Coffee is similar to wine in that you don’t have to know anything about it to enjoy. Luckily though, if you do want to learn, there are plenty of passionate people here at Fox Coffee who know all about it and are happy to share their knowledge. If you’re just starting out in coffee, there are a few terms you’ll hear often and one of them is “single-origin” or “singles” for short.
So what does single-origin mean?
When we talk about single-origin, we’re talking about the coffee beans. Single-origin coffee beans come from one place within a single growing region. Coffees are often named for their country of origin: Honduras, Guatemala, Kenya etc.
Wait, what’s a growing region?
There’s a special place called the “bean belt.” It lies between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn. With its mild temperatures, lush soil, and plenty of water, this bean belt holds the ideal ecosystem to grow excellent coffee beans. There are three main growing regions:
● Central and South America
● South Asia
So what makes single-origin coffee so special?
Single-origin coffee is special because each growing region produces unique flavor profiles. A cup of coffee brewed from single-origin Ethiopian beans will not taste the same as a cup brewed with Colombian beans. Why? Because the differences in soil and altitude can dramatically change the flavor profile. African coffees are often prized for their bright, fruity notes while South Asian coffees are loved for the earthy, herbal notes.
Earthy? Herbal? Fruity?
If you ask one of our baristas to tell you about a single-origin coffee in the shop, they will often use flavor and food words to describe the coffee. It’s an effective way to help you understand what you will taste in the coffee. For example, we may describe “lemon” notes in an African coffee or “caramel” in a coffee from Peru. It doesn’t mean there’s lemon or caramel in either, but you can smell and taste it. Here’s a list of words to help you get started:
Citrus, Nutty, Floral, Woody, Cocoa, Herbal, Sweet & Sugary, Caramel.
There are so many! How do I decide?
It depends on which flavors you like! If you don’t know, you can always ask our baristas (or send us an email- email@example.com) for a recommendation. We’ve tried them all and are happy to guide you toward a satisfying cup. If you’re shy, here’s a handy guide to help:
● Single-origin African coffee:
Often (but not always), African coffees are light to medium-roasted to preserve the citrusy notes. This makes for bright, higher acidity, invigorating coffees.
● Single-origin Centra/South American coffee:
Grown at high altitudes and sometimes with soil containing a lot of volcanic ash, coffees from the Americas are often roasted anywhere from light to dark to draw out fruit and cocoa notes. These coffees tend to be mild, smooth, and satisfying.
● Single-origin Asian coffees:
Often (but again, not always) darkly roasted, Asian coffees tend to be bold and rich with earthy profiles.
How are single-origin beans brewed?
The possibilities are endless! The best way to truly taste a single origin coffee is as a black coffee (coffee without milk) i.e. classic espresso or long black or as a brewed-to-order coffee such as batch brewed coffee or a pour-over coffee (V60 or Chemex).
It is worth noting that some single origin coffees can shine more as milk-based coffees.
If you’re unsure of which single origin works which way, just ask our baristas, they can absolutely help you decide based on your preferences and the specifics of the single-origin.
Great! How do I get started?
Either ask your barista to brew you a cup of their favorite single-origin coffee or buy a bag of beans and experiment at home (www.foxcoffee.com.au/shop). Once you get started on single-origin coffee, you’ll develop a deeper appreciation for the heritage of the growing regions and how they affect your cup of coffee from thousands of miles away. Each cup of coffee is unique and exciting. Try a single-origin cup today!