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South America

South America

Like Central America, South America has long had a reputation for growing "pleasant" coffees. The typical coffee from South America is balanced, smooth and light, on the mildly acidic side. Again, though, much of what we expect from most South American coffees was developed by large programs that were designed to homogenize the coffees of a specific region to make them palatable for sale to the big coffee companies. As the craft coffee movement has taken hold, many South American coffees are truly coming into their own, and the striking differences between the flavor profiles of each region are becoming more and more obvious. Even within the countries, you'll find striking contrasts between coffees grown in the different regions, and even between those grown on different farms in the same region. When you add in the influence that varietals exert, it quickly becomes obvious that the South American coffee landscape is one of surprising richness and diversity.

In general, coffees from South America tend to be slightly fuller-bodied and less acidic than Central American coffees, but much lighter and brighter than most African and Pacific coffees. They're an ideal starter choice for people who are used to and like high quality coffeehouse coffee but aren't familiar with single-origin coffees.

  • Bolivia: Delicate, bright and sweet
  • Brazil: The perfect espresso base
  • Colombia: Balanced, sweet and smooth
  • Ecuador: Unremarkable, thin body, commodity
  • Galapagos Islands: Buttery, fruity, rich
  • Peru: : Sweet almond and vanilla
  • Venezuela: Medium body, sweetly acidic