Have you ever ordered coffee and gone through the long list of choices only to stop short when asked whether you want something called a single origin or single O? You may have seen this selection on the coffee house’s board and wondered what it meant.
There can be a lot of complicated differences between different types of coffee and coffee choices, and it’s okay if you don’t know what they all mean, but we’ll help explain it to you.
The name “single origin” denotes the meaning fairly well, if you just think about it. It means that all the coffee beans in this cup of coffee come from a single set of beans, all of the same kind and all from the same place. That’s not just the same country, but the same estate. That means that every bean that goes into your coffee offers the same taste. People who drink black coffee probably get this asked of them more often, and they may end up paying a bit more for the single origin option.
The single origin coffees tend to be features. They are only available for a short season and they are a display of how much skill the grower or barista have. Your taste buds will notice, and you’ll see more distinct and powerful flavors in single origin coffee. We’ve compiled a short guide to how you can expect coffee chosen this way to taste. It can only apply to coffee that’s served black, though.
Coffee from Central and South America (Brazil, Columbia and Nicaragua) will usually taste nutty, chocolatey or like caramel.
African coffees, such as those from Rwanda, Ethiopia and Tanzania, include sweet, lemony, sour, acidic and stone fruit flavours. Asian coffees can come from Indonesia, Papua New Guinea or India, and they will be salty, spicy or fruity.
Anyone who orders a coffee that’s milk-based (such as a latte, cap or flat white) will be served with a house blend. This is simply coffee house lingo for beans that come from a variety of different origins. For house blends, the roaster is combining coffee that originates from various places, with each variety being roasted in its own unique formula.
Research shows that about 75% of all coffee drinkers opt for milk-based coffee.
These coffee beans are blended at various ratios, and that’s what gives each coffee house its own unique taste. Since coffee come from a living source, it is susceptible to change. You might be surprised at how much skill it takes to ensure that every variety of bean is roasted the right way every time to ensure a consistent taste.
The majority of the coffee we drink today is blended coffee, but you may want to try the single origin option next time. It may cost a bit more, but it could be worth it to experience the unique flavor it offers.