The term “strongest” coffee can be a bit tricky. Although the strength of coffee mostly comes from its roast level, many coffee enthusiasts associate the strength of coffee with the quantity of caffeine it contains. Similarly, when someone asks “what country has the strongest coffee?”, the answer depends on what they mean by it.
If by strongest you mean has the most caffeine, then the United States has the strongest coffee. There are multiple US brands that have ridiculous amounts of caffeine in them – like Death Wish. Death Wish has roughly seven times more caffeine per serving than normal coffee.
The country with the strongest coffee, however, could be the one with the strongest coffee culture, the one with the highest-quality coffee beans, or the one manufacturing the highest caffeinated brands.
In today’s article, we’ll be discussing the top countries in each of the three domains to make sure you get an answer no matter how you interpret the concept of coffee strength.
What Country has the Strongest Coffee Culture?
The first spot on the list of countries with the strongest coffee culture is reserved for Italy, and for several reasons. Coffee is embedded in Italian history, Italian cuisine, and even Italian architecture.
Italy doesn’t only have a strong coffee culture on the local scale, but it also established and influenced coffee culture in many other countries worldwide. Here are some of the reasons we support the crowning of Italy as the number 1 country when it comes to coffee culture.
Italy’s Coffee History
- Italians came up with the espresso – the process of brewing espresso and the machines used to do it are inventions from Italian pioneers starting with Angelo Moriondo’s patent in 1884 and going through a long line of inventors including Desiderio Pavoni, Luigi Bezzera, Achille Gaggia, and Carlo Ernesto Valente.
Author Note: The latter’s company “Faema” invented the E61 motor-driven pump/group head that became a staple part of every commercial espresso machine used nowadays.
- Italy is home to worldwide roasted coffee bean suppliers – while it’s true that most roasted coffee bean suppliers are based locally in each country, Italy has 3 suppliers with a global market for their brands. These are Lavazza, Illy, and Segafredo Zanetti.
What’s more, Italian roasters have developed and perfected the art of blending Robusta beans with Arabica beans to create a range of deliciously unique tastes.
- Italy gave the world most of its coffee-related terms – Italians are behind most of the universal coffee terms that millions of people use every day as coffee language. These terms include americano, cappuccino, breve, espresso, doppio, grande, mocha, macchiato, con Panna, latte, caffè, caffè misto, caffè latte, and caffè corretto.
- Italy is the inspiration for famous latte art – it’s pretty much a known fact that David Schomer was one of the first to introduce and popularize latte art in the US, but his inspiration is Italian. In his book “Latte Art 101”. David openly admits that he was inspired by a rosette pattern he saw in a photo from Cafe Mateki in Itlay.
- Italy has some of the oldest cafes in the world – with names including Pedrocchi Coffee House – Padua, Baratti & Milano, and Caffe Greco (Antico Caffè Greco), it’s clear that Italy is headquarters for several ancient cafes.
It also has Caffe Florian, which has been open for business since 1720 beneath the arcades of the Procurative Nuovo. It was first called “Venezia Triofante” (Triumphant Venice), but the name was changed later to honor the cafe’s founder Floriano Francesconi.
What Country has the Highest Quality Coffee Beans?
When it comes to the country with the highest quality coffee beans, the competition is brutal.
This is why our answer will include not one but 6 countries that are known for producing the most premium-quality coffee across the globe.
Accounting for about 10% of the world’s coffee production, anyone can see why Colombia is considered a beast in the coffee industry. Colombia produces some of the finest Arabica beans you can get your hands on, recognized worldwide for their overall excellent quality.
Colombian coffee beans don’t have the same quality as the country produces a range of qualities including Supremo, Extra, and Excelso. The highest of them all is Supremo.
Supremo coffee beans are processed utilizing the latest technologies and available in large, smooth grains that deliver a super-rich flavor with a velvety aroma. Genuine Supremo grade Colombian coffee is not easy to find.
Extra grade Colombian coffee has a marginally lower quality compared to the Supremo grade, so it’s still quite good. As for Excelso, it’s a blend of both Supremo and Extra grades that yields an acidic flavor similar to wine aftertaste.
