Java, Joe, jitter-juice and rocket fuel are just some of the beloved nicknames that this popular drink has inspired worldwide. Universally adored, coffee is such a constant in modern society that many people admit that they can’t begin their day without a cup. Coffee is so in demand and widely available that niche coffee shops, coffee trucks and trendy barista bars are sprouting up on every corner and your morning cuppa choices are infinite.
With coffee art, speciality cakes, poetry readings, soothing soundtracks and obscure décor to boot, cafe competition is high and the flavour game is strong. But amidst all the café hype, how much do you really know about the final flavour in your cup? Can you tell your Mocha from your Macchiato? Do you know where your favourite flavour originates from? Take a taste tour around the world and find your ideal cup of coffee starting with 5 famous coffee regions from Central America and the Caribbean.
Colombia has long been a destination associated with quality coffee and still remains a firm favourite in the flavour stakes today. Active in international coffee production since the early 19th century, Colombia produces smooth flavours unique to its exotic South American climate. Farmed at altitudes of 2,000m above sea level, this aromatic Andean mountain coffee is made from 100% washed Arabica beans. The resulting flavour has a mild to high acidity, producing a rich and full bodied taste sensation.
Costa Rica can be found just north of the equator and central to the Bean Belt, a belt of countries around the world which possess ideal coffee growing conditions. Costa Rica’s tropical climate of sunshine and rain combined with fertile soil have allowed some 70,000 farmers to make a living from the fruitful coffee trade. Most farmers here grow organic coffee and work alongside organisations to conserve biodiversity and sustainable living. Typical Costa Rican coffee has a smoothly sweet flavour with distinctive fruity aromas. Popular with Britain for years, up until World War 2 England was considered Costa Rica’s best coffee customer.
Coffee from Honduras is of a high quality and in recent years has become globally in demand. New initiatives have been put in place to aid and ease production. This puts coffee as the highest cash producing crop (over bananas) and has created an influx of employment opportunities for local Hondurans. Production is so high that six separate regions have been identified for coffee growing and each produce their own unique flavour. Try Copan – well balanced with a sharp aftertaste, also coffee flavoured chocolate. Slides – fruity fragrance with distinct orange and peach tones and a velvety aftertaste. Agalta – caramel and chocolate aftertaste with a sweet acidity. Or Opalaca – with flavours of sweet tropical fruits like blackberries and grapes.
Guatemala is a country rife with poverty yet rich in green luscious life and good conditions for agriculture. Biodiversity thrives due to the tropical climate, changeable humidity, rainfall, varying temperatures and altitudes making perfect conditions for coffee farming. Acres of shaded Arabica coffee trees adorn the volcanic mountains throughout Guatemala and at least seven regions are producing high quality Guatemalan coffee. Famous for its flavour worldwide, coffee coming from the southern regions of Antigua or Atitlan have a tang of spice or cocoa with a unique floral acidity.
Psst – Did you know that until recent times your Guatemalan packaged coffee may have been from Honduras? Smugglers repackaged their produce in an effort to get more money for their coffee.
Cuba is famed for its beautiful beaches, notorious cigars and velvety Havana Club rum but did you know that Cuba also produces some incredible and intense coffee that really packs a punch? Cuban coffee has a lasting flavour and is traditionally served espresso style with added sugar, commonly known as Café Cubabno or Cafecito. Handpicked from the remote mountains and transported by mules to be dried, roasted and pulverized, this coffee has been on quite a journey before it even reaches your cup.