What the heck am I drinking? Intro to Single Origin Coffee.

By: Brandon Dent

Almost every single person who’s been to a coffee shop and looked at a menu bored and thought, “What the heck is that?”. Whether it says some weird Italian word like “macchiato” or something along the lines of “siphon vacuum brew”, if you’re new to coffee it’s all gonna be gibberish to you. While all of those topics and strange amenities are important, we are going to talk about something different: single-origin coffees.

That’s not near as intimidating as some of the harder to pronounce beverages served up around the world, but that doesn’t mean that coffee noobs aren’t still clueless as to what it means. So, here is the definition. A single-origin coffee is coffee grown in a single origin. It’s that simple. That means that if there is a single origin Ethiopia Sidamo, that all the coffee beans are from that region of Ethiopia. This contrasts from other coffees because so many roasters make “blends” which means they mix together all kinds of coffee to get a specific flavor profile. Single origin coffees, however, offer up something very special.

A single origin coffee offers up a specific (and very delicious) flavor profile that differs from region to region. For example, a coffee from the Sidamo region of Ethiopia will taste drastically different from a coffee from Tarrazu, Costa Rica. It can even be as specific as the elevation the coffee is grown, and what the temperature was during the growth period. This adds a very fun and exciting change from the every day house blend coffee shops offer.

Coffees that are single origin are usually given a flavor profile with three or four characteristics. Some of these characteristics you may find are: chocolate, vanilla, black pepper, cinnamon, nougat, nuts, stone fruit, floral, citrus, licorice, earth, and so many more. When you hear these flavors though, don’t think of them as a strong kick in the face flavored coffee. These are simply the notes you will notice in the taste and smell of the black coffee.

At Red Owl, there are several rotating single origin options. We currently offer a Colombian, an Ethiopian, a Sumatra, and even more throughout the year. These coffees all have amazing flavor profiles from bright and floral, to nutty and earthy. Ask your barista about the different coffees offered and give some a try!