African Coffee

Ethiopian

Flavor Characteristics (see Coffee Taste Terms):

  • Complexity: Complex and balanced - a "busy" flavor
  • Acidity: Medium
  • Body: Medium mouthfeel, like 2% milk

Facts about Ethiopian coffee

  • Facts: The birthplace of coffee.
  • Region: Eastern Africa, east of Sudan, north of Kenya
  • Main growing areas: Yirgacheffe, Harar
  • This is where it all began. All coffee originates from trees that grew in Ethiopia, and its beans that traded between itself and neighboring Yemen.
  • Ethiopian coffee is still one of the most celebrated coffees in the world. Look for coffees from the Yirgacheffe area.

If you like Ethiopian coffee, you might like...

  • Kenyan coffee: These two coffees are very similar. Both have a complex (or "busy") flavor that is still balanced so that it represents many different but complimentary coffee nuances. Both have a similar consistency, like 2% milk. The biggest difference is that Kenyan coffee is much brighter, or higher in acidity, than Ethiopian coffee.
  • Peruvian coffee: Coffee from Peru has a much simpler complexity in flavor, but like Ethiopian coffee, has a medium acidity or tart and a similar consistency or mouthfeel that is considered medium.
  • Jamaican coffee: Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, so you might consider a blend that uses Blue Moutain beans rather than pure. The two coffees are very similar in that they have a complex and balanced flavor combined with a medium brightness. The difference is that Blue Moutain coffee can have an earthy (or "dirty") aroma to it while Ethiopian coffee, particularly from Yirgacheffe, is considered to have a more floral aroma.

Kenyan

Flavor Characteristics (see Coffee Taste Terms):

  • Complexity: Complex and balanced
  • Acidity: High
  • Body: Medium mouthfeel, like 2% milk

Facts about Kenyan coffee

  • Facts: A British colony, Kenya was more a tea-drinking nation and developed coffee-growing relatively late.
  • Region: east Africa, south of Ethiopia, north of Tanzania
  • Main growing areas: Mt. Kenya, Aberdare, Kisii, Nyanza
  • The distinction is in the "AA" grade. Kenya's production and export of coffee is state-run, including a rating system of AA, A, and B. B-grade coffee likely doesn't leave the country unless it's to another country with demand for any coffee over good coffee - it's an unfortunate and ironic fact that the people of coffee-producing nations drink some of its lowest-grade coffee, as the rest is exported to satisfy our demand.
  • With the popularity of Kenya's AA-grade coffee, you will not likely see a vendor promoting simply A-grade coffee, so expect that a Kenyan blend of coffee contains at least some A-grade beans, or else it would be promoted as AA-grade. You might also hear about Kenya Auction Lot, which refers to the government's method of selling its beans by auctions to buyers that have already sampled the coffee.

If you like Kenyan coffee, you might like...

  • Sumatran coffee: Coffee drinkers that like one are likely to like the other. Both have complex flavors although Sumatran coffee is a "bolder" taste than the more balanced Kenyan coffee. Both are high in acidity and have similar texture in body - medium like 2% milk. Sumatran coffee does have an earthy aroma than Kenyan coffee lacks, but some coffee lovers are turned off by the earthy -almost dirty- flavor.
  • Ethiopian coffee: Both coffees have complex and balanced flavors and both have similar textures in body. Kenyan coffee is higher in acidity than Ethiopian coffee, which also has a floral aromatic quality that Kenyan coffee lacks.
  • Jamaican coffee: Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee is the most expensive coffee in the world, so you might consider a blend that uses Blue Moutain beans rather than pure. The two coffees are very similar in that they have a complex and balanced flavor combined with a medium brightness. The difference is that Blue Moutain coffee can have an earthy (or "dirty") aroma to it while Ethiopian coffee, particularly from Yirgacheffe, is considered to have a more floral aroma.

Yemeni Mocha

Flavor Characteristics (see Coffee Taste Terms):

  • Complexity: Complex and balanced
  • Acidity: High
  • Body: Medium-heavy, like whole milk
  • Aroma: Floral

Facts about Yemeni Mocha coffee

  • Fact: The most popular and common coffee from this country is Yemen Mocha, one of two parts in the infamous Mocha Java blend.
  • Region: south of Saudi Arabia, east of Ethiopia
  • Main growing areas: central mountains of Yemen
  • Yemeni Mocha Coffee Name: This coffee comes with the most general confusion in name. The Mocha in Yemeni Mocha coffee makes reference to the old port of Mocha from which this country's coffee and neighboring Ethiopia's coffee was first exported to the world. Unlike most coffees of the world, Mocha does not make reference to the part of Yemen where the beans are grown. Rather, it is the name of a now-defunct trading port through which coffee became known to the world. Complicating this otherwise simple misunderstanding is how the word 'mocha' has become synonamous with chocolate over the years. The Yemeni Mocha coffee has nothing to do with chocolate, whereas a Cafe Mocha or Mocha Coffee or Mochachino is used to describe the mixture of coffee and chocolate. Learn more about making cafe mocha by clicking here.
  • Over the history of coffee, likely the first blend of beans and what is now the world's most popular blend is the Mocha Java coffee, making reference to two different beans - the Yemeni Mocha bean and the Indonesian Java bean. For many, this is the perfectly balanced blend as it combines very wide-ranging coffee flavors but captured in a balance so that they complement each other. Yemeni Mocha's contribution to this blend is of the 'stronger' flavors...by itself, it is a very bold cup of coffee.

If you like Yemeni Mocha coffee, you might like...

  • Kenyan coffee: Both of these coffees feature very bold and complex flavors with a high acidity. Yemeni coffee is generally thicker in body than Kenyan coffee, and has a floral aroma that you won't find in Kenyan coffee.
  • Guatemalan coffee: This is another bold cup of coffee very similar to Yemeni coffee. Both are complex in flavor, high in acidity, medium-heavy in body, and with floral aroma. Guatemalan coffee is generally a touch spicier than Yemeni coffee, which I can only describe as a 'serious' cup of coffee.

Check out Marc's posts on Coffees of the World