Single Origin Coffee Guide

Single Origin Coffee Guide

Single Origin Coffee FAQs


What is single-origin coffee? 

A coffee is designated as a ‘single origin’ if it has been harvested from the same geographical location. This can be as broad being from one country, or as specific as being from one plot of land. 

What does single origin coffee mean?

Single origin is a broad term used to describe a coffee that is from a singular location. Whether that is one producer, one farm, or more generally; one country. It is one phrase used to imply and market quality or uniqueness in the coffee industry, as opposed to traditional coffee that have been blended from multiple sources. i.e. single origin espresso vs an espresso blend. 

More recently, single origin’ has been accepted as more widely inclusive term, encompassing things such as ‘single varietal’, ‘single producer’ or ‘microlot coffee’. These are all exclusive terms which dictate where and how the coffee has come about.

What makes single origin more expensive?

Coffees that are designated as single origin have been chosen as they are unique in character or processing, and thus demand a higher price with respect to quality. As ‘Single Origins’ are generally traceable to a specific place, they typically have distinct and unique cup profiles which highlight where the coffee has been grown and the subsequent processing or labour inputs from the producer. 

What is the best single origin coffee?

While there are objective measures of quality within the industry, the best single origin coffee is the one that you prefer drinking. There is no ‘best’, only personal preferences. Each origin not only has its own unique growing conditions, but varieties and farming practices unique to each producer. That is why there is such a large variety of single origins available, with each ‘lot’ being separated from the total harvest. 

Is single origin coffee better?

Single origin coffee pays homage the terroir of coffee, and showcases coffee in a way which blends do not. It allows the customer to appreciate the character of the cup, knowing that it is from one location, farmer, or a singular portion of harvest. This allows the consumer to discern certain flavours or attributes associated with the place where the coffee was grown.

Read more about terroirs:

How do I choose a single origin coffee?

Thinking about food, you can start by considering what types of flavours you like to eat. This can translate to what you’d enjoy drinking in coffee. Tasting notes or flavour descriptors are added to each product so they can be a good point of reference for what a coffee may taste like. As a starting point, if you prefer nuttier, sweeter and balanced flavours, choose coffees from South or Central America. If you prefer something fruiter with more complex acidity, start with a coffee from Africa. Once you’ve tried coffee from a few origins you may wish to try specific processing methods that also have a big impact on flavour. You may find that you prefer specific processing methods from specific origins.

Find our single origins coffee here.

Can you use single origin coffee for espresso?

Almost all our single origins are roasted for both espresso and filter. While they may have to be prepared differently to achieve a delicious cup, just choose a roast style to match your brewing method at home and you’ll be able to start making great coffee in no time.

For more advice on brewing, check out our coffee brewing guides.

Is single origin better for espresso?

All single origins are different and have their own nuanced flavour. Some single origins taste better in as espresso, and others in filter. Sometimes certain types of single origins are more versatile in espresso as the flavours are able to cut through milk, as well as stand out on their own as a black coffee. 

What is special about Single Origin?

Being labelled as ‘single origin’ dictates that a coffee will have a unique flavour attribute whether that is a result of it’s growing conditions, processing or varietal. What truly makes a coffee special is not just the ‘single origin’ label, but a combination of coffee varietals, harvest conditions, and how the producer has chosen to process the coffee. All of these things and more, combine to give ‘single origin’ coffee it’s unique character and unlock it’s flavour potential. 

For in-depth coffee industry news and research, check out our favourite industry bodies:
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