Coffee wasn’t always an accepted ingredient in beer. It’s generally agreed upon that New Glarus was the first to brew a commercial coffee beer in 1994. Two years later, the Wisconsin brewer’s coffee stout won silver at the B.T.I.– World Beer Championships. The beer became increasingly popular with New Glarus fans, but shortly after the award was given the ATF put a halt on coffee beer due to its caffeine content. New Glarus put its coffee stout on hold until quiet lobbying (likely from brands producing products like Four Loko or Jack and Coke in cans) successfully made it legal to sell coffee beer with proper labeling on the bottle.

There are a number of ways to make coffee beer. Some brewers add dry coffee grounds into the grain during the fermentation process, to create a complex infusion. Others add a small cup of cold brew coffee to a brewed beer after fermentation. A popular method is making cold beer-brew coffee. This provides double the “coffee-ness,” to create a rich flavor and aroma. Brewers steep coffee grounds in cold liquor (a.k.a., brewing water) for 24-48 hours. This lets the brewing water take on the flavor of coffee. Then, the brewing water is added back into the beer. This helps minimize excess water, while infusing it with coffee for a smooth, rich finish.

Coffee Beans

A coffee bean is a seed found inside the fruit (called the cherry) of a coffee plant. The coffee cherry is unusual in that we don’t eat the fruity outer part. Instead, we take the pit out and roast it. There are four different types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. 

The most commonly grown coffee bean types are Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta. Coffee plants are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa. As of 2018, Brazil was the leading grower of coffee beans, producing 35% of the world total.

Arabica (Coffea arabica)

Arabica coffee comes from the beans of a Coffea arabica plant, which originated in Ethiopia. Arabica is the world’s most popular coffee type, equating to over 60% of cups drank. Popular types of Arabica coffee include: Typica, Caturra, Kona, Pacamara, Villalobos.  Arabica coffees have an extensive taste range (depending on its varietal). The range differs from sweet-soft to sharp-tangy. When unroasted, Arabica beans smell like blueberries. Their roasted smell is described as perfumey with notes of fruit and sugar tones.

Robusta (Coffea caniphora)

Robusta Coffee is coffee made from the beans of the Coffea canephora plant, the origins of which are in Africa. Robusta coffee is notoriously bitter and is used primarily in instant coffee, espresso, and as a filler in certain blends of ground coffee. Many people think that Robusta has an oatmeal-like taste, somewhere between neutral and harsh. Unroasted Robusta beans smell sort of raw-peanutty. Robusta coffee beans come from a resilient plant that can be grown at low altitudes of 200-800 meters.

Liberica (Coffea liberica)

Native to central and western Africa – specifically Liberia, hence its name – Coffea liberica is prized for its piquant floral aroma and bold, smoky flavor profile. This hardy species is frequently mixed with other varieties to add body and complexity. Growing from a much larger plant than Arabica or Robusta, most Liberica cherries tend to be irregular in shape and closer to Robusta in size and general appearance.    Now produced mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the bean makes up roughly 2% of the world’s coffee supply.

Excelsa (Coffea excelsa)

The fourth major type of coffee bean is called Excelsa. Though it was once considered a separate coffee species, scientists recently reclassified it as a Liberica variant. Excelsa beans grow almost entirely in Southeast Asia, and they’re shaped somewhat like Liberica beans — elongated ovals. These beans grow on large 20 to 30-foot coffee plants at medium altitudes. Excelsa bean flavor is pretty unique. They combine light roast traits like tart notes and fruity flavors with flavors that are more reminiscent of dark roasts.

Coffee Growing Regions

A coffee bean is a seed found inside the fruit (called the cherry) of a coffee plant. The coffee cherry is unusual in that we don’t eat the fruity outer part. Instead, we take the pit out and roast it. There are four different types of coffee beans: Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, and Excelsa. 

The most commonly grown coffee bean types are Coffea arabica and Coffea robusta. Coffee plants are cultivated in over 70 countries, primarily in the equatorial regions of the Americas, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, and Africa. As of 2018, Brazil was the leading grower of coffee beans, producing 35% of the world total.

Globally, there are three primary coffee growing regions – Central and South America, Africa and The Middle East and Southeast Asia. These regions are all located along the equatorial zone between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, widely known as the Bean Belt”. The tropical and subtropical climates found in the “Bean Belt” as well as the abundance of growing regions with elevations of 800-2,200 metres above sea level provide the ideal conditions for growing coffee beans. 

The majority of coffees on the global market are grown in the approximately 10 million hectares of farms in the main coffee growing regions within the “Bean Belt”. Despite growing within a similar latitudinal perimeter, coffees grown in these regions have vastly different and distinct regional flavours, hence the coining of the popular phrase, “geography is a flavor”. These distinct flavours are a result of the differences in soil chemistry, weather, sunshine, rainfall, altitude and processing methods. 

Central and South America Coffee Regions

At the top of that Bean Belt, is Central America. Most coffee beans in this region come from Guatemala, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa Rica. Costa Rica in particular has superior conditions for growing exceptional coffee with incredibly aromatic flavors.


Africa and the Middle East Coffee Regions

The African coffee region encompasses a handful of countries, namely Kenya, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Other participating countries include Rwanda, Burundi, and Uganda. This African region produces a unique and complex morning fix with a sweet, fruity, and delicate floral aroma.

