Like wine, coffee expresses regional characteristics and exhibits the effects of its terroir, or "taste of place." Differences in soil, altitude, rainfall, processing techniques, and even social conditions affect what's in the cup.
Generally, coffee is grouped into three major growing areas, each with region-specific flavors and aromas:
From The Americas
American coffees come from places as distant as Hawaii, and Central and South America, and are as diverse as their native lands. From rich, spicy Guatemalans to mild, sweet Peruvians, American coffees are those we think of as "classic." They tend to be both smooth and wonderfully balanced, with a perfect sparkle on the tongue and rich aromas that enchant the nose. Click here for a slideshow of the Americas. Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6, Photo 7, Photo 8, Photo 9.
African coffees first grew wild in the steep, verdant mountains of the continent, fed by rich soil, strong sun and rushing rains. African coffees are very distinctive. They have a primordial feel to them - a wild, winey, berry-like flavor. Click here for a slideshow of Africa. Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6.
Indonesian coffees are treasured for their rich, smooth taste and heady aroma. They are distinguished by their full body and heavy mouth-feel. Complex, earthy and lush, they can easily carry their flavor through milk. Click here for a slideshow of Indonesia. Photo 2, Photo 3, Photo 4, Photo 5, Photo 6, Photo 7.