Most of us are not very adventurous when it comes to selecting our coffees. We tend to stick to our favorite brand of all American medium roast, and our most difficult decision is whether to take instant or spend a bit longer making filter. However, there are a fantastic range of coffees available from a wide variety of countries, and learning a little about the possibilities can help us to discover what we really want in a coffee.
The biggest coffee grower globally is Brazil, which should come as no surprise when you consider that one third of the land is ideal for coffee production. With such a large volume, the varieties of Brazilian coffee are numerous, but some of the more popular blends are from Minas Gerais and Bahia. Less is produced in Columbia, although this may be a better known coffee producer. Exquisite Columbian coffees from Popayan or Narino, are sweet gentle blends available as supreme or excelso.
Other less well known coffee producers in the Americas are Mexico and Cuba. The small beans grown in Mexico make a lightly acidic coffee with a smooth flavor that can rival Columbian or Brazilian blends. The strong dark Cuban Cubano is drunk in shot form and can really give you a lift.
Looking to other parts of the globe, Indonesia has an ideal climate for coffee production and the roasts from this area have a low acidity and a full bodied flavor. Malaysia produces a stronger brew, largely due to their practice of filtering the grounds through a muslin bag, rather than because of fundamental differences in the beans. A chilled alternative is offered in Thailand, where a special blend flavored with chicory is mixed with ice and condensed milk.
In Europe, each country seems to have its own idea of how to make the perfect cup. The French maintain that half coffee and half milk is the best combination, whereas the Austrians favor a mixture of dark and regular roasts to produce a particular blend.
The Italians are particularly fanatical about their coffee, particularly espresso which no dinner would be properly ended without. For those that find the espresso a little strong, it can be combined with warm frothy milk to make a latte or cappuccino. Italian cafes would not be the same without the delicious aroma from the cappuccino machines.
So next time you have coffee on your shopping list, take a look at the varieties on offer, and perhaps choose a couple of different types from around the world so you can experiment and determine what it is you really like in your coffee.
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