Southeast Asia

Since the late seventeenth century, Coffee has been grown and consumed in Southeast Asia. The region covers the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Java, and Sumatra and Vietnam which is the world’s second largest coffee exporter.

Central and South America Coffee Regions


The coffee industry in Brazil was started in the early 1720s with seedlings obtained from French Guiana. By 1845 Brazilian coffee already accounted for the largest portion of world production. Nowadays, Brazil grows approximately 35% of the world’s coffee, but only Santos is considered important by the speciality coffee industry. Another coffee, Rio, is also well known for its medicinal taste. Bourbon Santos is Brazil’s finest grade of coffee, and the beans from the arabica trees that produce this coffee are small and curly for the first three or four years of production. As the trees age, the beans become larger and lose quality. They are then referred to as flat bean Santos. Bandeirante is a popular estate grown Brazilian coffee that is often found in the United States. Brazilian coffee is generally produced using the dry-process.

Commercial Examples: OPP (On Point) Porter With Mostra Brazilian Coffee & Ecuadorian Cocoa Nibs | Latchkey Brewing Co.; Kofi – Brazilian Coffee | Brasserie Atrium; Double Sunset (w/ Brazilian Mogiana Coffee) | Other Half Brewing Co.


The first coffee seedlings were brought to Colombia in 1808 via the French Antilles by Jesuit Missionaries. Colombia now produces approximately 12% of the world’s coffee supply, and is second only to Brazil in world coffee production. Coffee is grown at high altitudes, and it is processed using the wet method. Three mountain ranges, called Cordilleras, trisect Colombia from North to South. The central and eastern cordilleras produce the best coffee. The most famous coffees in the central cordillera are: Medellin, Armenia, and Manizales, named after cities where they are marketed. Medellin is the most famous, and has heavy body, rich flavor and balanced acidity. Armenia and Manizales have less body and acidity. The three are often exported together under the acronym “MAM”. Bogota is considered one of Colombia’s finest coffees.  Bucaramanga has a low level of acid, but is rich in body and flavor.

Commercial Examples: Coffee Shop Vibes (2019-Colombian Duarte) | Shared Brewing Co.;  Sump Coffee Stout (2018) Colombian La Virgen| Perennial Artisan Ales; Cold Brew Coffee Barrel Noir | Almanac Beer

Costa Rica

Costa Rica received it’s first seedlings from Cuba in 1779. Only Arabica is grown there on account of a law banning the cultivation of Robusta. The cultivators are mainly small farmers organized into co-operatives which form a federation responsible for exports. Costa Rican coffee is grown primarily around the capital of San Jose. The altitude and temperate climate are similar to Guatemala’s, although the landscape is not quite as spectacular. The most famous of these coffees are San Marcos di Tarrazu, Tres Rios, Heredia, and Alajuela. These coffees are wet-processed, and are full bodied and sweet, with a hearty richness and lively acidity. In Costa Rica, coffee grown above 3,900 feet is called strictly hard bean, while coffee grown below an altitude of between 3,300 and 3,900 feet is called good hard bean. Costa Rican coffees are usually identified by the estate, cooperative, or facility where they are processed. 

Commercial Examples: CocoBänger | Põhjala; No Return From 86 With Uganda, Ethiopia & Costa Rica Coffee Beans | 1886 Brewing Co.; Single Origin Coffee Brown Ale – Costa Rica | Terrapin Beer Co.

Dominican Republic

Introduced to the island in 1715 by Spanish colonists, coffee started becoming a popular crop for many local farmers. Eventually, it evolved into a national obsession. However, coffee did not begin to be largely commercially exported until 1872. The tropical and mountainous landscape of the Dominican Republic makes it the perfect environment to cultivate coffee beans. As a result of the elevation, most beans are grown between 2,000 and 5,000 feet because the higher up the elevation, the harsher the growing conditions are. Coffees from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Cuba and Puerto Rico are grown at moderate altitudes and are full-bodied with moderate acidity and uncomplicated flavors. These wet-processed coffees are best suited for dark-roasted espresso blends. Cibao, Bani, Ocoa, and Barahona are the four main market names for coffees from the Dominican Republic.

Commercial Examples: Dominican Republic Peabody Coffee Stout | Selin’s Grove Brewing Co.; Dominican Green Coffee Ale | Dunedin Brewery; Old Neighborhood Oatmeal Porter | Mother Earth Brewing Co.


Ecuador produces a large amount of coffee – currently being ranked twelfth in the world. Ecuador produces as much robusta as arabica but other than that the coffees are undistinguished, with light to medium body and mild acidity. Coffee was introduced in Ecuador early in the nineteenth century, and remained one of Ecuador’s top export crops through the 1970s. (Today, the top exports are oil, shrimp and bananas.) Ecuador produces Arabica coffee in the western foothills of the Andes south of Guayaquil, and in the hilly areas of coastal Manabí Province. Some Robusta varieties, used for soluble (instant) coffee, are grown in the North. Most Ecuadorian coffee is grown on small farms, from 1 to 10 hectares. About half of the coffee land is planted in coffee alone, while the rest is co-planted with cacao, citrus fruits, bananas, and/or mangoes.

