So, you are on the look out for a great cup of coffee. Good for you. What is the first ingredient to a great cup of coffee? Coffee beans. We’re here to let you know where the best coffee beans come from and how you can tell.
Best Coffee Beans: Brazil
- Overall, Brazilian beans have not been regarded as high-quality and have often been used in blends.
- In Brazil, the dry method (also known as unwashed or natural) is primarily used – a process that can sometimes give the coffee an earthy (or dirty) smell and/or taste.
- Brazil mostly produces arabica beans (the dry processing method is known to lower the quality of the arabica bean).
- Best Coffee BeansIt is often said that the best Brazilian coffee comes from the Sao Paulo Region.
- Sweet Maria’s finds that the best Brazilian coffee comes from the Sul de Minas, Mogiana, Cerrado and Matas de Minas regions.
- Bourbon Santos (Santos is a busy port in Brazil) is a high-quality coffee from Brazil.
- In The Perfect Cup, Timothy James Castle (1991, p. 39) describes a good Brazil as “medium bodied and very mild in acidity. The best Brazils have a complex and balanced aroma and a taste and mouthfeel that is sweet and lingering. A dry spiciness that includes hints of allspice and cloves in usually a characteristic of good Brazils.”
- Brazil is out to reinvent itself (by changing its processing methods) into a country that grows high-grade specialty coffee.
- Brazil is a world leader in coffee production.
The Love of a Cow and a Bit of Coffee
So, we are going to get to the best coffee beans from India. But let’s take a look at the worst first … just because it is fun.
Here is an excerpt form Stewart Lee Allen’s The Devil’s Cup (1999, p. 81):
India produces the world’s most consistently vile cup of joe. It is never fresh-brewed but made with instant ‘flakes,’ which are boiled with milk, sugar, and nutmeg. The resulting stew is best described as a sickeningly sweet, piping-hot milkshake, the memory of which is a dark blot upon my soul. The whole thing is not only vile, it’s illogical. Tropical cuisines worldwide avoid dairy products like the plague. Here they were worshiped. How could a culture with such fine cuisine be content with such a perversion?
Well, Allen got his answer and, I have to say, the next several pages of the book gives the most beautiful, most passionate, most spiritual description of milk that I have ever come across. But I won’t tell you what that description is. Why? Because I am giving you something better – a reason to read a great book.
Best Coffee Beans: India
OK, India favors tea over coffee and when they drink coffee they prefer it instant with lots of milk. Should you do yourself a favor and stay away from Indian coffee altogether? Nonsense! In Southern India, great coffee is grown and enjoyed.
- Coffees from India are shade-grown.
- Coffee, spice, and fruit grow together on plantations in India.
- Monsooned Malabar is a top-notch coffee from India. It is called “monsooned” because it is exposed to monsoon winds (which swells the bean and makes the coffee less-acidic). Malabar is a region in Southern India.
- Timothy James Castle (author of The Perfect Cup) mentions Monsooned Malabar as one of the best that India has to offer.
- Monsooned Malabar is dry processed and is often said to have a musty flavor (common to aged and monsooned coffees).
- Monsooned Malabar is a full-bodied coffee with a spicy aroma.
- The Coffee Board of India states that India’s highest quality coffee is Mysore Nuggets.
- Mysore was the location of the Kolar Gold Fields (gold mine) and coffee plantation. This is where the name Mysore ‘Nuggets’ comes from.
- Mysore Nuggets coffee beans are arabica. This coffee is wet processed.
- Mysore Nuggets is a sweet coffee with a complex aroma and a hint of spice.
So have the best of both worlds: read a great book that speaks of the horrors of Indian coffee while drinking a great cup of coffee … from India!
We know that finding the best coffee beans can be a very personal journey, but why not start your journey where other coffee lovers have found what they consider, coffee beans that make a great cup of coffee. Maybe even the best cup of coffee you’ve ever drank.
We hope you join us on this never ending journey to finding amazing coffee beans that make amazing coffee!