Something you may have noticed in specialist coffee shops, or on gourmet beans in stores is the term “single origin” on the labels. This refers to the area where the coffee beans are grown, meaning that all the beans used come from a single area rather than being a blend. In a similar way to single malt whisky, this generally signifies a higher quality product, and will mean that it will have distinct flavour unique to that exact region.
Types of single origin coffee
Not all single origin coffees are necessarily the same though, and you may see a wide variety of other terms thrown in there as well. Here are some of the most common ones that you’re likely to see:
Single farm – As you may expect, these coffees come from a specific farm in a specific region. This is generally the kind of single origin coffee you will see in most coffee shops.
Single co-operative – This is when multiple very small-scale farmers in a local area come together to produce a single batch. Often co-operatives will have strict guidelines that the members need to follow to ensure the highest quality beans are produced.
Micro lot – This is essentially a sub set of a single farm coffee, in that it’s sourced from a single plot of land on a farm. Due to the additional cost associated with farming on this small a scale, only the very best quality beans are produced in micro lots.
Nano lot – These are just even smaller scale versions on micro lots, usually only producing a couple of bags each harvest. As the costs are even higher for these lots, they are reserved for some of the very best coffees in the world.
Why is single origin better?
Far from just being a status symbol, single origin coffees offer a range of tangible benefits that have contributed to their rise in popularity.
Quality – First and foremost – single origin coffees tend to be higher quality than blends. It wouldn’t make sense for a farmer to go to the trouble and expense of producing single origin lots if they were not their very best beans.
Distinct flavour – With blends coffee producers will try to produce a specific flavour by mixing different beans together in specific quantities, but by keeping them separate, the beans maintain their own unique and distinctive flavour. This gives coffee fanatics the chance to seek out beans with specific flavour profiles, giving a wider variety of choices.
Traceability – Understanding where the beans have come from really helps people to feel more connected to the coffee they are buying and drinking. Knowing that your beans are coming from a sustainable source is a really important factor to a lot of coffee buyers.
Great beans deserve a great machine
Of course, the quality of coffee beans is only one factor in producing a delicious coffee drink. The quality of the machine and ability of the barista play just as big a factor in any espresso-based beverage. That’s why we have designed the WMF Espresso, which combines the sophisticated styling of a classic portafilter machine with modern automation technology, ensuring that the espresso is produced perfectly every single time.
Download a brochure to see the full range of WMF coffee machines and related products.