Commercial Examples: Single Origin Coffee Brown Ale – Ecuador | Terrapin Beer Co.; Ecuadorian Coffee Brown Ale | Cigar City Brewing Co.; OPP (On Point) Porter With Mostra Brazilian Coffee & Ecuadorian Cocoa Nibs | Latchkey Brewing Co.

El Salvador

Volcanic peaks account for much of this Central American country’s landscape creating a good environment for growing coffee. Almost 60% of Salvador’s exports come from coffee and 25% of the workforce is employed in the coffee industry – this figure can rise, however, to up to 80% during harvesting. Many years before coffee, Indigo was El Salvador’s most important export but in the mid-1800s coffee was introduced here from British Honduras and Cuba. Coffee is seen as more than just a crop in El Salvador, it has changed the countries history and left a deep print of the countries development. Coffee created great wealth and landed opportunities to rule for the elite. The flavor of Salvadorian coffee is mild, with good balance, medium body, sharp acidity and a hint of sweetness. The best grade of Salvadorian coffee is called strictly high grown. All coffees are produced using the wet-process.

Commercial Examples: Tumeaine Colombia & El Salvador Coffee Edition | Pühaste Brewery; Spellbinder (Hasbean El Salvador Finca Noruega Natural Bourbon) | Elusive Brewing Co.; Asmodeus With El Salvador Santa Ana Coffee | Ethereal Brewing Co.


Coffee was introduced into Guatemala in 1750 by Jesuit missionaries and further developed after 1860 when the Germans immigrated here. The high altitude and the rich, volcanic soil from the area’s many volcanoes create conditions which are ideal for the production of top-quality coffee. The temperate climate, with sunny days and cool nights, allows the coffee to mature slowly. The most famous regional marketing names are: Antigua, Coban and Huehuetenango. High quality Guatemalan coffees, mainly Arabica coffee beans,  are produced using the wet-process and are of high acidity and medium body, with smoky, spicy and chocolate flavors. Guatemalan coffee is often marketed by grade, with the highest grade being strictly hard bean, which indicates coffees grown at 4,500 feet or above. A secondary grade is hard bean, designating coffees grown between 4,000 and 4,500 feet.

Commercial Examples: Beer for Breakfast | Dogfish Head Craft Brewery; Earl | Hill Farmstead Brewery; Tempus Project: Heavy Lord | Beavertown Brewery / Three Floyds Brewing Co.; Coffee Bender | Surly Brewing Co.


While the exact origins of Honduran coffee are not known, many people believe the coffee bean was first introduced to Honduras by Spanish traders in the latter part of the 1700s. However, despite the efforts of some Honduran presidents to promote the coffee bean, the banana quickly became one of Honduras’ major cash crop. Due to its temperate and tropical climates, Honduras produces coffees which are typically described as mild, robust, and sweet. Grown at altitudes of between 3,600 and 5,249 feet above sea level, Honduran coffee beans can be classified by both the altitude and region in which they were grown. Every year, beans are harvested between November and April, and it is estimated that two million Hondurans work to harvest beans from the countries 90 million plus cultivated coffee trees. Honduran coffee is wet-processed and mainly used as a cheap blending coffee. It is ranked eighth in world production. 

Commercial Examples: Only Void (Single Origin Honduran Mujale Coffee) | Tired Hands Brewing Co.; Ruination 2.0 With Verve Honduran Coffee | Stone Brewing; Day & Night (Honduran Manasapa Barrington Coffee)Trillium Brewing Co.


The coffee industry on this Caribbean Island began in 1725 when its governor brought seedlings from Martinique and planted them on his Estate. Mountains cover four-fifths of the country, with the Blue Mountains, in the East, reaching a height of 7,400 feet. The coffee is planted on terraces between 1,500 to 5,000 feet above sea level and is often shaded by avocado and banana trees. It’s the home of Jamaican Blue Mountain, one of the world’s most desirable coffees. A superb coffee characterized by a nutty aroma, bright acidity and a unique beef-bouillon like flavor. Recent overproduction, poor quality and profiteering have led to a mediocre product. Jamaican coffee is predominantly Arabica Typica, which is superior to other Arabica varieties. Jamaica coffee boasts an exceptional sweetness and full body in a complex, yet well-balanced cup with hints of chocolate, and sweet herbal and floral notes, complete with a nutty overtone.

Commercial Examples: Fundamental Summation (2017) | Bottle Logic |  3rd Anniversary BA Jamaica Blue Mountain (Mavis Bank Estate) | Cycle Brewing; Speedway Stout w/ Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee | AleSmith Brewing Co.


Coffee trees from the Caribbean were introduced into Mexico at the end of the 18th century. Today, coffee represents ⅓ of the country’s agricultural exports, and it is ranked fourth in the world for coffee production. Mexico produces large quantities of unremarkable coffee that is often used for dark roasts and blending. The state of Vera Cruz produces many of these average coffees in its low lying regions, but in its mountains near the city of Coatepec an excellent coffee called Altura Coatepec. These high grown, or Altura, coffees are light bodied, nutty, with a chocolate tang and acidic snap. Altura Orizaba and Altura Huatusco are other fine coffees produced in Vera Cruz. Oaxaca in the central mountains also produces some good coffees, referred to as either Oaxaca or Oaxaca Pluma. Chiapas, near the Guatemalan border, produces coffee under the market name Tapachula. Coffees are produced using the wet-process.

