Zimbabwe, nestled in southeastern Africa between Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa, produces a large quantity of very good arabica coffee. This coffee has the same family characteristics of African coffee: high acidity, intense aroma and full body. African cofee has the best of everything! The overabundance in flavor and aroma comes through in a sharp note in the coffee, which is mostly due to its high acidity.

African coffee is graded with a double letter mark. AA is the highest grade, denoting largest bean size and fewest defects per pound. Defects are unripened beans or black beans or small stones that find their way into the coffee through harvesting and processing.

Following AA are the grades AB, BB, and CC in declining scale. The “AA+” grade, also offered by Clubs of America Coffee Taster’s Club, is a new grade available for the specialty coffee market. Processors take the AA grade, and sort it an extra time to remove all traces of additional defects, thus creating a superior coffee. Defects which find their way from processing through roasting and grinding can give a pot of brewed coffee an unappreciated “off flavor.”

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Amy Heydt
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