African versus South American coffee – What’s the difference? There are more than Arabica versus Robusta, Iced versus Hot coffee debates in the coffee world, but there is also the African coffee vs. South American coffee debacle.
One will inevitably prefer the other as the two are significantly different, even if prepared in the same manner, and both will use the same kind of bean. Here, we will try to find out the differences between the two types of beans, what they taste like, and how they fare well with each other.
The differences between South American coffee and African coffee are never more evident on their taste notes. While South American coffee is often nuttier, African coffee is fruitier.
It is mesmerizing when certain climates and regions can affect how something tastes, especially when the difference is as striking as coffee beans. Whenever there is a weird phenomenon going on, it is always our task to explain it.
The Origins: Why They Matter And What Makes It Matter
When I first met my coffee aficionado peers, I always found myself amazed whenever they said something on the grounds of, “Why does it taste bright? Probably coffee from Central America.” Before, I could never have grasped the concept until I understood why coffee origins matter and what makes them matter.
Of course, I never researched the whole story not until I found myself in some African coffee vs. South American coffee debate. However, that is a story for another day, it seems. In this section of the article, however, we will need to understand how the origins of your precious coffee beans affect their taste.
It will be effortless to dismiss the whole “taste difference” thing as nothing more than just a coincidence. However, this is not so. This phenomenon is not a coincidence but more of a series of ingeniously orchestrated events powered by human will, nature, and chances.
In this section of the article, we will tell you the story of the differences.
It Is No Coincidence. It Is Science. (The Story Of The Differences Of African Versus South American Coffee)
Coffee first originated in Ethiopia as an energy-boosting medicinal plant that helped monks stay awake for long periods of meditation. However, it did not take long for the magic bean that is coffee to take over the world.
Today, coffee is found in virtually almost all territories worldwide, enjoyed by many women, men, children, teens, and adults as a delicious concoction with an electrifying twist.
Today’s coffee is very different from what it was known as before, and with that also comes the difference in taste. If you live in the western hemisphere, most especially true in the United States and Canada, most of the coffee you have drunk is probably from South America. This preference is because most prefer its chocolatey, nutty taste.
The reason behind its taste stems from its geography. South America is very blessed with high mountains with a rich tropical climate. Because of this, South America is often referred to as “coffee heaven” due to its climate and its soil being hugely favorable to the coffee plant.
If you did not know, coffee grows best in humid, tropical climates. Almost all coffee plants, especially Arabica, thrive in higher altitudes such as of the mountain ranges present in South America.
As you can see, geography plays a significant role in determining what tastes each coffee bean will give. As such, we will now try to grasp the taste of African coffee versus South American coffee.
The Taste Test – African Versus South American Coffee
We have now arrived at the most awaited section of the article– the taste test. In this section, let us understand how each regional coffee variety: African coffee versus South American coffee, fare with each other. Let us start this comparison with a classic: the South American coffee.
South American Coffee: How Does It Taste?
South America is the closest coffee-producing region to North America, making them the prime source of coffee beans for Americans and Canadians. As the North American area is one of the largest coffee markets, it is no surprise that the South American coffee industry is very mature in its processes and overall administration.
You can most certainly hear people refer to South American coffee with the following flavors: consistent, classic, nutty, caramel-like, and chocolaty. Let us discuss these flavor profiles one by one, shall we?
We have already discussed the sheer presence of South American coffee in the North American market. Because this is so, South American coffee is often synonymous with “classic coffee.” It is no surprise that South American coffee is often associated with a more familiar taste.
The consistency in South American flavors comes from their greater control of the processing method, as South American coffee farmers have more agency with their products than other farmers. Because of this, they have even started producing a “washed coffee” variety, a consistent, more flavorful variety of coffee.
Coffee from South America, especially Colombia, is known for its chocolatey flavor profile, reminiscent of cacao, the plant from which chocolate comes. Moreover, South American coffee has the aroma and taste of almonds, and hazelnuts, thus giving it a name for being “nutty.” Their sweet flavor profile also makes them more akin to caramel.
South American Coffee Flavor Notes:
What Does African Coffee Taste Like?
Now that we have discussed everything you might need to know about South American coffee’s flavor profile let us discuss the Atlantic Ocean’s coffee bean. Let us discuss African coffee.
African coffee is often associated with being flowery, having notes of citrus, berries, and fruits. Moreover, they are very exotic-tasting, being not very common in North America.
The African continent is an Atlantic ocean away, which hinders its familiarity with the North American tongue. If you are new to the African coffee flavor profiles, you might be appalled by such peculiar taste. However, once you get to know it better, you may be surprised by how exotic fruits notes explode in your mouth.
African coffee is more about power: they deliver the fruity and citrus-like taste with a powerful punch. To some, they are an acidic variant, especially when compared to the smooth coffee of South America. However, because they are grown at such immense altitudes, one cannot simply avoid appreciating their taste and unique texture and flavor.
Unlike South American coffee, African coffee is not as burnt, so that you may be surprised by the variety of flavors packed within a single cup of coffee. While South American coffee is a classic, like a steak, African coffee is colorful and diverse, like Thai food.
African Coffee Flavor Notes:
Questions You May Ask
Is South American Coffee Better Than African Coffee?
They taste different. More emphasis on the word different. South American coffee tastes more in line with the American and Canadian taste buds, but that does not mean superior.
Think of it like this, while the American turkey is genuinely classic and a must-have, it does not mean that it is the best food out there, as oriental cuisines such that of Japanese and Chinese food may find themselves in joy with your taste buds.
At What Regions Does Coffee Grow?
Coffee grows in many regions worldwide. For example, they may grow in South America, Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America, and more. Each has its flavor profile giving them a unique color and a complimenting ability.
If you want to know what coffee is the best for you, make sure to try coffee from all around the world! Even coffee from Brazil will taste significantly different compared to Colombia’s!
Who Consumes The Most Coffee?
Finland consumes the most coffee at more than 26 pounds per capita!