The Coffee Belt Countries and Their Coffees

The Coffee Belt is an imaginary band that circles the globe around the equator, encompassing all of the world’s coffee-growing regions. It touches primarily on Africa, Asia, South America and Central America.

Map of the world showing regions near the equator where coffee is grown
Coffee-growing regions of the world.

While these regions all share a tropical climate, their lands each have unique characteristics that influence the flavor profiles of the coffee they produce. Even different regions within a single continent—or different farms within a region—can produce coffees that are quite different. Much like a wine’s characteristics are associated with the terroir in which the grapes are grown, so it is with coffee.

In very general terms, however, certain flavors are associated with particular continents and regions.

The major regions can be seen on our coffee belt map (above) and also listed below, with the taste qualities that coffee aficionados typically associate with their beans.

Coffee Belt Regions, Countries and Coffees

Africa

CountryCoffee Characteristics
Burundifull body, low acidity, grassy, chocolate
Congofull body, low acidity, intense, chocolate, nutty, tobacco, vanilla, earthy, spicy
Ethiopiafull body, chocolate, cherry, creamy, earthy, blueberry or medium body, flowery, herbal, nutty
Ivory Coastmedium body, low acidity, chocolate, nutty, earthy spicy
Kenyafull body, zesty, citrus, floral, herbal
Rwandamedium body, chocolate, floral, nutty
Tanzaniamedium body, woody, earthy, spicy
Ugandafull body, chocolate, creamy, vanilla
Yemenfull body, chocolate, wine

Asia and Southeast Asia

CountryCoffee Characteristics
Indiamedium body, medium acidity, spicy, earthy, tropical fruit
Indonesia (Bali)medium body, low acidity, creamy, nutty, chocolate, vanilla, earthy, pine
Indonesia (Java)full body, chocolate, nutty, low acidity, creamy
Indonesia (Sumatra)full body, intense, earthy, woody, gritty, low acidity
Myanmarlight body body, medium acidity, complex, fruity, floral
Papua New Guineamedium body, medium acidity, spicy, milky fruity, earthy, nutty
Vietnamlow acidity, medium body, vanilla, spice, woody, bitter

Island regions

CountryCoffee Characteristics
Dominican Republicmedium body, medium acidity, mild, sweet, caramel
Jamaicamedium body, low acidity, tobacco, mellow, sweet
United States (Hawaii)medium body, deep, complex, fruity, floral, vanilla
United States (Puerto Rico)medium body, low acidity, smoky, creamy, buttery, nutty, sweet

Central America

CountryCoffee Characteristics
Costa Ricamedium body, citrus, nutty
El Salvadormedium body, medium acidity, red fruit, chocolate, citrus
Guatemalacan be spicy, smoky, chocolate, earthy or delicate, floral, fruity, sweet
Hondurasmedium body, crisp, light-bodied, nutty, spicy, orange, caramel
Mexicoheavy body, low acidity, milk chocolate, bright, lively, fruity
Nicaraguamedium body, mild acidity, vanilla, hazelnut, chocolate, pear
Panamazesty, lively, spicy, lemongrass, herbal

South America

CountryCoffee Characteristics
Bolivialight body, caramel, chocolate, can be flowery and fruity
Brazilfull body, low acidity, milk chocolate, fruity, spicy, floral
Colombiamedium body, medium acidity, fruity, citrus, nutty
Ecuadorlight/medium body, medium acidity, caramel, fruit, floral, nutty
Perulight body, medium acidity, sweetness, spice, nutty, chocolate, earthy

The best way to learn the characteristics of coffees from all these regions is to sign up with a coffee subscription service and have fresh coffee beans delivered to your door on a regular basis. You can read about one such service in our Atlas Coffee Club review.

 

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