Commercial Examples: Mexican Coffee Stout | Field House Brewing Co.; Speedway Stout W/ Mexican Dark Chocolate, Sea Salt & Mexican Coffee | AleSmith Brewing Co.; Mexican Coffee Stout | Breakside Brewery


The first coffee plant was introduced to Nicaragua in 1796 by Catholic Missionaries with the first plants appearing in the Managua region. However, the coffee trade didn’t officially kick off until a half-century later, when the Gold Rush fuelled U.S. investment in trade and travel to the region. While the height of plantations and farms varies throughout the nation, many of the best beans are grown at altitudes between 3600 and 5250 feet above sea level. Though there are some lower regions as well, most Nicaraguan coffee is classified as “high grown” and meets the Strictly High Grown coffee specifications. Not only is much of the nation’s coffee grown in high altitudes, but 95% of it is shade grown as well. Nicaraguan coffee plants primarily consist of Arabica varieties as well as Bourbon, Caturra, Typica, Yellow and Red Catuai, Catimor, Maracaturra, Pacamara, and Maragogype.

Commercial Examples: Barrel-Aged Coffee Crawl Stout (Sump Coffee Nicaragua, Bella Aurora) | Side Project Brewing; Monsters’ Park (Nicaraguan Rum Barrel w/ Rum Barrel-Aged Coffee) | Modern Times Beer; Powder Monkey Bourbon Barrel-Aged With Nicaragua Las Camillias Estate Coffee | Heavy Seas Beer


Panama’s coffee arrived with European immigrants in the 19th century, about 50 years after the country achieved its independence from Spain, but as an agricultural product it didn’t gain a real foothold until arguably the last 20 years. Today, largely thanks to the success of the Geisha variety, Panama is recognized for producing high-quality coffee. More than 80% of the coffee grown in Panama is arabica, while the remaining 20% is robusta. The Panama Geisha coffee is brewed from the finest variety of Arabica beans known as Geisha which is grown in the Chiriquí highlands, in the adjoining region of Volcan Baru. Geisha Coffee trees grow tall and are distinctive for their stunning elongated leaves. When cultivated in high elevations, the quality of their coffee beans can radically be enhanced. Coffee produced in Panama is wet-processed coffee and is often used for blending, but is excellent served as a breakfast brew.

Commercial Examples: Beer Geek Observation (2019) | Bottle Logic Brewing Co. / Mikkeller; Pi|14.2 Pilot Series (Panaman Coffee) | Brew By Numbers; Richard the Whale (w/ Panama Geisha)(Eagle Rare Barrel) | Big Grove Brewery


With its mild character, Peruvian coffee is used for blending French roasts, and as a flavored-coffee base. The coffee from high in the Andes in the Chanchamayo and Urubamba Valleys, and northern Peru is developing a reputation as a producer of good quality coffees. With some of the most experienced coffee farmers cultivating the coffee beans, Peruvian coffee is one of the most well-recognized coffees in the world. The emphasis on fair trade and certified organic coffee is just one other reason to use Peruvian beans. While each growing region imparts its own unique flavor notes, Peruvian coffee is smooth and mellow with mild acidity and light body. Its exciting flavor profile ranges from vanilla-nut sweetness to nutty, chocolatey notes and subtle tones of citrus. The flavorful coffee is delightfully aromatic. Most Peruvian coffee beans are Arabica, a higher quality varietal, additional varieties include Catuai, and Caturra.

Commercial Examples: Coffee Maple Achromatic | WeldWerks Brewing Company; Coffee Shop Vibes (w/ Sump Peruvian) | Shared Brewing Co.; Origins – Peru (yellow Caturra) | Kinslahger Brewing Co.


At one time, Venezuela ranked close to Colombia in coffee production, but in the 1960s and 70s, as petroleum temporarily turned Venezuela into the richest country in South America, coffee was relegated to the economic back burner. Today Venezuela produces less than one percent of the world’s coffee. The most admired Venezuela coffee comes from the far western corner of the country, the part that borders Colombia. Coffees from this area usually are called Maracaibos, after the port through which they are shipped. The best-known Maracaibo coffees, in addition to Cúcuta, are Mérida, Trujillo, and Táchira. Coffees from the coastal mountains farther east are generally marked Caracas, after the capital city, and are shipped through La Guaira, the port of Caracas. Caripe comes from a mountain range close to the Caribbean and typically displays the soft, gentle profile of the island coffees of the Caribbean.

Commercial Examples: Venezuelan Express Porter | Shiretown Beer

Africa and Middle East Coffee Regions


Burundi began growing coffee during the country’s time as a Belgian colony. Burundian farmers were forced to grow a certain number of coffee trees each—of course receiving very little money or recognition for the work. Once the country gained its independence in 1962, the coffee sector was privatized.  Today, coffee is the tiny nation’s number one export crop. Like many of its neighbors in Africa, Burundi produces microlots almost by default: Each farmer owns an average of less than even a single hectare, and delivers cherries to centralized depulping and washing stations. This purchasing style makes it nearly impossible to arrive at single-producer, or single-variety, coffees are typically sold under the appellation of the washing station. (In Kayanza, there are 21 washing stations, including familiar names to Cafe Imports’ offerings page: Gackowe, Butezi, Gatare, and Kiryama.)

