Whether you’re new to the coffee drinking world or have been at it for years, there are a lot of different terminologies that are used to describe variations of coffee. Before we introduce you to the best coffee in the world, we want to make sure that you understand all of the coffee terminologies. Therefore, we have put together a little coffee dictionary for you. Use some of this terminology on your next caffeine run, and you’ll look like the ultimate coffee connoisseur.
To begin our journey on mastering the art of drinking coffee (yes, that’s a thing), we’re going to start out with talking about the body of the coffee.
The body simply means the weight of the coffee when it’s in your mouth. Simple enough, right? The body of the coffee can be either light, medium, or full.
- A coffee with a light (or mild) body feels almost like water in your mouth. You’ll know the coffee is light if it has very little texture and also leaves no residue on the tongue.
- A coffee with a heavy or a full body is easily felt on the tongue because it has texture.
- A heavy body coffee is brewed with a combination of fat, protein, and fiber content that results in a thick consistency.
- A medium body coffee has attributes of both light and heavy bodied coffee depending on how it’s brewed. If one enjoys a lighter coffee but prefers a heavier mouthfeel, they can brew it without a filter to create a medium consistency. If you’re more of a heavy body person but want to tone it down a bit, try brewing your coffee with a filter to lighten it up.
We know this is a lot to take in, but we’re just getting started!
Along with the consistency of coffee, there are other terms to describe the body such as acidic, bitter, sweet, and aromatic. Despite our best efforts, these terms can be a bit difficult to understand without tasting the coffee by yourself.
That’s why we highly recommend attending a class with a coffee roaster, so that you can learn to put the terms to a taste.
Whether you’re an avid coffee drinker or just stepping into the coffee world, this could be a fun weekend activity for even the biggest caffeine fanatic. You’ll get to learn something new, and maybe branch away from the ‘caramel mocha latte with extra foam and whipped cream’.
Best Coffee around the World
Did we lose you yet? You probably didn’t think about how much goes into a single cup of coffee on your daily Starbuck runs, right? Not only are there different terms, consistencies, and traits that make each type of coffee unique, but geography also plays a huge part in deciphering your average cup of joe. It’s time to go on an international coffee run! Don’t worry, you’ll also learn everything there is to know about your favorite caffeinated drink.
With Africa being the birthplace of coffee it’s no surprise that Kenya is known to produce some of the best coffee in the world.
Kenyan coffee is powerfully sweet with a full body which gives off bright notes of lemony citrus, pepper, and blackberry.
Doesn’t sound like your average cup of coffee, does it? The combination of these distinct flavors gives off a dry and wine-like aftertaste that is easily distinguishable among other types of coffee.
So you may be thinking, what makes Kenyan coffee so special? Well, it’s all about the beans. Kenyan coffee beans grow in the volcanic soil of the high plateaus that surround the snow-capped Mount Kenya. Kenyan coffee beans get their flavor due to the vast amount of time they take to grow and absorb nutrients at a higher altitude than normal. Coffee growers take advantage of the unique climate, soil, and elevation to brew the kind of coffee worth traveling the world for.
If Kenyan coffee is a little too strong for your liking, Tanzanian coffee should do the trick. Tanzanian coffee has a medium body with a bright, fruit-toned acidity that makes each cup unique. The rich flavor of this blend has a distinct mixture of sweet berry and fruity undertones along with tart notes of black currant. As you drink it, the blackcurrant softens to chocolate which helps to tone down the tartness and create a more mild feel on the tongue. Much like Kenya, the Tanzanian beans grow much differently than your traditional coffee beans. Traditional coffee beans grow in twos on a fruit flat resembling two halves of a peanut. However, tanzanian beans grow inside coffee cherries that encase a whole unroasted bean. They are also smaller in size than traditional coffee beans, resulting in a sweeter and more concentrated taste. If your new mission is to get your hands on these sweet beans, you can find them growing on Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro at an elevation of 1400-1800 meters above sea level. You might want to stick with a local coffee shop for now.
Hawaiian Kona Coffee
Now onto the lighter side of things! If you’re looking for a simple coffee that’s weightless in your mouth, Kona coffee is the one for you.
Hawaiian Kona coffee is clean with a medium body that combines bright acidity with a buttery and wine-like undertone to create the perfect blend of unique flavors.
The Kona Coffee gets its consistency from the beans that are roasted, for only a short period of time, producing a light and mild body.
Its complex mix creates the aromatic smell and distinct aftertaste making it easily identifiable amongst other cups of coffee.
These coffee beans are grown in a 30 by 1-mile radius with elevations ranging from 500 to 2,500 feet high. This region is known as the Kona Coffee Belt in Hawaii’s Kona district. You can find the 500 farms of the Kona Coffee Belt situated on the western slopes of the Mauna and Hualalai volcanoes. Each cup of decadence is even brewed with love!
No, not like that. Kona coffee is hand picked by farmers about 8 times per season when the cherry peak ripens.
Our next caffeine filled adventure brings us to Nicaraguan coffee. Nicaraguan coffee consists of a mild body with a fruity brightness that gives off a citrus and floral sensation. This coffee is light on the tongue and has a tangy berry-like flavor which adds to the citrus orange aftertaste.
Recently, Nicaraguan coffee made its way back to the top of the list of best coffee beans in the world.
The best-known coffee in Nicaragua is grown in the Jinotega, Matagalpa, and Segovia regions in the shade under the banana and mango trees, at elevations of 1,000 to 1,400 meters high. If you’re a cold brew coffee addict, your next go-to will be Nicaraguan coffee.
The coffee beans come from plants such as Typica, Pacamara, and Maragogype that produce a more concentrated flavor without the acidity.
The strong flavor without the acidic tart makes it the perfect cold coffee for your summer.
Sumatra Mandheling Coffee
The last stop on our international coffee tour brings us to the famous Sumatra Mandheling coffee. This coffee has a full body with a rich, complex taste. This is due to the earthy undertones and herbal aroma that is native to the region. Sumatra coffee has low levels of acidity, though just enough to be vibrant partly because of their geography.
These beans have a unique taste when roasted because they are not grown at high altitudes. They also rely solely on the rich volcanic soil and tropical climate that the region provides. You’ll find Sumatra Mandheling beans growing in the west-central region near Padang at an elevation between 2,500 and 5,000 feet above sea level. If your love for coffee is new, Sumatra may be the perfect starting point to embark on your caffeinated adventure.
Now that you know all there is about the best coffee in the world, it’s time to put your new knowledge to the test! Try using some coffee terminology or branching out with a new kind of coffee on your next coffee date. If you and your friends prefer coffee over mimosas, try attending a coffee tasting class! You might just discover your perfect cup of joe for your early mornings to get you ready for the day.
Do you want to take a coffee tasting class but don’t know where to start? We recommend gathering your crew and heading to Joe Coffee, located in both Philadelphia and New York City. You’ll learn all there is to know about coffee from the tastes to the consistencies. You’ll even learn about the aroma. After all, don’t talk to me until I’ve had my coffee, right?