Coffee origins are easily the most identifiable item on the label of a coffee bag. However, do you really know what they mean?

Read on as we discuss how coffee origins relate to the taste of your coffee.

This article is part of our series on Coffee Labels. If you haven’t caught on yet, check out our other articles in the series:

What is a Coffee Origin?

A Coffee Estate

Simply put, coffee origin refers to where a coffee was grown.

A single origin coffee is a coffee that is sourced from ONE particular country or a geographic region.

This is opposed to a blend which is a mix of coffees from two or more origins are combined together.

The labeling of coffee by their country or region of origin is well established.

The labeling of coffee by their country of origin is well established.

Similar conditions such as climate and soil contribute to a distinct profile of the coffee from a certain region. Moreover, a region’s coffee usually undergoes similar farming, processing and grading methods.

From a marketing point of view, it is also simpler to label coffee by its country of origin as it is more identifiable by the general consumer.

Recently, the rise of third wave coffee has seen producers responding to increased demand for transparency by improving the traceability of their coffee.

Single origin coffees that are sourced from a single estate (a coffee farm), a single lot (a plot of land) right down to a microlot (a specific varietal from a specific farm) are now making their way into our market.

Naturally, the price of a coffee gets more expensive the more specific the origin is.

Can You Taste Coffee by Its Origin?

Coffee Origins around the World

Yes, you could, but with some important caveats.

When it comes to tasting, it is vital for you to keep in mind that labeling by country is no more than a convenient starting point of what you should expect from the beans.

However, trying to understand a coffee by its country of origin alone is similar to assuming everyone from a particular country has the exact same personality, which is obviously NOT true.

Factors such as variety, roast level, processing method and microclimate of a region may influence the final profile of a coffee and should be taken into consideration.

For example, an Ethiopian coffee processed using the dry method is certainly different from the coffee that had been processed by the wet method, even if they were both from the same country.

Learn more! Read: Stages of Coffee Production: The Journey from Seed to Cup.

What Does This Means to You As a Brewer?

Image of brewer with V60

Does this means that you should give up attempting to taste coffee by its origin?

Not exactly.

In the big picture, coffees from the same geographic region generally does somewhat resemble one another.

For example, coffees from Latin American countries would taste similar to each other while differing widely from Indonesian coffees.

Essentially, learning to taste coffee by its origin is still useful as a rough guide to help you navigate through the world of coffee.

However, remember to keep an open mind and don’t rule out a coffee just because you have tasted a bad batch from the same country.

Always assume that every place of origin has its own delicious coffee waiting to be discovered.

You just haven’t had the chance to taste one, yet.

Summary

  • Origin refers to where a coffee was grown.
  • The specificity of the area defined by an origin varies.
  • Coffees that are more traceable may specify the origin of a coffee up to the microlot of an estate.
  • Tasting coffee by origin should only be a convenient starting point.
  • Always keep an open mind and don’t rule out a coffee just by its origin.

Discover The Origins

In BrewersClub, our mission is to help you discover better coffee, together.

As we taste more coffee together as a Club, we will explore more Coffee Origins!

Africa
Burundi
Ethiopia
Kenya
Rwanda

Asia
China
Indonesia
Malaysia
Myanmar
Thailand
Vietnam

Central America
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

South America
Brazil
Colombia
Ecuador


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