Ever wondered what a single-origin coffee means?

Yeah, me too.

After some research, I got some clarity. I created this post to share my discovery. At the end of this post, you should have some clarity too.

Coffee tastes different from Country to Country. And not only from Country to Country but from plantation to plantation within a Country.

Single-origin sounds like a simple description of something coming from one place, but what it means depends on context as defining ‘a place’ is not that straightforward.

Your local grocery store’s shelves sell coffee with generic labels like “Ethiopian Coffee.” Many people consider it single-origin because all the coffee comes from one Country. A true single-origin coffee can be traced back to a region, a cooperative and even a single farm and producer.

What Is A Single-Origin Coffee?

As the name implies, single-origin coffee beans are beans from the same origin. Single-origin coffees tell you where your coffee has been (or perhaps where it comes from). It’s not a blend of coffee beans from various places but from a specific farm, crop and plantation. Sometimes, it can be from the same country or region, but it is not mixed with other beans.

Does Single Origin Coffee Taste Differently?

Since single-origin coffee beans are easy to trace to a single region-  they have a different taste and flavour because of the specific growing and processing conditions used in that area. The taste is also distinct because the flavour of the coffee depends on several important elements like soil, climate, cultivation settings, shade, botanical variety, altitude, and processing method.

Terroir And How Coffee Tastes Are Influenced

First, let’s look at what Terroir means as I learned the word for the first time researching single-origin coffee.

What does Terroir mean?

The term “terroir” was born among French winemakers who observed how wine and vineyards varied depending on the region in which they were located. It probably derives from the Gallo-Roman Latin “territorium” and would be a variation of the word “territoire”: literally translated it means earth or soil . This concept, however, does not only refer to the specific characteristics of the soil composition but also to other factors that shape production.

According to UNESCO, terroir is “a delimited geographical space, defined by a human community that over the course of its history builds a series of distinctive cultural traits, knowledge and practices based on a system of interactions between the natural environment and human factors”.

The concept of terroir therefore starts from the soil, but embraces a complex combination of natural and human factors. The human component, according to UNESCO, is fundamental in the development of a specific terroir. Even in coffee, terroir plays a decisive role. Each region where coffee is grown has its own terroir, which helps make each bean a unique and varied sensory experience 

Factors That Influence Coffee Taste

The soil in which the coffee trees grow impacts the flavour of the coffee beans produced. Different pH levels, mineral content and even what crops coffee grows next to on a plantation will affect taste, aroma etc. For example, coffee grown in India sometimes has a spicy undertone as it grows under forest canopies next to pepper trees. Coffee from the highlands in Mexico can have a slightly chocolaty aftertaste as it grows near cacao trees used to produce chocolate.

The climate’s effect on coffee is one of the main reasons single-origin coffees taste different. Countries with distinct wet and dry seasons often have a shorter maturation period than countries with slightly less temperate climates.

Altitude plays a large part in taste as well. The higher the altitude, the better the Arabica coffee produced.

The method of processing and the individual farmer also impacts the coffee’s taste, aroma and depth of quality. A plantation that cuts corners when it ferments its coffee cherries, dries the green beans artificially/too quickly or stores them in their hessian bags incorrectly will produce inferior-tasting coffee compared to the farm next door that does these things correctly.

single-origin coffee berry plant

Benefits of Single-Origin Coffee

The benefits of single-origin coffee are its unique taste and flavour profile. A person might want a particular taste peculiar to a region and they would stick to the single-origin coffee because of that unique taste. The main benefit is the consistent taste. Some single-origin coffee lovers boast a superior taste and appreciation for coffee.

How to Brew Single-Origin Coffee

A single-origin coffee is brewed using similar methods as other types of coffee. The brewing process involves grinding the coffee beans, choosing the appropriate brewing method (e.g. pour-over, French press, or espresso), and brewing the coffee with hot water for the desired time. The single-origin coffee differs because it comes from a specific geographical location, which can influence its flavour profile. All brewing methods are the same as other types of coffee

Where To Find Single-Origin Coffee in Nigeria

You can find a single-origin coffee here for sale.


Single-origin coffee offers a unique and flavorful experience that is unmatched by blends. The coffee’s bold flavours and rich history is a shining example of the diversity of the coffee world. By exploring single-origin coffee, you’re not just enjoying a delicious cup of coffee but also experiencing a piece of the coffee’s heritage.

Click here for a free coffee sample from Zuma Coffee


Mom | Yoga Teacher | Coffee Blogger | Legal Mind.I explore coffee from farm to cup.

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