What is a Single Origin Coffee and Why Does it Matter?

Most coffee that people drink is a blend of coffees from several, and sometimes many, farms.

Single Origin Coffees are from a single farm. Often from a single lot on that farm. These coffees are an opportunity to enjoy the efforts of one farmer’s work, with its distinctive attributes. Single Origins are a great way to experience more about the variety of flavors of truly great coffee.

Coffees at the Malacara farm in El Salvador being sorted before even leaving the fields.

Zoka is introducing it’s biggest ever selection of Single Origin Coffees this summer and fall. We’ll be talking quite a bit about each new coffee from Central America, Brazil and Africa, but first, what is about Single Origins that is so special?

Hand Processed Coffee

In addition to great beans, these coffees benefit from highly specialized processing. That processing doesn’t involve additives, chemicals or any other nefarious tricks. Coffee processing is the series of steps that take the coffee from a freshly picked cherry on a tree to what is bagged and sent to us to roast. It involves some combination and variation of:

  • Whether, and how long, the coffee bean fermented in the cherry after picking.
  • Whether the coffee was washed, and, if so, how it was washed.
  • How the coffee was dried — on drying patios, drying tables or in large drying machines, or some combination.

Each of these methods effects flavors, textures, acidity and other characteristics that come together to product the coffee you enjoy.

The best coffee processing facilities — or mills as they’re also known — are constantly experimenting on very small batches of coffee to determine the best ways use the various coffee processing steps to best express the essence of each unique bean’s flavor.

And that’s all before its shipped to our roasting facility, where we go through the same process in deciding how to roast the coffee. A typical single origin is test-roasted over ten times to help us find exactly the right combination of time and heat that reveals the essence of each coffee’s flavors. Of course, the farmers we buy directly from are making their own critical decisions that impact flavor— what plants to combine, soil, location, sun exposure, watering, plant nutrition, the crucial decision about when to pick.

Better Coffee for you, Better Wages for the Farmers

Finally, Single Origin Coffees give credit to the farm, and the farmer, from which we bought the coffee. This is no small thing. If farmers know that their efforts to make a premium coffee will bring a premium price and the premium exposure that becoming a Single Origin at Zoka Coffee conveys, they’ll continue to improve their coffees. And so will the (jealous) neighboring farmers. The result, more great coffee for our customers, better prices for farmers.

So, if you’ve been a loyal buyer of blends all these years, do yourself a favor and try one of our constantly expanding collection of Zoka Family Direct Trade Single Origin Coffees.

You’ll like what you taste.

The Latest Single Origin Coffees

Nicaragua Pacamara


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El Salvador Las Mercedes


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Costa Rica Don Mayo


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