabica beans and owes it's reputation to the unique growing environment on the Hawaiian mountainside. The volcanic soil is very high in nutrients, and it's unique climate of sunny mornings and cloudy afternoons make it very hard to replicate elsewhere. Kona is light, sweet and fruity with nutty undertones. It's known for its impressive aroma and unmistakably smooth finish.
Recommended Best Hawaiian Coffee
Not all Kona blends are considered equal with their varying degrees of quality and quantity. If you're aiming for the best and most authenticity in Kona coffee, then we suggest checking out Royal Kona. Known for their 100% Kona coffee offerings, this coffee has earned its place among the most respected hotels and fine dining establishments throughout Hawaii. For a more extensive list, check out our article for Best Hawaiian Coffees.
Naturally, this list is not exhaustive. There just wasn't enough to space to cover every bean from every country that produces coffee so we covered only the major ones. Whether you're new to the coffee scene or just looking to explore new flavors, choosing your coffee by country or region can help you find exactly what you're taste buds are looking for.
If you're looking for additional help with finding the best coffee for your taste buds, check out our infographic on choosing the best coffee.