Commercial Examples: Sump Coffee Stout (2016) Burundi | Perennial Artisan Ales; Maplewood Coffee Crawl 2018 Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout W/ Sump Kirema – Burundi |Side Project Brewing Co.; Come On Roasters (Burundi Nzove) | Maltgarden

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Democratic Republic of the Congo (also known as DRC) is an interesting origin, just barely on the radar of specialty coffee. A long and established Robusta economy has been more prevalent in the coffee sector, and an emphasis on high-quality Arabica coffee is just gaining a foothold among producers. The country  is the second-largest nation in Africa and the twelfth biggest coffee producer in the world, Coffee is grown in most of the country, spread throughout its seven provinces, and is a significant cash crop, though most of what is grown and exported is either full Robusta or not specialty-quality. Congo sells its Canephora and Kwilu varieties to most of the large Western European countries. Around 80% of its production is carried out on small farms of no more than six hectares. 850,000 families make a living exclusively from coffee. .

Commercial Examples: Stone Smoked Porter w/Congo Coffee And Orange Peel | Stone Brewing Co.; Copra Kai W/ Congo Coffee | Southern Grist Brewing Co.; Moonlight – Congo Coffee Stout | Clay Brow Nano Brewery


Ethiopia is the birthplace of the Arabica tree, and is Africa’s top arabica exporter. In Eastern Ethiopia, coffee trees are grown between 5,000 and 6,000 feet on small plots and farms that produce the varietals longberry Harrar (large bean), shortberry Harrar (smaller bean) or Mocha Harrar (peaberry or single bean). Ethiopian Harrar is characterized by winy and blueberry undertones, with good body and high acid. The region also produces a washed coffee called Ghimbi, that has the winy undertones of Harrar but is richer, and more balanced. Southern Ethiopia produces washed coffees with fruity acidity and intense aromas, known by the names of the districts in which they are produced, such as Sidamo, or by terms like Ethiopian Fancies or Ethiopian Estate Grown. The most famous of these coffees is Yirgacheffe, which has an unparalleled fruity aroma, light and elegant body, and an almost menthol taste.

Commercial Examples: Espressway | Two Roads Brewing Co.; Selassie | Omnipollo; Rum Barrel Genealogy of Morals (Akmel Nuri) | Hill Farmstead Brewery; 3rd Anniversary BA Ethiopia Yirgacheffe | Cycle Brewing Co.; 10|02 Coffee Porter Yirgacheffe Konga | Brew By Numbers;  Speedway Stout – Mokasida Coffee | AleSmith Brewing Co.


Coffee was introduced to Kenya in 1893 by the Scottish missionary John Paterson. The coffee seed was reported to have been obtained from the Smith Mackenzie & Co., agents of the British East India Company at the Yemeni port city of Aden. It was then sown in Kenya at Kibwezi, near Mombasa. The quality of Kenya coffee is considered among the highest in specialty coffee circles. The sweetness, complexity and bold acidity is practically unmatched by any other coffee growing region. Fruit notes range from citrus (grapefruit, mandarin orange) to stone fruit (peach, apricot) to dark berry (blackberry, black currant) and everything in between. The diversity of Kenya coffee profiles is part of the origin’s charm. The main growing region in Kenya extends south of 17,000-foot Mount Kenya to near the capital of Nairobi. Kenyan coffee is wet-processed and sold by the size of the bean.

Commercial Examples: 09|02 Brown Ale – Nut Brown – Kabingara Coffee Edition / 10|08 – Coffee Porter – Gatomboya PB | Brew By Numbers; Bourbon Barrel-Aged Beastmaster W/ Kenya Kamwangi Coffee / Dragon Mask Aged In Bourbon Barrels W/ Kenya Kamwangi Black Bag Coffee | Modern Times Beer


 The famed Buf Cafe washing stations are in the mountains near the village of Karaba, in the Ginkongoro prefecture in south-central Rwanda. Buf Cafe started operation in 2000, after funding aid from the Rwandan Development Bank and USAID’s PEARL project. Buf Cafe are private washing stations, owned wholly by the Muhirwa family, processing coffee cherry from two distinct cooperatives in the Ginkongoro prefecture: Cobabakagi (1300 members) and Terimbere Kawa Yacu (between 400-600 members). They also collect cherry from farmers in other regions, siphoning away outside cooperative output by placing collection sites within the operating zones of other established groups. Buf Cafe operates two separate washing stations – Nyrusiza and Remera. The larger of the two, Remera sits at 1950 meters, and on the drive there we reached hilltop elevations nearing 2200 meters. 

Commercial Examples: 10|Coffee Porter – Musasa Dukunde Kawa | Brew By Numbers; 55|08 Double IPA – Coffee | Brew By Numbers; Breakfast Stout: Rwanda Minazi Coffee | Funky Fluid


The coffee industry of Tanzania initially was closely tied with that of Kenya, since early in their national histories they were run by the same countries: first the Germans, then the British. The Tanzanian coffee industry continues to improve and prosper. Most Tanzanian coffees are grown near the border of Kenya on the slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, and are sometimes referred to as Kilimanjaro, Moshi or Arusha. Other coffees are grown further south between Lake Tanganyika and Lake Nyasa, and are usually called Mbeya, after one of the region’s cities or Pare, the market name. All coffees are wet-processed and graded by bean size, with the highest grade being AA, then A and B. Tanzanian coffees are characterized by a winy acidity, medium to full body, and deep richness. Peaberries are often separated from flat beans and sold at a premium for the enhanced flavor characteristics they possess.

