How experts rated 1,229 coffees from countries around the world

The best coffee country in the world is Ethiopia, if hundreds of professional coffee tasters are to be believed.

That’s what the data shows on the interactive chart below, which displays grades given to 1,229 coffees from around the world that were harvested from 2010 to 2018 and graded by professional tasters certified by the Coffee Quality Institute. The CQI is a non-profit organization that works internationally to improve the quality of coffee and the lives of the people who produce it. Their certified coffee graders must pass 22 tests to prove they can grade coffee accurately and consistently by its aroma, flavor, acidity, body, balance and more.

The chart shows where coffees from the top 16 countries fell on the grading scale, with a maximum score of 100. Each coffee is represented by a dot, and you can hover over the dot to read more details about the coffee. (The graphic may take a moment to load.)

Coffee-growing countries and how their coffees were rated

Africa takes top three spots

Ethiopia’s coffees, as a group, fell higher on the scale than those of any other country. Two other African nations, Kenya and Uganda, rounded out the podium.

The chart excludes the coffee-growing regions that had fewer than 20 coffees graded, and we also discarded one coffee from Honduras that somehow earned a score of zero. (That would have been unfair to all the other Honduran coffees!)

As you can see, the dots get a little bit crowded for those countries that had a lot of coffees tested. To let you see more easily how the scores were distributed, we’ve broken out separate charts for each country below, listed in order. Again, each dot represents one coffee. The vertical red dotted line indicates the mean grade for all coffees from that country.

Country-by-country coffee grades

1. Ethiopia

Average rating: 84.88

2. Kenya

Average rating: 84.31

3. Uganda

Average rating: 84.05

4. Colombia

Average rating: 83.11

5. El Salvador

Average rating: 83.05

6. Costa Rica

Average rating: 82.79

7. Thailand

Average rating: 82.57

8. Indonesia

Average rating: 82.57

9. Brazil

Average rating: 82.41

10. Tanzania

Average rating: 82.37

11. United States

Average rating: 82.21

12. Taiwan

Average rating: 82.00

13. Guatemala

Average rating: 81.85

14. Mexico

Average rating: 80.89

15. Honduras

Average rating: 80.88

16. Nicaragua

Average rating: 80.46

So there you have it, a list of the top 16 coffee countries, in order, according to professional coffee graders. If you’ve ever wondered which country has the best coffee, the answer appears to be Ethiopia, where it all began.

Inspiration for this post came from Cédric Scherer’s data visualization, Not My Cup of Coffee. Data was provided by James LeDoux. Photo at top: © UK Department for International Development | Creative Commons

6 thoughts on “How experts rated 1,229 coffees from countries around the world”

  1. I don’t think it is accurate to conclude from this data that Ethiopia has the best coffee in the world. It has the highest average score of all of the coffees submitted for cupping to the CQI, which is both a very small set and self selected for producers who need an independent third party cup score to market their coffees internationally.

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  2. Interesting article. I challenge anyone to try coffee from Cameroon and render a verdict. Try the Arabica aroma if you like it smooth or the Robusta if you like it middle stout.
    For 30 years of drinking coffee in America I haven’t met a match to Cameroonian coffee. I often wonder why is Starbuck all over the globe yet their coffees can’t come close to the delicious taste of Cameroon coffees.
    I would be pleased to share samples for the love of it.
    internationalunitedresources@gmail.com

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