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Specialty Coffee Lingo 101: What Does Single-Origin Mean?

Specialty Coffee Lingo 101: What Does Single-Origin Mean?

Jake Bonneman
3 minute read

If you've been drinking coffee for a while, one term you've probably encountered a lot is "single origin."

But what does single origin actually mean?

Why is it important?

Don't most things come from one place?

The Definition of Single Origin Coffee

Simply put: Single origin coffee is coffee that comes from a single source. That source can be a country, a region of a country, or in some cases, it can even refer to a specific farm, plantation, or estate.

However, the term single origin is most often used to describe coffees from a single country of origin.

For example, you might see a coffee described as "Ethiopian single origin." This means the beans in the coffee all come from Ethiopia. It doesn't necessarily mean that the beans all came from the same location in Ethiopia—but they may have.

You might also find single origins that are labeled with wording similar to "Ethiopia, with a preference for Yirgacheffe." This means that the beans all come from Ethiopia, and most of them are going to be from the Yirgacheffe region.

Single origin coffees can offer a more uniform flavor profile than coffees that are a blend of beans from multiple sources. This is because the beans share similar background characteristics—similar growing conditions, altitude, and terroir—which can impact the coffee's flavor.

If you're looking to explore the flavor profiles of different coffees from around the world, single origin coffees are a great place to start.

Is There Double or Triple Origin Coffee?

Now that you know what single origin coffee is, you might be wondering if there's such a thing as double origin coffee.

The short answer is: "No—Well, kind of."

The long answer is: Terms like these aren't used in the coffee world; coffees that come from two or more different origins are simply referred to as "blends."

Why Is Single Origin Coffee Important?

Single origin coffees are important because they offer the opportunity to taste the flavors of a specific region.

When coffee is blended, the beans from different origins can come together to create a well-rounded flavor profile. There's nothing wrong about that—in fact, blends can be complex, balanced, and delicious. However, the unique, subtle flavor notes that come from each individual region are often lost in the mix.

Single origin coffees allow you to taste the coffee exactly as it was meant to be—and to appreciate all the unique nuances of flavor that come from its specific place of origin.

Whether you're a coffee aficionado or just looking to try something new, single origin coffees are definitely worth exploring. So, the next time you see coffee labeled as "single origin," you can be assured that you're getting coffee that truly represents a specific place (and time) in the world.

At Meadow Ridge Coffee, we carry a huge selection of specialty coffee—including single origins and blends. Click here to explore all of our coffees and discover your new favorite today!


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