Single origin coffee is a great way to experience unique tasting notes from specific regions. It is also a great way to support your local roaster.
Coffee is much like wine, with the conditions of the growing region influencing the flavor of the bean. A quality blend can hide a lesser quality bean but it is nearly impossible to hide a poor tasting single origin.
The origin of a single-origin coffee refers to the country or region from which it was grown. This differs from a blend, which contains beans from multiple regions. Single-origin coffees are prized for their distinctive flavour profiles, influenced by the soil, climate and topography of the region where they were grown. They are often roasted more gently to preserve the integrity of their flavours.
The story of the coffee plant’s origin is both fascinating and controversial. According to one of the many legends, coffee was first discovered by a goat herder named Kaldi in the mountains of Ethiopia around the ninth century. When he noticed his herd running wildly and leaping through the trees, he found that they were munching on small red berries. Kaldi ate some of the berries himself and was immediately energized and alert. Unfortunately, the monks at his monastery were less impressed and proclaimed the berries to be devil’s creations.
Another version of the story suggests that coffee was first introduced to Arabia, specifically Yemen, in the 15th century. In this version of the story, a Yemenite Sufi mystic was traveling through Ethiopia on spiritual matters when he spotted some particularly energetic birds that were eating the berries of a shrub he called the “coffee plant”. The mystic decided to try some of the berries himself and found that they produced an energetic state in him as well.
Despite early criticism by religious figures and monarchs commanding their subjects to avoid the devil’s drink, coffee soon became popular all over the world. It eventually made its way to India, where it was smuggled out of the port of Mocha in Yemen and planted in Chikamagalur in the 1800s. From there, it spread to Europe and the rest of the world.
Coffee carries a variety of flavours and aromas depending on the region in which it’s grown, its altitude, climate and soil. It can also be influenced by the roasting process and blending. For instance, a light roast from Brazil could have citrus notes whilst a dark roast from Mexico might be full-bodied and chocolatey.
Single origin coffees are able to show the true flavour and characteristics of a particular region, as they’re not mixed with beans from other regions. This makes it easier for coffee lovers to enjoy the unique terroir of a particular region by tasting its characteristics individually. This can also help identify which regions and flavour profiles you like best, and helps to fine-tune your palate.
Tasting notes accompany each coffee to describe the unique characteristics of that specific coffee. These can include fruity, floral or earthy notes based on the natural aroma and taste of the coffee bean seeds. These can also indicate the level of acidity that a coffee will have which is often described as wine-like brightness, reminiscent of fruit or citrus.
Another defining attribute of a coffee is its body, which refers to the thickness and richness of the cup. A low-bodied coffee is smooth and velvety, while a medium-bodied coffee has a balanced taste that is satisfying without being overly heavy. A full-bodied coffee is thick and oily, with a sweeter aftertaste.
The way in which a coffee tastes is entirely dependent on the individual, so it’s worth experimenting with different single-origin varieties and flavour profiles. By doing this, you’ll find a coffee that really suits your personal tastes. You can also try brewing methods to highlight certain characteristics of the coffee – for example, a pour-over could bring out delicate floral notes in an Ethiopian single origin, whilst a French press could emphasize the chocolaty flavours of a Colombian.
The body is the thickness and weight of your coffee. While the acidity is responsible for the zing and brightness that many people love about their morning cup, the body provides the foundation to the whole experience. The body is a result of both the growing conditions and processing of your coffee. The soil, climate, altitude, and how much sun or shade the beans receive all influence the body of your coffee. Additionally, how the fruit is removed around the bean – called processing – can also impact on the body of your cup.
Whether you prefer your coffee light or dark, there are single origin options for you! While the darker roasts are best suited for blends, there are plenty of lighter single origin coffees out there with great bodies to support those roasty notes.
In fact, we roasted this particular single origin coffee with our Morettino method of clean hot air to give you a smooth and balanced profile. This process ensures that the body of your coffee is preserved as well as possible, while amplifying the organoleptic properties.
The beauty of single origin coffee is that it preserves the unique characteristics of its original location. It’s a bit like a wine from Napa tasting different from a Sauvignon Blanc from Tuscany, or how the soil in Hawaii creates more citrus notes than a farm in South America. Single origins are a great way to explore the vast array of potential flavour profiles that can be found across the globe.
In the world of coffee, acidity is a revered but somewhat contentious attribute. When it comes to coffee, there are a lot of factors that affect how acidy a cup is, including the roast level, the origin and the brewing process.
In general, a lighter roast will be less acidy than a dark roasted coffee. However, there are also other factors that contribute to a coffee’s acidity, such as the region it comes from and the exact species of the coffee bean. Veronica Belchior, PhD candidate and Q grader at the University of Minnesota, explains that each coffee has its own acidity characteristics. Malic acid, for example, is found in green apples and can give a crispness and sharpness to the cup of coffee. Citric acid, on the other hand, is more citrusy, and can be reminiscent of lemons and oranges. Finally, there’s chlorogenic acid, which can give a bitter or sour taste to a cup of coffee.
Additionally, the acidity of a coffee can also depend on its elevation. Higher altitude coffees typically have a lower pH level, which can result in a more acidic cup of coffee. However, this has more to do with temperature than elevation. Coffee grown at cooler temperatures will ripen slower, which can lead to more complex flavors and less acidity.
The most important thing to remember when choosing a single origin coffee is to find the one that best suits your preferences. For example, if you enjoy a bright and fruity cup of coffee, you might want to try a single origin from Kenya or Colombia. On the other hand, if you like a balanced cup that goes well with milk and sugar, a blend may be more your speed.
The quality and consistency that comes with a well-crafted coffee blend can really help to secure the loyalty of your customers. Many customers will become accustomed to the particular flavours of your blend, and come back for it again and again. A high-quality blend can also be a great way to attract new customers, as it gives them an idea of what to expect from your shop.
As the specialty coffee world has evolved, there is more of a trend towards bright and fruity tasting espresso from single origin beans. This requires the right combination of beans, roasting technique & equipment to pull off correctly. While it is possible to get these flavours from single origin coffee, it can be difficult and require a lot of time and effort. A good quality blend can help to reduce the amount of work needed to produce an excellent cup of coffee.
Creating a blend can be a great way to showcase the skills of your roaster. It allows them to create a profile that is unique and suits the needs of their customers. It can also be a great way to test out new ideas that they might not be able to achieve with a single selection of beans.
A good quality blend can also help to hide some undesirable characteristics of certain beans. This is one of the main reasons that commodity (Starbucks & grocery store) coffee is blended, and is so dark roasted. It is not usually possible to achieve these same results with a light roasted single origin coffee.
For those who prefer their coffee to be creamy and smooth, a quality blend may be the best option. This type of coffee is often served with milk, which can mask the flavours of individual beans and create a more uniform taste.