What you need to know about single origin coffees
Coffee purists, baristas and caffeine connoisseurs love to debate the merits of single origin coffees versus blends. But what's the difference?
Next time the conversation turns to coffee, score a few brownie points by pointing out that single origin coffees and blends not only differ with regards to their taste and aroma, but that they are suited to making different types of coffee drinks too.
Single origin coffee
When it comes to single origin coffees, it is their provenance and terroir (wine-speak for where the grapes for a wine was grown) that matter. Traditionally single origin coffees were grown on small individual farms, but to keep up with demand – global coffee consumption is pegged at at least 2,25 billion cups per day – they now are more likely to be grown by a group of farmers in a specific area or on old family-owned plantations.
At Checkers, we stock 11 single origin Foreign Ground coffees from 11 of the world's top coffee-producing countries. The five that are most widely available are from Guatemala, Brazil, Colombia, Ethiopia and Honduras. Each of these come in a choice of beans or ground coffee.
Donovan McLagan, South Africa’s 2012 Cup Taster’s Champion and an all-round coffee expert, selected a plantation in each of these countries to supply us with the beans that are roasted by our own artisan roasters. In making the selection for Checkers’ Foreign Ground range, two of the most important considerations were that it had to display a recognisable regional flavour and have a luxurious aroma.
Their distinct taste and aroma are exactly what makes single origin coffees ideal for lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos: because these brews require a longer extraction process (in other words, need more time for the water to run through the coffee), it allows the flavours and aromas to develop fully.
So what are blends for?
Blends come into their own in an espresso. To get the right aroma, sweetness and mouthfeel (taste) in this concentrated cuppa, it is necessary to combine the best of more than one single origin coffee.
Tip: Experiment by combining various single origin coffees to create your own blend at home.
Espresso and ristretto, its more concentrated cousin, are possibly the most Italian of coffees. What better to serve with them than a sugar-free tiramisu, a guilt-free way to enjoy one of Italy's best-known desserts.