Commercial Example: Déjeuner Impérial | Les Trois Mousquetaire; Tanzania Mbeya Iyenga Coffee Vanilla Nitro Honey Cream AleImperial Stout W/ Tanzanian Coffee | CoolHead Brew Works


Coffee accounts for 20 – 30% of Uganda’s foreign exchange earnings each year, and more than 3.5 million families work in coffee-related activities. The bulk of the country’s coffee is produced by smallholder farmers working plots of less than 2.5 hectares. While Uganda is (along with the Democratic Republic of Congo) one of the countries where robusta coffee originated, today it is gaining increasing recognition for the quality of its arabicas. Arabica is grown primarily on the eastern and western borders of the country. In the east, coffee is produced around the Mount Elgon volcano, and the washed coffees produced there are often exported under the Bugisu (or Bugishu) name. In the Rwenzori mountains of Western Uganda, natural processing is the standard method, and the low-grade commercial product resulting from strip picking and high defect counts is known as DRUGAR (dried Uganda Arabica).

Commercial Examples: Bourbon BA McClelland W/ Toasted Coconut & Ugandan Coffee | Goldwater Brewing Co.; Barrel Aged Dear Agony (Buffalo Trace BA w/ Uganda Coffee & Madagascar Vanilla Beans) (2019) | Heavy Riff Brewing Co.; No Return From 86 With Uganda, Ethiopia & Costa Rica Coffee Beans | 1886 Brewing Co.


The coffee we call Mocha today is grown, as it has been for hundreds of years in the mountains of Yemen, at the southwestern tip of the Arabian Peninsula. It was originally shipped through the ancient port of Mocha, which has since seen its harbor blocked by a sandbar. The name Mocha has become so permanently a part of the world’s coffee vocabulary that it sticks to a coffee that should really be described today as Yemen or even Arabian. Arabian Mocha, grown in the northern mountains of Yemen, is one of the oldest and most traditional of the world’s coffees. This coffee has been cultivated and processed in the same way for centuries, grown on mountain terraces and naturally dried. Mocha is a balanced coffee with medium to full body, good acidity and chocolate undertones. Two famous market names for this coffee are Mattari and Sanani. Sanani mochas have a wild, fruity acidity, while Mattari mochas are known for their full body and chocolate undertones.

Commercial Examples: Poseidon Coffee + Cream Yemen Micro Lot | Mortalis Brewing Co. Mocha Porter | Rogue Ales; Stony Joe Golden Mocha Stout | Stony Creek Brewery

Southeast Asian Coffee Regions


Coffee was introduced into Hawaii over 170 years ago when, in 1825, Chief Boki, Governor of Oahu brought coffee acquired from plants in Rio de Janeiro to Hawaii aboard the British warship HMS Blonde.Hawaii boasts a thriving coffee industry, that’s mostly geared towards visitors and gourmets. Coffee is grown commercially on four of the six major islands: Maui, Hawaii, Molokai and Kauai. It grows wild on Oahu where it was first planted. It primarily grows, however, on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai, with the coffees of the Kona region of the island of Hawaii being the most highly prized. Kona possesses the perfect environment for growing arabicas. The best estates grown beautiful, large, flat beans, which produce a medium-bodied brew, with buttery, spicy characteristics. The brew is rich, somewhat acidic and intensely flavorful. Consumers should be aware that many coffees being sold as Kona blends may contain only 10% Hawaiian coffee, typically blended with Latin American coffees.

Commercial Examples:  Ken Schmidt/Maui/Stone Kona Coffee, Macadamia, Coconut Porter | Stone Brewing Co.;  Hawaiian Speedway Stout / Speedway Stout w/ Kona Coffee| AleSmith Brewing Co.;


British colonial rulers developed coffee into a commercial crop that remained valuable until 1870 when Coffee Leaf Rust devastated virtually all the country’s plantings. In 1920, arabica was reintroduced and now accounts for about 50% of India’s total crop. India is the second biggest producer in Asia and is responsible for 25% of Asian coffee production. India’s coffee grows between 2,900 and 5,900 feet above sea level, usually on terraces in the mountainous regions. Coffees produced in India have more in common with Indonesian coffees than with coffees from Africa or the Arabian Peninsula. Good Indian coffees are grown in the states of Karnatka,, Kerala, and Tamilnadu (formerly Madras). In good years, these coffees can contain acidity typical of Guatemalan coffee, and the full body of a good Javanese coffee. In addition, these coffees incorporate the unique spicy flavours of nutmeg, clove, cardamom and pepper.

