“What Do You Taste?”

Last week, we took a look at what made Latin America’s coffee unique from the rest of the world. We learned that their beans are grown in very high altitudes and a majority of them go through wet processing which gives them an acidic taste. We also learned that a majority of the world’s coffee is produced in Latin America due to the amount of coffee producing countries in that region.

Our next region takes us to the birthplace of coffee itself. Coffee is believed to have grown wild in parts of this region for thousands of years, and is still a large industry today. This week’s growing region is none other than East Africa. Legend has it that a 9th century Ethiopian goat header named Kaldi noticed that his goats became more energetic when they chewed on the berries from a certain plant. The reaction of the goats prompted Kaldi to bring the berries to a holy man, but the holy man rejected the berries and threw them into a fire. The berries then let off an appealing aroma, and were then collected from the embers. The roasted beans were then ground up and dissolved into hot water, forming the world’s first ever cup of coffee.

Like the coffee growing region of Latin America, East Africa is also made up of several coffee distributing countries. Among those countries, the most prominent are Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi. Ethiopia and Kenya are the two highest producing countries in the region and for both, coffee has become a large part of their economy and their culture. This region alone is accountable for 30% of the world’s coffee, making it the second largest growing region in the word.

When it comes to the taste, East African beans range all over the board. Many of the coffees tend to have a very bright and tangy taste, but others tend to have a much darker, chocolaty taste. The reason for this is because of the diversity of harvesting methods. This region uses more processing methods than anywhere else in the world, ranging from wet processing, dry processing, semi-wet processing and semi-dry processing. Something unique about East African coffee beans is that they are typically not used in flavored coffees. Here at Stockton Graham & Co., our roasters believe that adding flavoring to these beans will distort and compete with the natural flavors in these beans, so we offer them 100% as is.

Today, coffee beans from East Africa can be found all over the world. At Stockton Graham & Co., we provide beans from Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania, and we are very proud of the quality of coffee that these beans produce. We owe a lot to Kaldi and his heard of goats, because if not for them and their discovery, many of us would not make it through the week!

Matt Hogan
Stockton Graham & Co.