How do you shop for coffee? Do you think about the roast? Are you partial towards a certain region? Do you like coffees with nutty undertones and avoid citrusy ones? Or maybe you only buy dry-process Ethiopian coffees from the Guji Zone of the Oromiaregion at 1800m of elevation or higher roasted very light, so the origin comes out and bitterness of the coffee is in the backyard barely noticeable? And you thought the person in front of you at Starbucks had a complicated order.
There are a ton of factors that go into a coffee purchase decision. The section of our education articles titledOriginwill help you maneuver this confusing aspect of coffee.
Most of the time when a coffee drinker finds a cup they love they want to keep coming back to that amazing cup of coffee. So they attribute one of the many factors that went into that particular bean to what they love and then buy based on that attribution. The million dollar question (or maybe less) is, "was that person correct in what they attributed to the flavor?" Maybe they thought they like Panama coffee, but in fact, it is the Bourbon varietal that can be found all over Latin America. Or perhaps they liked fruity coffees and had a dry process Ethiopian. So they attribute it to that country, but we have seen dry process Costa Rican coffees that were more fruity than any Ethiopian.
Origin influences coffee flavor more than any other part of the coffee process. This is why we take such pride in our sourcing of amazing coffees. I've said this before and will say it until I die...Sagebrush Coffee doesn't do anything special to the beans. The only thing we try to do is source the best coffees we can get our hands on and put the work the great folks at origin completed on full display with our roasts. Origin is what coffee is all about. However, the origin is much more than the region or country. It is influenced by the elevation, the cherry process, coffee tree varietal (Arabica vs Robusta is only the beginning of that discussion), and many other factors.
We have several articles that discuss the origin, but because of the importance of this aspect of coffee, we will spend a lot of time developing new articles. Keep coming back regularly to see what else we've written.
Most of the coffees consumed worldwide are produced in Latin America. The countries within Latin America have an ideal coffee-growing environment with its moderate sunshine and rain, 70-80 degree temperatures, and rich, porous soil. Coffee originated in Africa around the 15th century and finally made its way to Latin America in the early-18th century. By the mid-18th century, Latin American countries evolved into being some of the top coffee producers.
Much like any other crop, there is a prime season for harvesting coffee. I will not go into all of the details of the coffee plant (that may wait for another blog post), but when the plant grows to maturity, it will yield a cluster of fruit. Also referred to as cherries, these fruit clusters are initially green and then ripen into a beautiful shade of red similar to a cherry. Within the cherries is a pulp and two oval-shaped beans that once harvested, processed, and roasted become the coffee beans we know and love.
As some of you may know, Ethiopian coffees are always my favorite. A dry-processed, fruit forward Ethiopian bean is always a winner in my book. For many years, they have been the world's best-reviewed single-origin premium coffee beans. As the 5th largest coffee producer in the world, Ethiopia has mastered the art of harvesting and processing the beans and the flavor profiles are perfectly complex and delicious.