Coffee in Europe for some reason always seemed to be better than North American Coffee, and I asked a barista "why?" . The answer is that normally European coffee is grown in Africa from Arabic beans, and coffee which is generally served up in N. America is generally from South America.
Same beans right? Well, no. Seems that, like banannas, wine grapes and apples, coffee plants are mostly propogated by shoots and grafting techniques, and that in reality there are only a couple of dozen different coffee plants in the world. Similarly, there are only a couple dozen different apple trees in the world. And apparently only two or three edible bananna plants, infinitely re-produced by grafting onto local rootstock. But, I digress.
So few coffee plants, and each have a very distinct aroma and flavor. African coffee is strong, roasts well and predictably, and has a characteristic that it masks most chemicals found in N. A. tap water. Columbian coffee on the other hand, seems to enhance the flavor of tap water the way salt enhances the flavor of a tomato, so you actually have to have VERY good water to have good South American coffee. I found that I could only drink most coffee in Canada if I made it with distilled water.
So, European coffee is not so much better as that it masks the chemicals!
Speaking of coffee....it is clearly much on my mind, so I think I'll go get one.