When I was a university student I hated coffee with a passion. I sneered at the idea that I needed a “pick me up.” I actually thought that people who drank coffee were lazy and unhealthy. I even thought that I could operate at my optimal level without coffee. At that time, Starbucks was growing in popularity and I had no idea what the craze was about. Everybody had to have their mocha-latte, Frappuccino, or espresso, except for me. I was deftly against coffee mainly because my pocketbook dictated what I consumed. And for me a $4 latte was not in my budget, therefore, it was not in my appetite. However, life for me as I knew it all changed when I began living in South Korea. In fact, I hadn’t consumed alcohol either until I traveled to Korea. Soon after or just before traveling to Korea (I can’t remember which) I began consuming coffee (and alcohol). In South Korea, instant freeze-dried coffee was readily available so I developed my predilection for coffee beverages by consuming small amounts of this type of beverage. I continued to consume coffee during my time in Korea, and also began purchasing coffee at Starbucks locations around the country. Finally, my pocketbook afforded me the chance to dabble in coffee conneurshhip. I noticed while in Korea that the number of cafes was growing. Also, I noticed that generally speaking (which is never wise to do) Koreans are precision-ist (if that’s is a word). To that point, I remember stumbling upon a quaint cafe that boasted having the richest coffee around town. I found this idea intriguing because I had little idea what went into a good cup of joe — water and coffee. However, this cafe knew what makes a good cup of joe and so I was intrigued. Bold flavor. Richness. Earthy tones. These terms come to mind.
When I finally got a chance to travel far away from Korea, I got a taste of other cultures and their customs. First up, I went to Peru in 2015. There I worked as a teacher trainer for two weeks. Over that short stint, I taught lesson beginning at 9 and ending at 5pm. That was a grueling schedule so my colleagues and I drank copious amounts of black coffee — no cream, no sugar. Unlike the instant coffee in Korea, I found the Peruvian coffee to have a strong bold flavor that impressed my taste buds and kept me awake throughout the day. For those reasons I would say that Peru has some of the best coffee I have ever tasted.
In second place, I would rank Cuba’s coffee. The Cuban population has access to organic products which is surprising because Cuba is a poor country. Though that may be, Cubans enjoy freedoms and services that first-world citizens would envy. The Cuban organic coffee is bold, rich, and aromatic.
In first place, I can only put Ethiopian coffee in its rightful place. After all, coffee comes from Ethiopia. This is certainly not a joke either. In fact, all of the world’s coffee which is consumed and called “Arabica” is from Ethiopia. Sure there are different varieties, and I prefer a bold flavorful black coffee so my go to is Ethiopian Yirgacheffe blend.
1st Place — Ethiopia
2nd Place — Cuba
3rd Place — Peru