Do you know where your coffee comes from? Better yet, do you care? For many of us the word origin in relation to coffee sounds neat, but if we are being honest we do not put much thought to it past that. We are all familiar with Columbian and others, but coffee origins goes much deeper. The hope for this blog is to detail why origin matters, as well as hi-light the nuances that origin contributes to your cup.
How Many Origins Are There?
While many origins exist and we do not wish to provide an exhaustive list, there are common origins in existence which lend themselves to popularity within the industry.
South America - Think countries like: Peru, Columbia, Argentina and Brazil. Try our South American Coffee Taster to experience the nuances of the Southern American origin.
Central / North America - Think countries like: Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador. Try our Central American Coffee Taster to experience the nuances of the Central American origin.
South Asia / Oceania - Think Indonesia, the predominant coffee representative for this region. Try our Oceania Taster to experience the nuances of the Southern Asian/ Oceania origin.
Africa & the Middle East - Think countries like: Ethiopia, Burundi and Kenya. Try our African Coffee Taster to experience the nuances of the Southern Asian origin.
While this is just a short hi-light of where coffee can come from, many more origins exist, each offering their own uniqueness.
So Why Does Origin Matter?
With each unique origin and country comes a differing climate, altitude and soil. This climate impacts the way the coffee grows and eventually the processing method and cycle too. The altitude in which the coffee is grown also impacts oxygen levels and temperature. We will cover processing methods in a different blog. Let's breakdown each of these origins and what the climate and altitude has to do with the bean - ultimately we are interested in how this impacts our cup, so let's dig deeper.
A Note on Climate
Coffee grown at in a higher temperatures with less rainfall will cause the coffee to ripen quickly resulting in beans that taste earthy, murky, or perhaps even bland. The bean structure of these coffees grown downslope are typically softer than the hard-bean coffees grown. Consequently, these more delicate coffees do not usually roast dark very well.
A Note on Altitude
Higher elevations translate to more sunshine, a frost-free climate, and better water drainage for a coffee plant. Whereas lower altitude may provide the inverse effect - lower temperates, and less water drainage for the coffee plant. A longer growing process (as a result of lower temperatures) imbue the coffee bean with more complex sugars, yielding deeper and more compelling flavors. Whereas better drainage at higher elevations reduces the amount of water in the fruit resulting in a further concentration of flavors.
Climate & Altitude Breakdown per Origin
Climate: Tropical-Wet (Columbia, Venezuela), Highlands (Peru)
Altitude: 4000-6000 ft. (High-Very High Altitude)
Predominant Profile: Full-bodied, Rich Flavor, Balanced Acidity, Aromatic
Central / North America
Climate: Tropical/Humid, Rich Volcanic Soil,
Altitude: Low (Coastal), Medium-High (Highlands/Andes Mountains)
Predominant Profile: Medium Body, Medium/Crisp Acidity, Citrus
South Asia / Oceania
Climate: Very Wet, Volcanic Soil Rich in Nutrients
Altitude: Predominately Low, But the best is Grown on Gayo Mountain 3000-5000 ft above Sea-Level
Predominant Profile: Dark Chocolate, Dark Roasted, Earthy, Wood
Africa & the Middle East
Climate: Tropical Highland
Predominant Profile: Citrus, High Acidity, Delicate
Winona Roasting Company has prepared several which hi-light each of these origins. Check them out and experience origin today.