What Is Single Origin Coffee – Is It Better Than Coffee Blends?


Alex DeCapri

Alex DeCapri is a specialty coffee roaster and curious coffee writer. He started sourcing his own green beans to roast and ship worldwide and later became the head roaster at OOP Café in Belo Horizonte. Now on a road trip from the U.S. to Brazil, Alex visits coffee farms and shares his firsthand experience from field visits.

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Have you ever taken a sip of coffee that transported you to a different place and time? That’s the power of single origin coffee, and it’s becoming more popular by the day.

I used to think that all coffee was created equal, but that all changed when I had my first cup of single origin coffee. Suddenly, I could taste the unique flavors and aromas of the region it came from. I’ll never forget one single origin coffee I tried in Italy that tasted exactly like blueberries.

But are these coffees really better than coffee blends? In this article, we’ll dive into what single origin coffee is and how it’s different than a blend.

Key Takeaways

  • Single origin coffee is sourced from a single geographical location, often one particular farm.
  • The cultivation, harvesting, and processing methods used to produce single origin coffee can greatly impact its taste and aroma.
  • Single origin coffee is often more expensive than blends because of its limited availability and high quality.
  • Single origin coffee can provide a more transparent and traceable supply chain, allowing consumers to support sustainable and ethical practices in the coffee industry.
  • While single origin coffee may not appeal to everyone’s taste preferences, it offers a unique and flavorful experience for coffee enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

What is Single Origin Coffee

Single origin coffee refers to coffee beans that come from a specific geographical location, such as a single country, region, cooperative, or farm. This means that all the single origin coffee beans have been grown and harvested in one place, without any blending of coffee beans from other locations.

Single origin coffees offer unique flavor profiles that are specific to the region they were grown in. For example, a coffee from Ethiopia may have distinct floral and fruity notes like jasmine and bergamot [1], while coffee from Colombia may have a chocolatey and nutty flavor.

That being said, referring to a single origin coffee by the country it comes from is almost taboo nowadays. Take Brazil, for example. That’s a massive country with lots of different coffee-growing regions, climates, and thousands of farms. Saying a coffee is from Brazil gives about as much information to the consumer as saying a vehicle is European… not much.

For example, Bean Box details the origin info on the bag

Two coffees grown in the same country may taste drastically different!

Most single-origin coffees are named after the specific farm they come from, highlighting the unique growing conditions and processing methods that make them stand out. These coffees are often labeled as microlots and are produced in small quantities, making them rare and of higher quality.

If you want the opportunity to explore the unique flavors of different regions or even individual farms, get yourself a bag of roasted single origin coffee. For example, if I’d like to sample Costa Rican coffee, buy one from CoffeeBros then I can enjoy it within a few days. Many coffee roasters in the US offer high quality single origin coffee.


Does single origin coffee seem like a relatively new phenomenon? In lots of ways, it is, especially for us North American and European coffee consumers.

There are several reasons why single origin coffee has become increasingly popular in recent years:

  1. Unique Flavor Profiles: Single origin coffees offer distinct and unique flavor profiles that are specific to the region they were grown in. Coffee nerds like myself are increasingly interested in exploring crazy and nuanced flavor combinations and experiencing the terroir of different coffee-growing regions.
  2. Traceability and Transparency: Single origin coffees are often sourced directly from farmers or cooperatives, which allows for greater traceability and transparency in the coffee supply chain. Consumers are becoming more interested in knowing where their coffee comes from and supporting sustainable and ethical coffee production practices.
  3. Specialty Coffee Movement: The rise of the specialty coffee movement has also contributed to the popularity of single origin coffee. Specialty coffee shops and roasters are increasingly offering single origin coffees as a way to showcase different flavors and characteristics of different regions. Most single origin coffees offered at specialty coffee shops contain only one variety of coffee from one specific lot of a producer’s farm. You can usually find detailed information about how the coffee was processed right on the bag. Coffee farmers tend to pick each cherry by hand and at high altitudes, always ensuring the best quality during the harvest.
  4. Education and Awareness: As consumers become more educated about coffee, they are also becoming more aware of the differences between single origin and blended coffees. This increased awareness has led to a greater appreciation for all the flavors that coffee can have, and not just the traditional “bitter coffee taste” that many people still associate with all coffees. That’s why we are sharing comprehensive information about coffee beans on brewcoffeehome.
Volcanica is one of our favorite coffee roasters for single origin coffees

