About once a week some customer tells me they had some coffee from somewhere and it was the best ever. For this blog, we’ll call that “Kenya coffee.” I usually just smile and agree that Kenyan puts out some excellent coffee.
Of course, the opposite also happens – customer tells me that drank some Ethiopian coffee and it was garbage. I usually smile and say that there is some harsh stuff coming out of Ethiopia these days.
You saw this coming: the names of the places are totally interchangeable. Kenya puts out some totally top end coffee, and Kenya puts out some really low-grade stuff. So does Ethiopia. So does Peru, Columbia … everyone!
Every plantation grows coffee beans of varying quality. The beans are sorted and sold are varying prices related to their quality. If you get cheap beans from somewhere, they won’t be as good as quality beans from somewhere else. Yes, different locales tend to have flavor distinctions, but many people want to lump everything together and compare tastes without knowing what grade of coffee they are experiencing.
So I just don’t put too much concern into statements like, “Kenya coffee is the best”. What I hear is, “I drank some high grade coffee from Kenya and I liked it”.
So don’t judge a region too quickly. There is a lot of processing that happens to coffee beans between the plant and your cup. Don’t blame a whole region just because someone doesn’t care enough to do their best.
When I drink top grade coffee from different regions, my reactions typically aren’t that one is better than another, it’s that they are all good with some different interesting flavor signatures.
Drink good coffee. Compare and enjoy!