Today’s coffee farmers, particularly those focused on specialty and single origins, take immense pride in the quality of their coffee. They care about the end result in the cup and how that translates to the consumer. As Andres Salaverria of Jasal Cafe in El Salvador puts it, “Single origin coffees allow the consumer to understand a specific coffee or profile in its own right… It’s also a great way to show consumers what’s behind a specific coffee and the love and passion each producer puts into its production.”
Cesar Magana, farmer-barista-roaster at Lechuza Cafe in El Salvador, runs three small farms focusing primarily on pacamara varietals (a hybrid created in El Salvador that’s well-known for its floral notes, sweetness, and round body). Magana believes that consumers want to drink the best coffee available, which means they rely on direct trade between farmer and sourcing from origin. He says, “If they understand the quality of the product, it guarantees sustainability for everyone making extra efforts in every step of the coffee-making chain. The barista or roaster should be able to give first hand information about the farmer and the farm; to me, that’s beautiful and that’s why single origin matters.”
So there you go – coffee farmers approve of single origins as a process for increasing transparency around coffee.
Coffee producers like the label single origin, but do coffee roasters? Well, yes and no.
Steve Hall, green bean buyer and head of quality at Caravan Coffee Roasters, says that originally single origin wasn’t an indication of a perceived higher quality; it was only used to differentiate a coffee from a roaster’s house blend. And nowadays, he feels that “for most specialty roasters, single origin does not do the producer and coffee enough justice. These days we’re talking single varietal, single farm, day lots; the possibilities are endless and fascinating.”
Does that mean single origin is a bad phrase? Well, for Steve, perhaps inadequate would be more accurate. “Think of a country like Tanzania,” he told me. “It has coastal tropical weather, the snow-capped peak of mount Kilimanjaro, the Nyiri desert, Lake Victoria and the Serengeti. The coffee growing regions border Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Uganda, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo; the taste variations are outstanding! When looking at single origin on this scale, it misrepresents the amazing differences that can be found in coffee, but for lack of a better term, we use the phrase single origin. Over the course of time, it has come to be an indicator of quality; it’s basically your coffee roasters way of saying, ‘Hey, I think this coffee is pretty damn special and I want you to know about it’.”
So… single origin both has a lot of meaning (as we said above) and not enough, but regardless, you can expect an excellent coffee when you see that label.
Check out these Single Origin Coffees... lifesdiet.net/single-origins
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