What is Single Origin Coffee?

Coffee trends shape coffee drinking habits much like other trends shape the clothes we wear or the way we decorate our homes.

Single Origin Coffee is the name on everyone’s “sips” at the moment.

What is Single Origin Coffee?

Most of the coffees you drink today are made from a careful mix of coffee beans grown on coffee plantations all over the world. When two or more types of coffee beans are mixed together it is called a blend.

Central and South American coffee can be blended together to achieve a mild flavor profile, or American, African and Indonesian beans may be combined to create an exotic, deep and earthy flavor.

Single Origin Coffee is, as the name suggests, a coffee bean that is grown in one particular geographic location. Typically it is therefore not considered a blended coffee, although within the one geographic location there maybe several varietals of coffee bean grown. And even on one plantation there are a range of factors that contribute to beans being classified in different ways. For example size, weight, whether it is a peaberry an so on.

Estate Coffee is a label that should ensure the coffee you are purchasing is a single origin coffee grown on one single estate.

Why do people like Single Origin Coffees?

Coffee achieves it’s variety of flavors due to a large range of circumstances. From altitude, temperature and other climactic conditions to the soil the plant is grown in. Each of these factors contributes to the profile of the beans.

Expert coffee roasters ensure that their roasting methods bring out these natural profiles. So some people believe that single origin coffees are the best way to really experience the single particular coffee taste of a geographic region.

Drinking Single Origin Coffee at home.

Single Origin Coffee tends to be a little more expensive than blended coffee so if you are purchasing some for home use it is really important that you know how to look after the whole roasted coffee beans to ensure that you can really taste the unique flavor profiles.

Your coffee emporium may offer to grind the coffee for you, but preferably purchase the whole beans and grind it, as required, at home for immediate consumption.

To really experience the unique flavors of Single Origin or Estate coffees try following this simple at home cupping guide:

Make your Single Origin Coffee according to your desired method. I recommend using a Coffee Plunger or French press to do a simple cupping at home.

Even if you like your coffee with milk and some form of sweetener have a little taste of your single origin coffee ‘black’ – without milk or sugar.

Hold a sip of it in your mouth, much the same way you would taste wine, and take note of the coffees taste according to the following categories:

  • What is the flavor like? What are the aromatic characteristics of the coffee? Is it smoky, nutty, chocolatey, caramelly, earthy or perhaps spicy?
  • What is the body of the coffee like? Is it a full bodied brew, or medium? Does it feel like sparkling water or denser like tap water in your mouth?
  • What is the acidity like? Let the coffee sit on the sides of your tongue. Do you get a tangy feeling? Is it sharp or mild?
  • What is the finish like? Swallow the coffee. Is there an aftertaste? Does it linger or vanish quickly?
  • Also make note of the coffee aroma.

As you experiment with different Single Origin Coffees you will begin to notice some subtle, and some not so subtle flavor characteristics of the 50 different coffee growing regions of the world.

Over time you will develop a list of favorite taste profiles which can also help you when selecting roasted whole coffee bean blends.

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