If you are a coffee drinker, you have probably noticed the very many different types of coffee available. There are different styles of coffee in how it is brewed, presented, and served. There are lattes, cold brew, iced coffee, pour over, nitro coffee, bullet proof, and more. Then with different roasts you see your typical light, medium, dark, and extra dark, and these all have different names depending on the coffee chain or brand. If you have been drinking coffee long or have a keen interest, you have likely also seen the words “blend” and “single origin” as well. One of the things that we love about coffee is the complexity in the process, from the harvesting of the bean to the cup in your hand. Knowing about the blend or origin of the product that you love makes your coffee experience that much more enriched.
Coffee: Bean Origin and Why it Matters
The climate where coffee can be grown is very specific. In order for coffee beans to grow properly, they need a high altitude and high amounts of moisture and tropical temperatures. This is why countries like Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ethiopia are ideal for coffee farming. Brazil has clocked in as the largest producer of coffee for over a century with billions of pounds being exported every year. Each region creates its own specific coffee bean with various dynamics in flavor, acidity, body, and more. This is why you might find yourself preferring one country’s coffee over another, like the tinge of fruitiness from Ethiopian coffee compared to the earthy flavor from Yemen. The country of origin plays a huge role in the taste of the coffee you are enjoying in your local coffee shop or home.
When you see the word “blend” on the menu or coffee bag, it basically implies that it is made from a mix of beans from different regions. Mixing coffee beans is no small feat. It takes an incredible amount of knowledge on what the various regions produce and how different flavors accent each other to create a high quality finished product. You have likely seen the words “house blend” as an option at a coffee shop. This sometimes means that the coffee shop owner created their own special blend of various regions themselves to create a new and dynamic flavor found only in their shop. It can also just be a house blend from another source. Most of the coffee that you consume is actually blended to some degree. If it does not specifically say “single origin” then it is likely a blend to some capacity. If the bag on the shelf says “Colombian” then it is likely a blend of different beans all originating in Columbia. You might think, “but if it’s all from Columbia, then isn’t that the single origin?” The answer is actually no, as you’ll see below.
Single Origin Coffee
Single origin coffee is actually way more complex than simply coming from the same general region. One region can have many different farms that have their own soil types, climate differences, and so on. For instance, Brazil is the 5th largest country in the world. So naturally, coffee produced from one area in Brazil has the potential to differ greatly from that of another. With this in mind, when you see the term “single origin” it means that all of the beans are from the same area or even the same farm. This can get a little intense in the sense that one coffee farm can actually produce several different unique beans with specified origins. You can see why the quality and the price of these beans are often much higher for this gourmet beverage. Because these various beans are extremely traceable to a micro-plot on a farm and the specific season they yield from, these beans are considered very high quality with the most purest flavor possible.
All a Matter of Preference
One of the best things about modern day coffee is that there are so many easily accessible options that can cater to different tastes. You don’t have to be a highly skilled coffee connoisseur to enjoy a great cup of coffee, but if you are interested in upping your game in the coffee world, single origin coffee is a fun way to be transported to a different place, flavor, and quality entirely – it’s an experience as much as it is a beverage!