Why Does Coffee Change from Region to Region

Why does the coffee keep changing from region to region?

Recently we had the pleasure of saying hello to the coffee beans from the San Juan del Rio Coco region in Nicaragua but sadly, bidding farewell to our Organic Guatemalan. And now, we are waving goodbye to Kenyan only to be replacing it with ANOTHER Kenyan. Why?

Well, Kenya is a big place – a massive place, in fact. It’s as big as NSW and VIC combined and whilst it’s not all highlands with perfect conditions for growing coffee, there is still a lot of area to grow coffee on. There are roughly 150 coffee farms in Kenya with some growing up to 40,000 trees but other “microlots” only have 200 trees. A Microlot coffee is exactly as it sounds: a tiny lot of land to grow coffee trees on. Microlot coffee is extremely hard to sustain because if the region experiences a natural disaster, like not enough rain (or too much rain), leaf rust, bugs etc, the harvest yield can be smaller, poor quality or worse, completely destroyed.

For this reason microlots can be very inconsistent: either with supply and/or quality. One season could yield a beautiful crop and then suddenly they might be left with nothing to sell. To help mitigate these issues some microlots band together to form cooperative’s. This way they can share in the profits together even when things goes bad for one of the microlots. For the roasters, this makes roasting a lot easier because the flavours don’t vary so much from harvest to harvest.

Unfortunately the latest yield from our usual Guatemalan microlot has been poor, with lower than normal rainfall and widely varying flavours and quality. So, whilst we all love the Guatemalan and we’ve had some very sad emails from our customers who are going to miss it, we’ve had to move to Nicaraguan to get similar flavours. The lovely cherry ripe chocolate, fudge, sugared almond tasting notes in the Guatemalan are reflected in the malt and sweet cream notes in Nicaraguan. Both beans have a rich, medium body and mellow acidity, making them great in everything.

A similar thing has occurred with the quality of our old our Kenyan Ruiru11 coffee beans, but we’ve luckily been able to source beans from another cooperative in Kenya. The new Kenyan we have in is spectacular and is a great replacement for the Kenyan of Ruiru11 varietal (more information about “varietals” to come). They are grown by the Othaya Farmers’ Cooperative Society, which has 547 members in total, of which 123 are women. The Nyeri region has cool temperatures and fertile highlands, making a great space for healthy cherries. With a smooth body and chocolate and maple syrup notes, we just know that you’ll love it.

Remember, our CBD team here is always searching for the best flavours in coffee to share it with you. So feel free to lament the loss of your favourite beans, but rest assured that we’re doing it for the best!

Ryadan Jeavons

by Ryadan Jeavons

Ryd is a passionate coffee educator who started his career in 2000 as a barista. Having seen the coffee industry develop over the years and how much there is to learn about coffee still, his personal mission has become a role as the conduit between the industry and the consumer. He is passionate about educating the public on all the wonderful things we are learning about this golden liquid drink.

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