Until quite recently, single origin coffee was something only coffee connoisseurs sought after. With the literal explosion in coffee lovers around the globe, it’s time to introduce one origin coffee to the world. If you are like most coffee lovers out there, you may be assuming that the 100% arabica coffee you drink each morning comes from a single geographic region of the world. While that might be true, it’s usually not the case. Just because a coffee roasting and packaging facility doesn’t tell you that those arabica beans may come from multiple sources, it doesn’t indicate false advertising.
They are labelling products accurately if they only use the type of coffee marketed. The only time it would be false or misleading tactics would be if they advertised 100% arabica blend but included Robusta without labelling that in the ingredient blend. With all that said, let’s introduce you to single origin coffee and why it is something often sought after by coffee connoisseurs around the world.
Packaging Single Origin Coffee
Perhaps some of the smaller coffee roasting and packaging companies only order coffee beans from one location. This would suffice if they didn’t have a huge market and were simply servicing small, local gourmet shops. However, most coffee roasting companies have a much larger customer base which means they may probably need several suppliers.
What you should know about this is that every time they run a new shipment from a different supplier, all machines and packaging equipment is cleared of the previous roast and grind. If whole beans are being packaged, there is no need to clean the grinder when running this batch. One origin coffee will remain true to form and you will only be getting coffee from that particular region of the globe. If the roaster were to leave some beans in the equipment, it would no longer technically be single origin coffee.
That’s what you need to know about how it is processed and packaged, but many connoisseurs buy specific labels because they believe in the ethical business practices of that supplier. Also, they may stick with a specific supplier because they are familiar with the brew and prefer it over others they’ve tasted.
It’s All About the Flavor
Now you may want to know why so many coffee aficionados prefer single origin coffee. It’s really all about the flavor. When you purchase a simple bag of arabica, for example, you are perhaps getting coffee roasted and packaged with beans from various locations around the world. To illustrate this, let’s look at arabica coffee, which we’ve been mentioning. Arabica coffee finds its historical origins in Ethiopia and when grown there, it is grown in the same soil it has been for literally thousands of years. The nutrients it takes up to grow those beans are consistent in the region.
When European merchants made their way east, they discovered coffee and brought it back with them. Not only did they bring the beans, but they brought seeds to grow as well. This is just lightly touching on the history of how growing coffee progressed around the world. The point is, every time you grow a plant, the very same plant, in another region, it will typically take up the ‘taste’ achieved from the soil or medium in which it is grown. That’s a given and that’s why many coffee lovers seeking to buy single origin coffee also look at the region in which the beans were grown.
In short, it’s all about the unique flavor specific to that single origin coffee.
Breaking Down One Origin Coffee Further
As mentioned above, single origin coffees grown within that region will all have very similar compositions based on the soil, nutrients, and environmental conditions within that region. Then you have coffee that is broken down even further in that it will be specific to one farm or plantation. Even though the conditions for growing coffee in that region are the same, each farm may use different nutrients, water differently and perhaps they grow under certain environmental conditions.
Furthermore, just because two coffee farms began growing coffee from seeds obtained in the same region, doesn’t mean their coffee will be exactly alike. They may have imported seeds from two very biodiverse regions of that country which would definitely have an impact on the crop in terms of yield and flavor.
Environmentally Friendly Single Origin Coffee
Something else you may find with single origin coffee for sale is that growers focus on sustainability. This is one of the reasons why many coffee distributors are seeking one origin coffee. With global warming in the forefront of everyone’s minds these days, it’s important to provide a product consumers can feel good about buying.
This is not to say that all one origin coffee is environmentally friendly, but it is often the case when buying one origin coffee beans from a planter who understands the need to work a sustainable farm. Keeping things like water consumption and natural pesticides in mind, two farmers growing coffee in the same geographical origin may have totally different products. One will be sustainable and the other not.
Sometimes coffee farms get bad press because they can hinder the natural migration of such insects as bees that pollinate plants. In many areas of the world this is becoming a huge concern. It’s especially the case when chemical pesticides and nutrients are used on producing those beans.
However, coffee lovers can take heart in the fact that many of the single origin farms are actively using sustainable farming methods. Not only do they focus on trying to limit water consumption, but they also use organic nutrients to feed them such as from composting. In the process of removing the husks from coffee beans, it is possible to add those to the compost. This can form a huge percentage of the total being composted and even ground coffee that didn’t get processed can be added to the mix.
Finally, there are many large coffee roasters and suppliers who focus on sustainable roasting of the beans they buy in bulk. One such company is Starbucks that prides itself on green roasting practices to reduce their carbon footprint. So then, sustainable single origin coffee can be the product of growers and/or roasters. It’s a total effort and one which most environmentalists appreciate.
When You See Single Origin Coffee for Sale
In attempting to pull all of the above together as your introduction to single origin coffee, there are a few takeaways to be aware of when you see single origin coffee for sale. The first main topic of focus would be the meaning of single origin coffee and differentiating geographical one origin coffee and individual growers within that one location. There may be differences, however slight, but a seasoned coffee lover can usually spot that small difference in flavor.
Secondly, and although this wasn’t mentioned, you may find that some single origin coffee products may be a bit more costly than their multi-origin counterparts. This is due to the supply and demand factor and when you are one of a few growing sustainable coffees within your region, for example, you can name a higher price for your beans. Most, if not all, coffee aficionados would rather pay the slight difference in price for a huge difference in quality and flavor. Then in turn, the distributor and local merchants can also exact a higher price.
Also mentioned above is that it pays to do a bit of research on the area of the world in which your preferred coffee is being grown. It is widely known that arabica coffee emanating from growers in Ethiopia, the land of arabica’s origin, would be different from arabica coffee being grown in Hawaii or Brazil, for that matter. If you can find source material on differences in taste from region to region, it helps if you choose the single origin coffee you desire based on the region of growth. Remember, the soil in which coffee is planted will differ from region to region and so nutrients will differ, resulting in variances in flavor.
It’s Never Too Late to Learn
If this concept of single origin coffee is new to you, then isn’t it time you tried it yourself? You will be able to recognize the distinct differences between arabica grown in Columbia and that grown in Yemen. It really is never too late to learn when it comes to something like the sustainable impact of one origin coffee grown and harvested by sustainable farming practices.
If you want to experience a truly delightful cup of coffee, choose a one origin coffee, whether whole bean or ground, and discover just what you’ve been missing all these years. Just remember that the roaster and distributor can also have an impact, so check that out as well. Not only are you looking at the environmental impact but obviously the flavor of that coffee you love so much. It’s never too late to learn, so buy single origin coffee to see why connoisseurs prefer one origin coffee above all mass marketed coffees.