African Coffee Is the Best Coffee
Thursday, October 08, 2020
— Updated October 01, 2021
The coffee plant has done quite a bit of traveling in the last 500 years, certainly more travel than any of us are doing at the moment. From Ethiopia to the Arabian peninsula to Europe to America (before it became America) to Indonesia to the Caribbean and Central and South America, with many smaller stops in between, including the legendary, laborious layover on Martinique, an island of France. There, a single coffee seedling sowed the future of coffee that has made the industry what it is today.
While coffee’s passport is full of stamps and it has enjoyed fame all over the globe, the best coffee on the planet comes from its birthplace, according to Bean Poet. The old adage, "bloom where you are planted", could not be more true of Africa, where the ancient coffee forests of Ethiopia are still cultivated today.
But isn’t the quality of coffee a matter of opinion? Well, yes and no. Your favorite Honduran or Brazilian coffee may subjectively be the best coffee, but objectively, it all depends on the cup score, which is determined by Q graders (aka certified coffee tasters). Q graders are rigorously tested by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) to ensure they can cup and grade coffee consistently and accurately. How rigorous can it be? 22 tests and a reassessment every three years to make sure you’re up to snuff. It’s not like a driver’s test.
Bean Poet factored the findings from 1,229 Q grader tastings together and found that, overall, African coffee scored the highest, with an average cup score of 84.41 across Ethiopian, Kenyan, and Ugandan coffees, Ethiopian being the frontrunner with an average 84.88 cup score. To demonstrate just how granular coffee grading can be, what separates the #1 coffee on this list from the #10 coffee is only 2.51 points. That’s not many points in basketball, but they make a big difference in coffee.
Fresh Roasted Coffee is proud to offer a wide variety of African coffees from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, and the Congo, all of which score similarly to Bean Poet’s findings, if not better. Cool flex, FRC.
If you’ve never tried an African coffee, you’re missing out on a whole new world! If you’re a diehard regular at big coffee chains, there’s every chance you’ve never experienced an African coffee. Many use South and Central American beans or blends of beans when you order a coffee. And while there’s nothing wrong with that (we happen to be fans of them, too), it’s never too late to expand your coffee life.
Coffees from Central and South America feature distinct, consistent notes of chocolate, which is why coffee giants use them prominently in their cafés. Coffees like our Organic Colombian are smooth and creamy, take cream and sugar well, and give you the "normal" coffee taste you’re looking for. If you’ve ever said, "this coffee tastes like coffee", there’s a good chance you’re talking about a Central or South American coffee.
African coffees are a little more on the, let’s say, eclectic side. You’ll find flavors of stone and citrus fruits, as well as earthy undertones. We roast many of our African coffees lighter to preserve their brighter origin notes. The only exception is our Kenya-AA, which is roasted medium-dark to balance out the sweeter peach blossom and orange zest notes with black tea. We’ve carefully crafted our African coffee roast profiles to pay the most respect we can to the birthplace of coffee.
African coffee is more than just the "best coffee on the planet," it’s a window into coffee’s unfathomably rich history. It’s a spot right next to Kaldi, a walk through the Ethiopian coffee forests, a million boat rides that all go back to Africa, and it’s the coffee in your mug, steam ribboning in the sunlight, the same sun that helped grow the first coffee plant in Africa.
Take your tastebuds on a trip with any of our African coffees at freshroastedcoffee.com.