There are always exceptions to the rules, but here is a list of pretty safe coffee regional generalizations. Notice that they don't touch on aromas / specific flavors. This is because aromas are very variable depending on which county, region, and estate it comes from.

Central America – clean, high acidity, light to medium body

 American Islands - clean, low to medium acidity, medium to good body, sweet & mild

South America – clean, low to high acidity, medium-bodied

Africa & Arabia –high acidity, little to medium body, flavorful

Indonesia – low acidity, good body, good character

Asia – low acidity, good balance

Start talking about Fair Trade coffee to people in the coffee industry and you may be in for a heated discussion. Though this hot topic really started because of the cold war. Before 1989, the price of coffee was stable due to the International Coffee Agreement, but when the cold war ended, so did the agreement, thus the induced stability of coffee prices ended, and supply and demand kicked in. The Fair Trade label was then born in the Netherlands that same year under the brand name Max Havelaar, and then TransFair USA when the company came to the USA a decade later. So what exactly does TransFair USA do? Transfair's stated goal is to ensure that farmers get decent prices for their beans, and to let consumers know it. To accomplish this, Transfair USA audits the chain of coffee custody from producer to finished product, verifying that Fair Trade standards are always being met. Those "Fair Trade standards" are determined by the FairTrade Labeling Organization International (FLO), a group of about 20 member organizations, including Transfair USA, who help with the certification process.

   For a coffee farm to receive Fair Trade certification, they have to totally align themselves with the vision of the FLO, and pay for the certification, and pay annually for recertification. To align themselves with the FLO vision the coffee farmers must follow pages upon pages of rules including rules such as not being "structurally dependant on hired labor" (so having just one laborer on payroll year-round makes a farm ineligible for certification). And the certification and recertification fees are quite expensive - thousands to tens of thousands of dollars, US dollars. Which, to many US-based businesses may not seem like a lot, but to a coffee farmer in a Third-World country that sort of money is often just out of the question. Therefore, unfortunately, those farms that are poorest, the ones that most need the market boost that Fair Trade certification brings, often cannot afford it.

   Organic certification is a similar case. For example, many farms in Sumatra do not use pesticides, herbicides, or the like, (much because they can not afford them) and could technically meet Organic certification criteria. However, paying the fees involved in certification is also out of their reach financially. I feel that the main ideals behind Fair Trade and Organic are benevolent; but the current implementation is causing many poor farmers (and not poor farmers) to become poorer because they either cannot afford certification fees, don't totally align with the ideals of the certification authority, or would rather spend their money on improving their coffee and paying their laborers. While coffee farmers who can afford the certification and choose to get it, receive a market advantage caused by a consumer pull for the certified coffees. Many coffee brokers, roasters, and retailers get certified and sell certified coffee not because they believe it is the ethical thing to do, but because its what the consumers are often pulling for.

   Certification is largely a marketing business, and a huge business at that. Muggswigz coffee & tea co. does happen carry some Fair Trade coffees, but they are not advertised as such because we feel it gives an unfair marketing advantage. But then again, how can we really say what's fair or unfair concerning an important issue deeply rooted in hundreds of different cultures across the world? I dunno, but I do know that whether you agree with the certifications or not, at least now maybe you know a little more. And knowing is half the battle.

It is possible. For example, a cup of coffee from coffee trees in a eucalyptus-ridden area of Sidamo Ethiopia may have a eucalyptus aroma. So, how does this happen? I dunno. But, with my so-so credentials of a molecular genetics degree and subsequent lab work, the following is the best hypothesis I have come up with. Aromatic compounds are continuously being emitted by plants. Walk through a patch of mint, stand in a breezy orchard, or just go outside somewhere you see lots of green and you'll smell it. So aromatic (and non-aromatic) compounds are in the air, but how would they get into the coffee beans? Well, leafy plants actually do a lot of "breathing" through their stomata (little portholes for air in the leaves). Plants need a lot of carbon dioxide for all that photosynthesis, and with the air comes those aromatics. Once the aromatics come through the stomata, they have access to the parenchyma! The loose packing of the parenchyma cells in leaves provide an interconnecting system of air spaces, and since gases diffuse through air several thousand times faster then through water, those aromatics zoom throughout the plant. Then, since the plant cells have aromatics in and around them, and the seeds (coffee beans) are made from those cells, the seeds would contain the aromatics also. So now we have green (unroasted) coffee with these eucalyptus, peach, mint, or whatever aromatics were around the plant when the seed was being formed. The problem now is that these beans are going to be subjected to temperatures in the hundreds of degrees during roasting. So the question becomes, can the aromatics take the heat? Undoubtedly, some cannot, but, undoubtedly some can! Because if no enzymatic (fruity, herby, flowery) flavored compound could survive roasting, then none could ever be detected in roasted coffee! (and they are all the time, as long as the coffee is fresh) So that's the hypothesis, when I'm feeling extra ambitious I'll do some research and plug in some numbers to see how perceptible of an effect this pathway could have.