What is a single origin coffee?
Single origin coffees are from a specific place or region that can be traced or identified. While most coffees can be traced to source I guess for some coffees you wouldn't want to bother.
So with that in mind, you'll most often find that single origin coffees are typically higher quality coffees. While that isn't a guarantee of quality, if you can find a coffee that is traced to a specific location or region, and your roaster can tell you specific things about the coffee, then you're normally looking at a coffee of notable quality.
Of course coffee origins are used for other purposes, e.g certifications like rainforest alliance or bird friendly, but for most roasters they are looking at quality coffees that are interesting and more importantly.. tasty.
Single estate vs single origin
Now, some coffee farms are HUGE! And it wouldn't make much sense farming in small quantities. Some with some single origin coffee you'll find that the farms and farmers work in cooperatives. This enables farmers to share resources, such as coffee processing, and also combine harvests to increase supply to the market.
So a single origin coffee could actually be traced to a really large geographical area. But that's ok if you also look at the speciality grade coffee, because what that is telling you is although the coffee originates from maybe a very large area, the quality of the coffee is checked and you're getting the best coffee from that large area.
With single estate coffees, you might find that you might be buying from a small holding or a farm, but you might also find you're paying a lot more for that privilege.
So what to do next?
If you're looking for something unique and aren't worried about price, look for single estate small holding coffee with a coffee score of over 80.
If you're not worried about the uniqueness then just head straight for single origin with a coffee score above 80 and you'll be just fine.
We hope you've found this useful and if you fancy a nice speciality grade coffee then take a look at our current selection below!