South American coffee tends to get all the love from mainstream coffee establishments. And trust us, we love South American coffee, too. But experts and connoisseurs also know that African coffee beans make for excellent, rich roasts.
Coffee’s Roots Are In Africa
Legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder named Kaldi first stumbled upon coffee beans about a millennium ago. According to the story, his goats at some mysterious berries and then wouldn’t sleep that night.
Kaldi shared this new fruit with a local monk who made a drink with the berries. He was able to stay awake and alert through the long nightly prayers, and soon news (and the drink) spread throughout the monastery.
Eventually, coffee made its way around the globe, and it currently holds the title of the third-most-consumed beverage in the world. Only water and tea are more popular, but let’s be honest. No one texts a friend to ask if they want to go grab a water and catch up. Coffee is a significant part of our society’s daily life.
African Coffee Is a Treasure
Africa produces about 12% of the world’s coffee supply, with much of it coming from East Africa. This incredible region has the perfect climate and soil conditions to produce luxurious, rich flavors.
The volcanic soil, combined with high altitudes and closeness to the equator, creates a unique growing environment. These conditions allow African coffee farmers to produce some of the most outstanding specialty beans anywhere.
And with such a long history of coffee cultivation, countries like Ethiopia and Kenya have highly-skilled farmers and workers. Coffee experts routinely choose African coffee as the best in the world.
This country is the biggest producer in Africa and is responsible for 3% of the global coffee supply. The coffee plantations and forests power one of Ethiopia’s most significant industries, accounting for almost 30% of its exports. And from growers to exporters, coffee employs about 15 million people in the country.
The Ethiopian Yirgacheffe coffee is one of the most highly-rated beans worldwide. As with most Ethiopian coffee, Yirgacheffe is a wet-washed bean. It generally produces a bright acidity with floral notes, and sometimes, there is a hint of toasted coconut or chocolate in the flavor. Others may have citrus and fruity tastes. Yirgacheffe coffee is a popular choice for iced coffee drinks.
To the south of Ethiopia is another big coffee producer, Kenya. Although it has a shorter history with this fruit, Kenya has developed an excellent coffee industry. It also utilizes a unique auction system for selling much of its coffee, bringing high prices for the best beans.
Kenyan coffees tend to be full-bodied and aromatic. Notes of blackberry, citrus, and black currant give a deep, rich flavor to these popular beans. Experts frequently compare Kenyan coffee to robust red wines.
African coffee relies on its own grading system, with “AA” being the biggest and most dense beans. Kenyan beans routinely gain AA ratings and are among the most delicious roasts available.
Moving south again, we come to Tanzania. This country’s coffee farms on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro produce its famous peaberry beans. Peaberry refers to a pod with just one seed instead of two. Tanzania peaberry coffee is very popular in the United States. The country’s beans also make appearances in many high-quality espresso blends.
Although Rwanda has only been producing coffee for a few decades, it has done so with excellence. The vast majority of coffee the country produces is specialty-grade. The high elevation creates dense beans, and excellent roasters know how to pull the perfect flavor from these without over-roasting.
East Africa isn’t the only coffee-producing region on the continent. Over on the western coast, Cameroon is also a player in this industry. Whereas the other African countries focus primarily on Arabica beans, Cameroon produces a high volume of Robusta plants. These beans are ideal in blends.
Cameroon also boasts its unique Boyo coffee from the northwestern region of the country. This smaller-scale production creates full-bodied coffee that is a treat to enjoy.
What’s Your Favorite?
No matter what coffee region you prefer, Equiano has you covered. From Asia to South America to Africa, we have something to please every palate. We work carefully to develop relationships with excellent farmers who produce the highest-quality beans possible.
Our team would love to see you in the tasting room, but if you can’t make it in, online ordering is a breeze. We ship throughout the nation, so you never have to go without your cup of Equiano.