What is single origin coffee?
By definition single origin coffee is coffee where all the beans are sourced from one specific region. An example of a single origin coffee would be a coffee entirely from Takegon, Sumatra.
However the grey area is the definition of a specific region. A single origin coffee could be:
- Coffee entirely from one farm.
- Coffee from multiple farms in the same general area. (very common)
- Or coffee from multiple farms in the same country.
There are no real rules or a governing body enforcing the labeling of coffee. By comparison to wine, where you’ll see the producer and region more clearly defined on the label. A lot of coffees come from different farms in the same region. Many craft roasters do a good job of specifically calling out the coffee farm on their packaging.
If you drink coffee on a daily basis especially from a coffee shop or restaurant it’s most likely a blend. The same goes for the espresso in your latte, that espresso is likely made from a blend. If a coffee shop is offering a special coffee (most now have at least 1 or 2 coffees on the menu) then that’s more likely to be a single origin. If a coffee shop says we have an Ethiopian coffee for our pour over today, you’ll probably looking at a single origin.
Single Origin vs. Blends
If a coffee is a single origin does that mean it’s better quality? The simple answer is no, it’s really up to the individual preferences of the drinker. Most coffees you’ll drink are blends. Single origins in most cases have a very defined taste. Where a blend can be more balanced by offsetting stronger flavors, or creating a new flavor.
Are Single origin coffees more expensive?
There are is not a lot of specific data on this, but in general single origin coffees, especially those coming from one specific farm are more expensive. They’re typically more expensive because they’re rarer and limited in quality. A classic supply and demand situation.