A cup of coffee looks different around the world and the one thing that changes from country to country is the coffee beans. The preparation of the coffee is only one part of the equation as well as what it's served with, but beans are at the base of every good cup of coffee - and the best beans are at the base of every great cup of coffee.
Supporting local roasters is the best way to try different varieties (Portland has mastered the art of local coffee) and the good news is that many can also be ordered online for in-home use. Coffee connoisseurs know that acidity, bitterness, roast, and aroma all play a role in personal taste, and of those, these are some of the best in the world.
Hawaii's coffee has long been hailed as one of the best, if not the best, in the US, as voted by Forbes. The island of Kona grows high-quality coffee beans and their flavor is evident in its rich aroma and flavor. What makes these beans so wonderful are their growing conditions - the micro-climate on this large island provides the perfect amounts of sun, precipitation, and volcanic soil, which is rich in minerals.
Jamaican Coffee Beans
While Jamaica's coffee bean production might not be the largest, that doesn't mean it's not one of the best. These beans have often been called one of the smoothest blends, according to Home Grounds, but are also extremely rare to find. With 80% of the coffee beans crop going to Japan, it can be a challenge (and slightly pricey), but well worth it. The high elevation combined with volcanic soil and cool temperatures of this environment produce some of the best coffee beans around.
Kenyan AA Beans
Kenyan beans are the best in the world according to Home Grounds, and are well known for it. The double-A stands for the size of the beans, with AA being the largest classification. In Kenya, farmers are rewarded for the effort and time put into raising the best coffee bean crops, thus the high quality of the product. Kenyan beans are fruity and sweet, a slight acidity, and syrupy, rich texture.
Tanzania's beans are a bit different than the rest of the world due to the fact that they're actually Peaberry beans. The peaberry is a coffee bean that lies within the coffee cherry and is much denser than your typical coffee bean. Because of their density, they roast more evenly than other coffee beans, making for the perfect flavor balance. They're a bit pricey due to the process it takes to have Peaberry-only coffee beans, but it's definitely worth it to have such a flavor in your morning cup 'o Joe. Coffee made with these beans will have a medium body, slight fruitiness, and have subtle notes of brown sugar. They're best made with an automatic dripped or served as pour-over coffee.
Sumatra Mandheling Beans
Sumatra beans are another well-known type of coffee bean (widely due to Starbucks and its signature blends). Originating in Indonesia, these beans are of the dark roast variety and have a somewhat earthy aroma that's very telling. These beans are also lower in acidity than many which make for a smooth, bold flavor that's untainted by a heavy acid flavor. These beans are a great option for espresso or just for traditional brewing.