What is Single Origin Coffee?

A quick visit to your local coffee shop shows how diverse this beloved beverage can be, coming in all shapes, sizes and specialities. Among their ranks is single origin coffee – but just what is meant by this term and how does it compare to other coffee drinks?

What Does Single Origin Coffee Mean?

Single origin coffee has become more popular among specialty coffee enthusiasts, and it’s a pretty simple concept. It refers to coffee that comes from one particular geographical location and producer. In short, these coffee beans can be traced back to a single source or point of origin.

Coffee produced and sold in this way is often perceived to offer higher levels of transparency as you can more accurately pinpoint the journey it takes from coffee bean to coffee franchise to the cup of coffee in your hand.

On the flip side of single origin coffee, you have coffee blends, which mix two or more coffee beans from different origins to create a more balanced drink.

A coffee cup on top of coffee beans

Single Origin Coffee Vs Blends

The idea behind coffee blends is that roasters can take the best qualities of beans from different countries, regions and farms to combine them for a smoother, more well-rounded coffee.

Alternatively, single origin coffee can be thought of as coffee in its purest form. It will encapsulate the distinctive qualities offered by a particular region’s coffee without being combined with other flavours or experiences, showcasing the uniqueness of a certain variety or the differences in growing conditions.

For instance, single origin coffee from Ethiopia may have a fruity flavour profile while single origin coffee from Brazil may provide a flavour profile that leans towards subtle nutty and chocolatey hints. Coffee grown in different countries and different regions within those countries can offer significantly different flavours and aromas.

Guide to coffee drinks

Single origin coffee tends to provide a more powerful flavour than blends as it has not been altered to offer a more customised taste. Most coffee purists will enjoy single origin coffee without combining it with milk, sugar or other additions as this can compromise or change the flavour – and the flavour’s authenticity is one of the main selling points!

Is Single Origin Coffee Better?

This will really depend on what you are looking for from a cup of coffee. When comparing single origin and blends, which is better is usually a subjective choice as both have their merits.

The Pros of Single Origin Coffee

Being able to accurately trace your coffee can tell you a lot about the quality and reliability of the product itself. As these coffee beans come from a single source, consumers can be more intentional about who they support, allowing them to invest in quality coffee and more sustainable growing and production methods.

The flavour is another big benefit of single origin coffee as it is original and will have a totally unique flavour profile that’s specific to that one producer (rather than a blend that sets out to replicate a more expected flavour profile).

A white coffee cup with black coffee

The Pros of Coffee Blends

While single origin coffee may be thought of as the drink for the coffee purists, blends are generally more suitable for the wider coffee-drinking population. They are less overwhelming than single origin coffee because the beans have been combined to create a more balanced, consistent profile. They can also usually be enjoyed with or without milk.

light roast vs dark roast coffee

The Availability of Single Origin Coffee

One thing to bear in mind with single origin coffee is that it tends to be seasonal, providing limited year-round availability as it may be produced in smaller amounts if it is local to one specific farm or region. This can lead to some exciting seasonal variations throughout the year, but may also mean your favourite single blend coffee could be harder to get hold of compared to your go-to blends as these will combine more widely produced beans.

When you’re next in your local coffee house, why not ask your barista about their single origin brews and house blends? Ultimately, the diversity of the humble coffee bean really shines through in both of these options, making for a delicious experience every time. Our Esquires baristas are always happy to advise on which coffee may be right for you – find your local Esquires store to get your coffee fix.

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