Why Does Coffee’s Geographical Origin Matter
You may be wondering why some people look for single origin coffee. Why does the coffee’s origin matter? Isn’t coffee just coffee? In a word, no. As with other crops, coffee plants are affected by the soil, climate and even altitude where they grow. Coffee plants grown in one region will produce beans that are distinct from beans grown in another region. Mexican coffee beans, while differing from region to region, farm to farm and even plot to plot, will have some general characteristics that distinguish them from beans grown in India, for example.
Let’s take a look at three of the top coffee-producing countries as examples to see how the distinct features of each region tend to affect coffee’s flavor.
Arrival Of 3rd Wave Coffee
The arrival of the third wave of coffee has turned the tide in the way we consume our favorite drink. Coffee professionals around the world are making more conscious and sustainable decisions regarding the way coffee is being cultivated, exported, roasted and brewed.
However, one of the aspects that makes a coffee stand out is undeniably its origin. You would think it is perhaps straightforward to explain what single origin means but the term keeps evolving along with the specialty coffee industry.Initially the term was used to describe a coffee from a specific country or region, for example a coffee cultivated in Brazil would be described as single origin. This is in contrast to a blend, which describes coffee beans from more than one country or region that are roasted and sold together .
The rise of single origin coffee was followed by a distinction between the flavor profiles from certain countries of origin. An example of this is the generalization that most Brazilian coffees have notes of chocolate and nuts while most Ethiopian coffees generally taste fruity. But with the constant progression of the specialty coffee industry, a lot of farmers have been experimenting with new ways of cultivating their coffee cherries. This has given a new meaning to what single origin means today.
Is Single Origin Coffee Better For Espresso
All of Italy cannot be wrong! Espresso calls for blends.
two perfect double espressos photo by John Edwards 2021
Its mostly about the method. In espresso preparation, the ground coffee goes through more extreme heat, pressure, and a super short brew time compared to other coffee making methods.
These extremes can throw the balance off-kilter and leave single origin espresso drinkers with a bad taste in their mouth.
You might not be so impressed with your $5 latte if it were suddenly brimming with notes of tangy lime!
To counteract these extremes, most espresso blends combine a few coffees to bring different tastes to the cup. Blending helps baristas to get a consistent taste and the blends are designed to combine more predictably with milk.
Recommended Reading: How Does Dunkin Donuts Make Their Iced Coffee
Single Origin Coffee In Espresso
To be honest, single-origin coffees must be tasted on their own. Due to its purity and authenticity, the taste is indescribable compared with other coffees. Many people believe that single-origin coffee is a micro lot coffee because it is specifically grown in a region and, at certain times, hand-picked by specialty. Therefore, the taste and the quality are unique and higher in quality somehow as it is a specific lot of coffee.
Espresso is slightly different from other coffee. And espresso is not recommended to be made from single-origin coffee beans at all. Espresso is a type of coffee that is famously strong. They must be under constant pressure and power in order to obtain that black liquid. Due to the conditions and preparations, coffee beans are ground carefully and could demand more power to make coffee. Subsequently, espresso is strong and dominant in flavor. In order to get a good cup of coffee, you will need to balance the espresso in order to get an interesting cup of beverage.
On the contrary, single-origin coffees are made already stabilized and balanced. Their taste is strong but it is stabilized and not well-rounded for espresso. It is to be consumed on its own and overall not a great substitute for espresso.
What Is Blended Coffee
Coffee blends are made up of two or more types of coffee beans from different origins or processing methods roasted together to get a more balanced and consistent flavour. These coffees represent the majority of coffee consumption as they allow us to conceptualise a particular flavour profile that we want to create or recreate, and then use different beans types, roast temperatures, and ratios to tweak the roast and achieve this.
You May Like: Swiss Water Decaf Brands
Is There A Best Single Origin Coffee Bean
This is the best part of coffee, there are no best coffee beans. It is just what you prefer and once you find a farm or region that produces coffee that you consistently like, then that region is the best single origin coffee bean for you!
However, this only applies if you enjoy the flavor of your coffee and not if you enjoy adding tons of milk and sugar to your brew. If you do this, you may prefer a consistent blend that is dark roasted.
I would think the best single origin coffee should be enjoyed black. The most famous locations for single origin coffee are:
You cant go wrong with any of these regions when looking for tasty single origin coffee beans.
When looking for single origin coffee beans to purchase you can look for the exact farms that they come from. Some time these farms cant supply enough coffee beans by themselves to export so you can find cooperatives too.
These beans come in micro and nano lots that you can choose which batch of coffee beans you purchase and you can find some of the best coffee this way.