Commercial Examples: Coffee Saison | Indian Joe Brewing Co.; India Coffee Robust Porter 15% | Minipivovar Labuť; Pi|14.1 Pilot Series (Indian Coffee) | Brew By Numbers


Early Dutch explorers brought arabica trees to Java, which became the world’s leading producer of coffee until rust wiped out the industry in the 1870s. Farmers replanted, only to see their crops devastated again by military occupation during World War II. The acreage was again replanted but this time with disease-resistant, and less desirable robusta stock. With the support of the Indonesian government, arabica is once again being grown on some of the original Dutch estates. Estate Java is a wet-processed coffee that is more acidic, lighter in body and quicker to finish that other coffees in the region. Smoke and spice are flavors often associated with this coffee’s acidity. Some Javanese coffee is stored in warehouses for two or three years and is referred to as Old Java. This aging process causes the coffee to lose acidity and gain body and sweetness.

Commercial Examples: Eclipse | FiftyFifty Brewing Co.; Santa Fe Imperial Java Stout | Santa Fe Brewing Co.; Tovarish (w/ Peets Arabian Mocha Java) | Beachwood BBQ & Brewing

Papua New Guinea

Earth’s second largest island, New Guinea lies just north of Australia and is divided down it’s centre between the country of Papua New Guinea on the east and Indonesia’s Irian Jaya province to the west. Papua New Guinea, which occupies the eastern half of the island of New Guinea, is usually where coffee labelled New Guinea is grown. Cultivation started in 1937 with seeds imported from Jamaica’s Blue Mountain region. Coffee is cultivated by peasants on small plantations in the mountain highlands around Mt. Hagen, and processed using the wet method. Two of New Guinea’s most famous coffees are Sigri and Arona. These coffees are less acidic and aromatic than the best coffees of Sulawesi and less full-bodied than the best Sumatrans, but nonetheless they are well-balanced with a fruity aroma and earthy body.

Commercial Examples: Imperial Coffee and Cigarettes  | Cellarmaker Brewing Co.; Powder Monkey Bourbon Barrel-Aged With Papua New Guinea Coffee | Heavy Seas Beer; O’Hare Oatmeal Stout (w/ Passion House Coffee) | Revolution Brewing Co.

Sulawesi (or Celebes)

Formerly known as Celebes, The island Sulawesi in the Malay peninsula, along with the rest of Indonesia was under Dutch control from the early 1600s until World War II, and coffee production was introduced and dictated by the Dutch East India Company. In 1750, the first Typica plants arrived, as they had begun to spread around the other islands of Java and Sumatra. Celebes Toraja, grown in the mountainous area near the centre of the island, is one of the most famous. Coffees from Sulawesi are processed using the dry method and possess an intriguing combination of sweetness and earthiness. They are low in acidity with a deep body resembling maple syrup. These coffees are more expensive than Sumatran coffees because of small yields and the fierce demand for this coffee in Japan. The profile of these coffees tends to be more acidic and fruity, with a clarity and creamy body.

Commercial Examples: Ruby Sulawaesi Minanga Coffee Porter | Stillmank Brewing Co.; Sump Coffee Stout (2015) Sulawesi | Perennial Artisan Ales; The Magic Beyond: Sulawesi Coffee | Stave & Nail Brewing Co.


Two of the world’s best and most famous coffees come from Sumatra: Mandheling and Ankola. Both are dry-processed coffees grown in west-central Sumatra, near the port of Pandang, at altitudes of between 2,500 and 5,000 feet. Mandheling is known for it’s herbal aroma, full body, low acidity and rich and smooth flavor. With distinct earthy tones, full-body, and low acidity, Sumatran coffee is a unique experience to be enjoyed. The wet-hulling process it undergoes, unlike coffee beans from other countries, accentuates and mutes different aspects of the Sumatran beans and their subsequent cup of coffee.  The Sumatran coffee flavor profile is defined by wet-hulling. Its weird flavors that are a combination of earthy, spicy, wild, and “mushroomy” notes are balanced with a full-body and low acidity. While many of these nuanced flavors are muted by wet-hulling, the body and mouthfeel are enhanced.

Commercial Examples: Espressway | Two Roads Brewing Co.; Double Stack | Great Notion Brewing Co.;  Hammerhead Speedway Stout | AleSmith Brewing Co.


Thai Coffee has been becoming more popular in recent years and has also seen increasing production. In general Thai coffee tasting notes and reviews describe it positively, and is known for its complexity. In Chiang Mai, Thailand the company Nacha Coffee cultivates a strain of Arabica Typica. Located about 700 km north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai enjoys a mild, tropical microclimate with fertile soils in the Chiang Mai mountains providing conditions ideal for coffee growing. In addition to its milder climate than the rest of the country, Chiang Mai also has a shorter monsoon season and lower humidity. Coffee plants are cultivated in Chiang Mai at about 4,500 feet above sea level and the coffee cherry are hand-picked at peak ripeness and then sun-dried after being soaked to soften the pulp, which is removed. Thailand’s Arabica output is as high as that of Panama, currently growing at 15% per year.

