Picking your coffee for home

Brewing filter coffee highlights the characteristics of the particular origin of beans that you’re using. You will notice a few things when buying your bag of coffee. Most specialty coffee roasters print the following on their retail coffee bags:

  •  The country of origin.
  •  The region within that country.
  •  The estate (the coffee farm).
  •  Roast date (the day the coffee was roasted). You want to buy the beans 1 or 2 days after they  have been roasted.
  •  Tasting notes (this will give you 3 or 4 flavours that the coffee should taste like).

This information will assist you when purchasing the coffee you desire. There's some other information that might interest you, but not all coffee roasters state/display it on the bags: 

  • The altitude, which is how high the coffee is grown above sea level ("masl” means meters above sea level). It also has an effect on how the coffee will taste. Generally, as the altitude increases, the coffee flavour profile becomes more pronounced and distinctive.  
  • How the coffee is processed (i.e. natural or washed). This will also have a big factor on how your coffee will taste. 
  • Which brewing method works best for those roasted beans.

All origins are great and have their own distinct characteristics. Don’t box yourself into one origin. Below are some flavour characteristics for origins commonly purchased that may help you choose your next coffee.

Central America: Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala

Well balanced, fruity, sweet, very clean, good acidity.

South America: Brazil, Colombia

Mild and bright. More sweetness, less acidity, chocolate and nutty.

Africa: Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda

Complex, diverse, bright, sweet, high acidity, fruity and floral.

Asia: India, Indonesia

Low acidity, earthy, nutty, bitter sweet.

These flavour characteristics are only a general outlook of the origin. Flavours can change dramatically depending on various factors. Your local specialty coffee roaster should be able to recommend the best coffee for your chosen brewing method.