Due to the nature of coffee beans and when there are available, these beans will not be for sale all the time and it will be best to purchase single origin beans during peak coffee season during early summer into fall.
Encourages Sustainable Farming Practices
Single-origin coffee tends to only be available for a limited amount of time. Thats because most coffee is harvested only once per year, so each batch is smaller than mass-market yields which encourages sustainable growing practices.
Coffee used to be farmed in the shade of trees, which encouraged biodiversity. But starting in the 1970s, coffee producers began cutting down trees to increase crop yields. Sun-grown coffee is grown in rows with no canopy, which destroys forests, increases the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and degrades soil and water, among other environmental headaches.
Single-origin coffee isnt necessarily shade-grown. But because theyre inherently produced in small batches, farmers can focus on quality, not quantity. Shade-grown, single-origin beans are environmentally sustainable because they support native bee populations, help preserve biodiversity, and promote growing practices that maintain the beauty of the planet.Talk about a better cup of joe.
Don’t Miss: How Much Caffeine Does Snapple Have
Single Origin Guatemalan Coffee Beans
Two Volcanoes Coffee is a single origin coffee, grown in the mountains close to the Tajana, and Tajumulco volcanoes. The volcanic soil and growing conditions produce a fine coffee bean. The region where its sourced from is called Barrancas, San Marcos. This region is known for producing great coffee beans, with a full body, no bitterness, and floral notes.
The beans are medium roasted, to fully preserve the identity, and they are roasted in small batch, to ensure a uniform roast. The package has a degassing valve to allow the gas to go out without the air coming in.
What Do Coffee Roasters Say About Single Origin
Coffee producers like the label single origin, but do coffee roasters? Well, yes and no.
Steve Hall, green bean buyer and head of quality at Caravan Coffee Roasters, says that originally single origin wasnt an indication of a perceived higher quality it was only used to differentiate a coffee from a roasters house blend. And nowadays, he feels that for most specialty roasters, single origin does not do the producer and coffee enough justice. These days were talking single varietal, single farm, day lots the possibilities are endless and fascinating.
Does that mean single origin is a bad phrase? Well, for Steve, perhaps inadequate would be more accurate. Think of a country like Tanzania, he told me. It has coastal tropical weather, the snow-capped peak of mount Kilimanjaro, the Nyiri desert, Lake Victoria and the Serengeti. The coffee growing regions border Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo the taste variations are outstanding! When looking at single origin on this scale, it misrepresents the amazing differences that can be found in coffee, but for lack of a better term, we use the phrase single origin. Over the course of time, it has come to be an indicator of quality its basically your coffee roasters way of saying, Hey, I think this coffee is pretty damn special and I want you to know about it.
Different Regions And Their Flavors
Interested in educating yourself on how to determine the origin of a bean by its flavor? Heres a guide to help you on your way.
Even within regions, specific countries can have varying flavor profiles. Going beyond the term single origin, the terms single farm and single estate are even more specific in pinpointing the origin of the bean. Its definitely safe to say that our coffee preferences are leaning more towards transparency and quality.
Easy Explanation About Single Origin Coffees
Welcome to another part of the coffee world. Today we are going to explore single-origin coffees. They have been around the market already. And the world should know more about this unique product. We will explain the terms as well as introducing some 5 easy explanations about this type of coffee. And guide you through the process of getting to know this particular corner of the coffee world a little better.
Read Also: Mr Coffee Coffee Maker Cleaning Instructions
The Bottom Line: Give New Coffees A Chance
Changing ones coffee palate takes time, and a big part of that is education. I think a lot of people are like, This is weird. Im out. Ill just go back to whatever I was doing before, Brooks said. I think once you start understanding it, you start to appreciate it because you realize this is intentional. This doesnt just taste this way by accident theyve actually done something to make it taste this way, and thats really cool. I think that once people start taking the time to learn about the coffee the processes and the growing and they learn about how complex it can be, they start to appreciate it.
Blend Vs Single Origin Coffee: Whats The Difference
There are a variety of labels you can find on coffee. From single origin coffee to coffee blends, each label signals a different coffee experience to the customer. But what does blend and single origin actually mean?
Some believe labeling coffee as single origin is a marketing technique to justify a higher price. The truth is, coffee blends are a combination of beans from several places, while single origin coffee comes from only one location.
Read on if youre curious about what makes them different and which one you should pick based on your preferences.
Also Check: Dunkin Donuts Coffee Coolatta Caffeine
What Do Coffee Farmers Say About Single Origin
Now that weve heard all the theory of single origins, what do coffee farmers themselves say about these coffees?