Known for producing very high-quality coffee beans, Guatemalan coffee grows in mountain areas where the beans develop an intense, pleasantly acidic flavor thanks to the climatic conditions up there.
The most famous Guatemalan coffee variety is called “Antigua Volcanic”. It’s characterized by a heavy, sophisticated taste coupled with an intense, clean aroma carrying hints of smoke.
Sometimes coffee from Guatemala has a lighter, more bright flavor with strong acidic tones as a result of being frequently affected by ocean winds.
Coffee beans from Costa Rica offer a classic flavor as they’re well rounded in all aspects. Costa Rican coffee is typically made using wet-processed Arabica beans, which are smooth and soft with hints of a deep walnut flavor due to their cultivation on volcanic soils.
The Arabian Peninsula
Author Note: One of the most globally-recognized coffees is known as “Arabian Mocha”. For centuries, this coffee has been grown and cultivated in the mountains of Yemen in the southwest Arabian Peninsula.
Widely considered as one of the best-tasting coffees in the world, the Arabian Peninsula delivers a distinct chocolaty flavor with faded wine undertones. The appearance of these coffee beans, however, isn’t as appetizing as they taste because they’re tiny, have an irregular shape, and often broken up.
The fact that this coffee is produced in limited quantities makes exporting the Arabian Mocha a very rare occurrence. Sharki, Sanani, and Matari are the primary export varieties.
Quite a few of the finest coffee varieties are cultivated in Ethiopia, but the one known as “Harrar” is the country’s pride and joy. This particular coffee is grown in the highlands of the Eastern part of the country on small farms.
Harrar typically delivers a taste of wine with slight astringency. It may also offer a fruity or spicy flavor depending on the growth conditions.
Referred to as one of the best coffees in a James Bond movie, Jamaican coffee is considered to be of elite quality and it costs hefty money. It has a classic flavor with a rum-like aroma, but sometimes the flavor can be on the mellow, smooth side.
What Country has the Strongest Caffeinated Coffee Brand?
If you measure the strength of coffee based on its caffeine content, we’ve put together a list of brands that produce some of the world’s strongest coffees:
This particular brand is famous for its strong coffee, especially in the United States. Part of its popularity is because of the massive publicity that the company gained after winning a free Super Bowl ad in 2016. Ever since then, Death Wish Coffee has been going out of stock the moment it hits the shelves.
So does it deserve the propaganda? Well, the company claims that their coffee is the most potent in the world, packing an insane 728 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce cup. To put that into perspective, the safe daily intake limit of caffeine for a healthy adult is 400 milligrams.
Also playing the field of edgy names, Black Insomnia is another brand from the US with a bold claim of producing the strongest coffee in the world. In fact, the rivalry between this brand and Death Wish has been brutal, especially with Black Insomnia conducting tests to discredit the claims of its competitor being the most caffeinated coffee on the planet.
Author Note: Now us average Joes can’t do much to settle the argument, but we can agree that both coffees deliver a serious kick. Black Insomnia contains 702 milligrams of caffeine per 12-ounce cup, pretty close to the announced levels by Death Wish.
Killer Coffee Co
This coffee brand is an Australian contender competing under the supercharged coffee category. It doesn’t claim to be the strongest coffee on the globe, but it does pack some impressive power with 645 milligrams of caffeine in each 12-ounce cup. Again, this is way more than what you can get in regular black coffee.
The thing with Killer Coffee Co is that while the company markets itself as a “strong” coffee first, it’s also big on things like freshness and 3rd wave craftiness, offering options such as whole bean and Aeropress bundles. It has quite a dark roast with a strong, mellow flavor without bitterness.
There you have it, a thorough answer to the question “what country has the strongest coffee?”. As you can tell by now, the answer can wildly vary depending on how the person asking interprets the concept of strength.
However, we’ve made sure to cover the main three aspects you may be referring to when talking about countries with strong coffee, which are coffee culture, coffee quality, and caffeine content.
Stay caffeinated friends!