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What Is Single Origin Coffee?

There are many perks of farming coffee by way of single origin and micro lot. Among them is high quality produce and traceability. Coffee farmed through these means are also sold in fairer prices, with profiles that are indeed exotic. Then there is experimental processing.

Truly, their reputation is wonderful, but a lot of people need to understand what “single origin” means, and how it differs from single estate, as well as micro lot and nano lot. How can producers guarantee that micro lot coffee is not mixed with other types? This article will elucidate about these.

When you say single origin, it basically means a type of coffee that has its origins from a single place. Taking a closer look, you’ll realize that there are many variations of this (see our single origin coffee beans online).

Variations Of Single Origin Coffee

Single country or region. There is a category of single origin coffee that comes from a particular country, or a specific region of that country. Historically, it is known that Colombian coffee is extraordinary and has high quality beans compared to the Colombian-Brazilian blend.

Then again, to this day, numerous coffee lovers argue that Colombian coffee can still be considered as a blend, because, for instance, there is a marked difference between Huila coffees and Caqueta coffees.

Single farm/estate. This type of coffee is obtained from one single farm and is generally more pricey because of its high quality. Its flavour profile is quite unique.

Single cooperative. There are cases wherein it is not possible to produce single farm coffee, mainly because there are locations wherein farmers can only harvest a few bags of coffee. So from the yield of many farmers that have worked hard together, the local cooperative does its job by combining them, but only if they pass stringent quality requirements. The harvesting, along with the processing methods of these farmers are strictly regulated.

Micro lot. This type of coffee is produced from a solo plot of land located in a farm. The harvesting and processing of this coffee is on such a small scale, resulting to increased costs. The sale price also escalates to get even. Coffees sourced via micro lot are therefore excellent in quality.

Nano lot. A clue can be derived from its name. By nano lot, it means land that is even smaller than a micro lot.

What Makes High Quality Coffee?

Is it because it is single farm, or maybe micro lot or nano lot? Is it really that single origin is not as good as it was before?

Origin is actually very significant because the quality and type of the soil, the climate, production options and processing methods all dramatically affect the quality of the coffee produce. Big manufacturers are in fact backing down from single country and even region. This boils down to the question as to whether smaller is indeed better.

Why Coffee From Smaller Lots Are Better

There are 4 major reasons why the coffee production trend is moving en route to smaller and more particular lots and origins. They are the following:

  • Traceability is easier. Coffee enthusiasts are keen on knowing where their favorite cup comes from. Knowing more details about it makes one more connected to the source of their drink. It will even inform them of its sustainability. Is the coffee and the farm certified? This way someone would know if the coffee they are drinking is produced sustainably. With the origin of your coffee being a smaller lot, it is easier to obtain traceability, especially pertaining to where it was grown, the conditions contributing to its production, and how it affects your drink and the environment. Information having been disseminated effectively, producers and buyers alike can agree on prices that are sustainable
  • Distinctiveness is preserved. The production and processing methods of a coffee greatly impact its flavor, and it may be in a good or else a bad way. There are coffees with profiles that are distinct. Each coffee has its own clear-cut characteristics, where one, for instance, can be floral, while another is sweet. Blending these coffees together would have their notes drowned by the others. Thus, it is more sensible to sell them as separate lots so that their marked flavours can be highlighted and preserved
  • Quality is ensured. Low quality coffee need not have their profiles singled out. Coffees that are single origin or single estates to micro lots and nano lots tend to be of good quality. If a manufacturer works on a smaller lot, it would be easier for them to ascertain quality coffee and focus on further improving it. 
  • Better producer- buyer relationships. Small coffee farm lots allow the roaster or the buyer to exercise added control over the elements that affect the produce. Should the importer visit or establish a relationship with the producer, both parties will be able to communicate better and significantly understand where the coffee was exactly sourced, and the manner of its production. Producers and buyers are able to foster long-term relationships with single estate coffees and micro lot yields. There is easier exchange of feedback and requests, and better conditions for working together towards the ideal coffee along with the contract for these parties.

Knowing where the beans come from provides more tools for working towards creating high quality coffee that is sustainable at the same time.