You may have seen a coffee being touted as ‘single origin’, but what does it actually mean? How is it different from non-single origin – that is, coffee blends? Here’s a quick explanation about the meaning of single origin, and its difference with blends.
Simply put, single origin means all the coffee beans come from one geographical location. This could mean the coffee is sourced from a single region, a farm, or even a microlot (that is, a single field in a farm). The main idea of single origin is that the coffee beans are a specific kind, and their origins could be traced. Single origin coffee will have a unique flavour reflecting the characteristics of the beans – therefore, it is advised to enjoy this coffee as an espresso, or at least without any additional cream or milk, to make sure the pure taste from the beans is not overshadowed. However, single origin coffee is more vulnerable to environmental changes. Because coffee bean harvest depends on the season, weather and other environmental issues, the taste (and price) of single origin coffee could change throughout the year.
Blends use coffee beans which are sourced from different places. Usually the coffee would have a more well-rounded taste, thanks to the mixture of coffee beans with different flavour notes. Furthermore, the taste of blended coffee could be more consistent than the single origin – for example, when one source fails to produce coffee beans in time, the barista could improvise with other beans to ensure the consistency of the flavour. While single origin promises taste purity, coffee blends are not so bad themselves. An example of great coffee blend is Java-Mocha.
At the end of the day, both single origin and blends are good coffee – it just depends on your preference.
So, which one will you order at the café next time?