What is meant by single origin coffee?
“Single origin coffee” refers to those coffees that come from only one specific geographical area. Each single origin coffee has therefore unique properties and characteristics, very different from other types of coffee. This is because the peculiarities of a particular coffee are closely related to the soil where the plants have been grown, the climate and the environment that surrounds them. The close link between single origin coffee and its territory of origin also highlights the characteristics of each different geographical area and individual plantation. These characteristics differ not only for the environmental factors of the place, but also for the meticulous selection of strains and the different cultivation and processing techniques that are done in the field. The result is therefore a very different coffee depending on the area where it originates: you can thus experience a real journey inside a cup of coffee.
A wonderful yet sad thing about single origin coffee is that once you have finished your stock from a particular harvest you will never be able to taste that coffee again.
The bean belt
The Bean Belt is the horizontal strip that lies in between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn.
- Central American – Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador, Jamaica, Puerto Rico.
- South American – Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
- Africa & Arabia – Burundi, Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Indonesia – Java, Sumatra, Papua Guinea
- Southeast Asia – Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar
- Australia – North Queensland, South East Queensland.
These are areas with well-defined dry and rainy seasons and at altitudes of between 550-1100 meters above the sea level (MASL). This gives a single season and single harvest per year. With low rainfall in the dry season, dry or natural processes are common.
Closer to the equator with latitudes less than around10° and higher altitudes between 1100-2300 MASL. In these areas, where there is frequent rainfall, two coffee seasons are possible in one calendar year. Wet processes and mechanical drying processes are more common.
WHAT IS A COFFEE BLEND ?
Coffee blend is a coffee obtained from a blend of beans, grown in more than one place, belonging to different varieties of plants, each with specific characteristics.
Why blend different varieties of coffee together?
There are three main reasons:
1) Cost Reduction. Large commercial roasters frequently combine cheaper coffee with more expansive beans, to reduce the cost of their products.
2) Creation of a consistent taste profile. Customers expect a brand of coffee to taste the same from one cup to the next. Since quality as body and flavor differ greatly between regions and farms, the only way to ensure a consistent taste is to blend coffee from different regions in order to minimize these differences. The result is a cup of coffee with no predominant taste notes ( balanced blend).
3) Create a specific flavor profile. Here lies the true art of coffee blending: discovering and melting the unique qualities of two or more varieties, with the aim of creating a distinctive coffee with exclusive properties.
Here are a few key differences between blends and single origin coffee to fill your cup with:
SINGLE ORIGIN COFFEE
- All beans come from one location (can be a country or region within a country)
- Unique flavours reflect the origin of the beans
- Often lightly roasted to sustain natural flavour of the bean
- Mostly known to be used as a filter coffee
- Increasingly used as espresso and new cafes for its exotic flavour profiles
- Beans from a variety of locations that are mixed together
- Smooth, well-rounded taste
- Beans can be blended together before or after roasting