Commercial Examples: Sapling Series: Swede Hook W/ Thai Coffee | Woods Boss Brewing Co.; Germophile – Mostra Thai Akha Hilltribe Dry Coffee | Rowley Farmhouse Ales; Dia de los Muertos Bourbon Barrel Aged [Thai coffee + hazelnuts + coconut + Saigon cinnamon] (Ghost 762) | Variant of Dia De Los Muertos (Ghost 725) | Adroit Theory


French missionaries first brought coffee to Vietnam in the mid-1860s, but production remained negligible as late as 1980. In the 1990s, however, Vietnamese coffee production was ratcheted up at a furious pace. Maybe too quickly for its own good with worries about quality circulating. Vietnam specializes in Robusta production and is  the world’s largest producer of Robusta beans, the other major coffee bean outside of Arabica beans. Vietnamese coffee beans leave you with a lingering aftertaste filled with nutty notes alongside bright acidity. The reliance on growing robusta beans has helped create Vietnam’s famous coffee and condensed milk drink “Ca Phe Sua”. Like other robustas, Vietnamese beans take well to dark roasting so be prepared for a bold flavor! Vietnam is now the world’s second largest coffee producer behind Brazil, and beats out Colombia by a significant margin.

Commercial Examples: Speedway Stout (Vietnamese Coffee) | AleSmith Brewing Co.; Black Eyed King Imp Vietnamese Coffee Edition | BrewDog; 3rd Anniversary BA Vietnamese (Da Lat) | Cycle Brewing Co.

Other Coffee

Kopi Luwak

Kopi luwak is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). It is also called civet coffee. The cherries are fermented as they pass through a civet’s intestines, and after being defecated with other fecal matter, they are collected. Asian palm civets are increasingly caught in the wild and traded for this purpose. Kopi luwak is produced mainly on the Indonesian Islands of Sumatra, Java, Bali, Sulawesi, and in East Timor. Although Kopi luwak is a form of processing rather than a variety of coffee, it has been called one of the most expensive coffees in the world

Commercial Examples: Zhukov’s Final Push | Cigar City Brewing Co.; Speedway Stout (Kopi Luwak) | AleSmith Brewing Co.;  Cafe Con Funky Indonesian Free Range Kopi Luwak | Funky Buddha Brewery; Double Chocolate Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout W/ Kopi Luwak | Cycle Brewing Co.; Beer Geek Brunch Weasel | Mikkeller


Cascara is found somewhere at the intersection of coffee and tea—although it comes from the coffee plant, the drink doesn’t taste anything like coffee. Cascara is often described as having a sweet, fruity taste with notes of rose hip, hibiscus, cherry, red current, mango or even tobacco. Likewise, the tea does not have the same caffeine content. Cascara is found somewhere between coffee and tea—although it comes from the coffee plant, the drink doesn’t taste like coffee.  While cascara has long been produced in Yemen and Ethiopia, coffee growers in South America (especially in El Salvador and Bolivia) have also begun to sell and export cascara.

Commercial Examples: Cascara Gose | Southern Grist Brewing Co.; Cascara Grisette | Goose Island Beer Co.; Cascara Orange Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout (2016)  | Cigar City Brewing Co.


Many mistake espresso as being a different bean due to the difference in texture, taste, and caffeination of the beverage, but the difference lies in the process by which an espresso is made. Espresso coffee beans usually belong to the dark roast category, as this is the stage in which the beans offer the least acidity with a fuller body. You will still be able to get slight hints of the bean flavor too. The dark roast of espresso beans are richest in coffee’s natural oils, evident in the oily sheen you can see on the beans. Emulsification of these oils, along with other compounds in coffee, prove helpful in producing the so-called espresso crema. However, you must be careful not to use beans that have been roasted too dark as the excess oil can clog up grinders, especially in super-automatic machines.

Commercial Examples: Espresso Oak Aged Yeti | Great Divide; Bomb! | Prairie Artisan Ales; Mornin’ Delight | Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.; Parabajava | Firestone Walker Brewing Co.

Green Coffee

Green Coffee Beans are just coffee beans that have yet to be roasted. The roasting process reduces amounts of a chemical called chlorogenic acid. Therefore, green coffee beans have a higher level of chlorogenic acid compared to regular, roasted coffee beans. Chlorogenic acid in green coffee is thought to have health benefits. Most of the “coffee flavor” we’re accustomed to, as well as the brew’s trademark aroma, are attributable to the roasting process.  Green coffee has a much milder, lighter flavor than regular coffee, and when it’s made properly it has a bit of thickness to it. The taste is somewhat grassy or like that of green or herbal tea. It’s also more acidic than roasted coffee. Coffee made from the raw green beans doesn’t really look like “coffee,” either. It usually has an amber color, sometimes with a hint of green.

Commercial Examples: Double Barrel Big Bad Baptist | Epic Brewing Co.; Dark Horizon 4th Edition | Nøgne Ø; Tripel Café | Southern Tier 

Black Ivory

Black Ivory Coffee is made by fermenting Arabica coffee beans that have passed through the digestive system of a herd of 20 Thai elephants. Black Ivory Coffee is manufactured at the Elephant Conservation Center in northern Thailand. With a 2022 approximate allocation of 215 kg (474 LBS), Black Ivory Coffee is the world’s most rarest and expensive coffees, at US $500 per pound. Black Ivory Coffee is sold primarily to select five star hotels. However a small portion is sold for private consumption by consumers. Those that have tried it claim that it has notes of chocolate, malt, spice, with a hint of grass and without the burnt or bitter taste of regular coffee.

Commercial Examples: Un Kono Blend Kuro (うん、このブレンド黒) | SanktGallen Brewery; Rarest Bean | The Unknown Brewing Co.