Let's talk with Cole Torode about where is coffee grown

May 06, 2021

#beantocup - today we talk about where is coffee grown and in which new countries of origin the future will take us, with Cole Torode.

Are all coffees from the same country of origin the same?

“Short and fast answer is no, absolutely not. However, if you're only buying commodity driven coffees, many will probably have a very similar profile.

This equation starts changing when producers correct their mindset, shifting their practices and their production to better suit the terroir (one of the many words we have borrowed from the wine world), focusing on micro-regions and making sure to grow the proper varietal, applying the right processing techniques and having the right soil composition.

So, on a macro level a lot of people think coffee from Brazil all tastes the same, but there actually is a whole spectrum of flavors that exists within each country, within each farm, sometimes within a block on a farm. You will also get different flavors from the exact same coffee even if it’s processed the same way, a lot of little variations play a part in the profile of the final product, such as the time of harvest and the day it’s been processed."

What is a rather recent country of origin worth mentioning?

“Some of the best coffees I tried in 2019 - the last year I was able to travel - were from Asia. I was really fascinated by the coffees in Myanmar, one of the emerging producing countries in Southeast Asia that I have been buying coffee from since 2017. Most of what they grow is a varietal called Catuai, created in the producing country par excellence - Brazil - and now planted all over the world.

Just as the rest of Southeast Asia, Myanmar has really good genetics for coffee: the microclimates, terroir and altitude are very similar to those in Central America, with the potential to grow plants of the same quality, or better. Central America has had access to the market for much longer, and they have also been able to see how the Western world has been moving in terms processing and production automation. In Myanmar production takes place on a hyper-rural level, and indigenous villages have no access to market. Asia has been mostly disconnected from that access to knowledge and it's been hard for them to get any sort of advancements.

I’ve personally been following some of the projects within Myanmar by non-profit agencies to see how their coffee grows year after year and I was really impressed. Now that the military dictatorship has taken over the country, I am not sure when I'll be able to go back there.

Southeast Asia is very fascinating, there’s so much happening in the Philippines, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand...for a long time these countries only had the stigma of low quality Robusta, but today there are producers who are really trying to break out of those stereotypes. "

Next time we will talk about coffee with Fabrizio Senciòn Ramirez, don't miss what he has to say about the most crucial part of the process from the bean to the cup, we are going to talk about picking! #beantocup #makeitbetter

Let's talk with Cole Torode about where is coffee grown