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Single Origin Coffee

What does it mean to be single origin?

If you’re observant or are a heavy coffee drinker, you may have noticed that some coffees on the menu or on their bag will have the phrase, “Single Origin”. At a glance, this seems pretty straightforward. This particular coffee comes from a single region, often times a single farm or producer. If you’re ordering off the menu, the region will typically be highlighted. If you’re buying a bag of beans, you can typically read more about the region or farm somewhere on the bag. Great. But what does it all really mean? Why are single origin coffees more expensive? Are they better? It’s time to find out.  

Pure Bred Coffee
Just like wine, coffee is grown in different regions around the world. These different regions can dramatically impact the resulting coffee flavor, aroma, acidity, taste, body and other distinguishing characteristics. Coffee shops and roasters typically offer blends, such as a House Blend, which will blend regions, and therefore characteristics, into a particular flavor they are searching for. Single origin coffees, on the other hand, allow you to experience that region’s coffee in its purest form. All the subtleties come alive, giving you a different perspective on coffee.  

Study Abroad


Sweet, sometimes wine-like, flavors that produce fruity and floral aromas. Known for a balanced body and acidity, the ladder ranging from sparkling to tart. 

Highlighted Regions:

  • Ethiopia, Kenya - Fine coffee starts here, these are the gourmet grounds.

  • Zimbabwe - Highly aromatic with a rich flavor.


Earthy elements come from the rich and fertile soil that is present in the Indonesian  tropical climate. You can expect smooth flavors, moderate acidity, and a full body. The aftertaste can be somewhat dry.

Highlighted Regions: 

  • Sumatra - low acidity, earthy, distinct herbal tones, a rich and satisfying flavor, though not for the beginner 

  • Sulawesi - moderate acidity, silky body, smooth finish, warm flavors of bold cinnamon, cardamom and occasionally black pepper 

  • Java - least earthy of the Indonesian regions, medium acidity, low-toned richness, full-body, clean and thick

South America

Slightly sweet taste, light to medium body, sparkling, crisp, and lively acidity. Well-balanced and consistent. 

Highlighted Regions:

  • Costa Rica Monte Crisol - silky body, sweet, top notes of blueberry, buttery aftertaste

  • Guatemala Antigua - full-bodied, known for rich and spicy flavors, almost velvety

  • Bolivia - clean, classic taste with bright and delicate acidity, fruity notes from apple to apricot, sometimes mild chocolate flavor created by roasting

  • Panama Geisha- light body, bright acidity, jasmine-like aroma

  • Peru Chanchamayo - soft, sweet, medium body, bright acidity

Pacific & Caribbean

Similar to Indonesian, smooth flavors and moderate acidity, usually full-bodied and often with earthy elements and a somewhat dry aftertaste.

Highlighted Regions:

  • Hawaii Kona - light, delicate taste, clean and classically well balanced, complex aroma, great finish. 

  • Jamaica Blue Mountain - sophisticated coffee, silky smooth body, sweet flavor, sometimes chocolaty

Why get a single origin coffee?

There’s several reasons you may want to order a single origin coffee. The simplest solution is that you may like that particular region’s taste. If you have a passion for coffee, one of the best things you can do to get a deeper appreciation for coffee crafting is to try the different regions and begin to build a coffee repertoire. Going a step further, if you are, or are interested in becoming, a coffee roaster, knowing your regions is a crucial skill for crafting the perfect concoctions.