Todays coffee farmers, particularly those focused on specialty and single origins, take immense pride in the quality of their coffee. They care about the end result in the cup and how that translates to the consumer. As Andres Salaverria of Jasal Cafe in El Salvador puts it, Single origin coffees allow the consumer to understand a specific coffee or profile in its own right Its also a great way to show consumers whats behind a specific coffee and the love and passion each producer puts into its production.
Cesar Magana, farmer-barista-roaster at Lechuza Cafe in El Salvador, runs three small farms focusing primarily on pacamara varietals . Magana believes that consumers want to drink the best coffee available, which means they rely on direct trade between farmer and sourcing from origin. He says, If they understand the quality of the product, it guarantees sustainability for everyone making extra efforts in every step of the coffee-making chain. The barista or roaster should be able to give first hand information about the farmer and the farm to me, thats beautiful and thats why single origin matters.
So there you go coffee farmers approve of single origins as a process for increasing transparency around coffee.
Specialty roasting in action.
How Can You Know It Is Single Origin Coffee
The easiest way of determining whether it is single-origin coffee is by looking at the package. The package will contain some key information that you will need in order to distinguish them. There will be the location , what else of coffee was grown at that location, the processing methods, tastes, and producer name.
You can find all of this information on the labels of the brand. Otherwise, you also notice the name of the brand. When you stumbled upon one of the best Brazilian Coffee, you will be able to understand that it is of a single origin. Because certain regions like Brazil or Costa Rica do not import micro-lots instead they grow their own.
Another best way to get to know single-origin coffees for beginners is to buy a cup of single-origin in a cafe. The baristas will recommend you to a cup of adventure and you can build your trip accordingly. At the end of the day, you will gain two things: first, knowing the brand which you aim to do and, secondly, making your own coffee review about your first cup of single-origin coffee.
Recommended Reading: How To Make Coffee Like Dunkin Donuts
Why Do Roasters Create Blends
Coffee blends are often created to produce a unique flavor profile that combines features from multiple beans and origins. Great blends can be deep and complex, but poorly paired coffees often produce an overly simple flavor.
Blends are often created to produce a consistent product. Instead of having 1,000 pounds of 5 different coffees, you can combine them and have 5,000 pounds of one blend. This makes distributing a consistent product easier over a large area or time period.
Blends tend to take the edge of the harsher flavors of individual coffees. A washed Guatemalan may have a bright apple-like acidity that is enjoyed by some but not everyone. A roaster trying to appeal to a wider audience can pair that coffee with a more mellow Indonesian coffee to round out the acidity.
Sometimes these blends are roasted a little longer than the average bean to create a darker flavor with fewer kinks and surprises. By roasting away that Guatemalas shocking acidity, its able to flow more smoothly with the Indonesian coffees earthy notes.
This process makes the blend more approachable taste-wise, but it often roasts away some of the excitement that the coffee would have as a single origin offering.
Most coffee roasters sell a signature espresso blend thats designed to work well when brewed as espresso. Since espresso brewing is complicated and sometimes a little frustrating, these blends help create consistency across cafes and over time.
Single Origin Coffee Beans Why Are They Better
You may have heard the term single origin being used by your favorite barista while theyre whipping up your creamy cappuccino, and you might not have paid much mind to
If you enjoyed the post visit Coffee creating Methods for more coffee articles. The post at: Single Origin Coffee Beans Why Are they Better? is really among the a lot of coffee making tutorials, guides and equipment reviews we wrote for the budding home barista.
The pour-over technique, likewise known as the Chemex and V60 is one of the many popular varieties of coffee brewed. It is extremely simple. You heat water in the lower pot to the point of boiling. As the water cools, the vapor expands and creates a partial vacuum drawing the coffee through a filter into the pot. Youll get a cup of rich and delicious coffee once the water evaporates.
Another popular process of brewing is the French press, which is inexpensive humble to work with, and easy to use. This process is used to extract the flavor of the coffee beans by using the force of gravity. The first step is to grind 4 T of beans and wet paper filters. Then pour the water over the ground. After the sediments have sink to the bottom, pour the coffee into another mug.
This post firstly appeared at Coffee Brewing Methods, a website where you can learn how to make coffee at home, and how to choose your coffee brewing equipment and beans.
Recommended Reading: Califia Nitro Latte Caffeine Content
Demand For Single Origins Drives Changes At Origin
So what effect has the increasing popularity of single origins had on production?
It turns out that were a big enough market force to affect farming methods. Certain farmers are developing and improving high-quality crops in response to our demand. Some experiment with their selection of varietals or cultivars, the control they have over the growth stage, the harvesting times and techniques, and the milling and the processing methods.
Red Bourbon varietal, El Salvador. Credit: Jasal Café.