Benefits of Single Origin Coffee

So how exactly do you benefit from drinking single origin coffee over regular blends? Arguably the most important benefit for the person actually consuming the final cup of coffee is the taste.

The origin of coffee influences everything from fragrance to flavor. The type of soil the coffee plant grows in, the climate of the area, and the processing methods used all contribute to the final cup.

While coffee roasters offer single origin coffees to highlight different flavors from different regions, they also do it to show that they responsibly source their green beans. There are a lot of steps that happen to coffee from picking the cherry to brewing a pour-over. If the roaster has as much information as possible on how (and where) the coffee was grown, harvested, and processed, you can be more confident that you are supporting sustainable business practices within the coffee industry.

Coffee producers are some of the most underpaid workers worldwide, often not earning enough to cover the cost of production. [2] Usually, premium prices are paid for single origin coffees.

This then encourages more quality from coffee farmers as they carefully select and process their beans. Roasters then receive better coffee and are able to offer a unique coffee for the end consumers, you and me. It’s a three-way “win-win-win” for the producer, roaster, and consumer!

Fabula Coffee sources their coffee from small farms in South and Central America

Is Single Origin Coffee Better?

Of course, single origin coffee isn’t always better.

The two biggest drawbacks to this type of coffee are limited availability and higher cost. Obviously, the two are inversely correlated… Hello, supply and demand!

Since certain single origin coffees are often produced in limited quantities, that can make them harder to find. Pair this with a higher quality product, and single origins can get expensive.

Another potential negative of this type of coffee is environmental concerns. The increased demand for certain regions and coffee varietals can lead to deforestation and water depletion.

Geishas were recently (and continue to be) a very popular variety for their intense fruity and delicate floral notes. Consumers typically demand the washed (or wet) processing method for this type of variety. If a farmer decides to clear out a lot of existing trees to plant geisha coffee, especially in an area with little water, the impact on the environment can be huge.

In this case, it would be more responsible to use a variety that grows more naturally in the producer’s region.

Single Origin Coffee vs Coffee Blends

I’ve mentioned blends a lot in this article, but what exactly is a coffee blend?

A coffee blend is a combination of two or more different types of coffee beans from different regions or farms. Blends are often created to achieve a specific taste profile, with each bean contributing to the overall flavor and aroma of the blend.

Intelligentsia’s Black Cat and Peet’s Major Dickson are their signature blends, we love it!

When compared to single origin coffee, blends can offer several benefits. For example, coffee roasters create blends to offer a more consistent flavor profile than single origins, usually with more accessible flavor notes. When they blend coffee beans, the final bag will tend to be less expensive than a bag of single origin coffee, as it can be made with cheaper beans.

On the other hand, single origins offer unique and distinct flavor profiles that can be difficult to replicate in a blend. Single origin coffee beans can also offer more traceability and transparency in the coffee supply chain, as the beans come from one specific region or farm. This can promote more direct trade relationships between coffee farmers and roasters, leading to more sustainable business practices.

In terms of roast level, both a single-origin coffee and a coffee blend can be roasted to whatever levels you desire, from light to dark. The roast level can affect the flavor profile, with lighter roasts tending to have more acidity and fruitiness, while darker roasts have a more robust and smoky flavor.

The choice between single-origin coffee and blends ultimately comes down to personal preference and values.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, single origin coffee offers coffee drinkers a unique flavor experience that can showcase the terroir and essence of a specific region or farm.

So whether you prefer the complexity of a blend or the distinct flavor profile of a single origin coffee, there is something for everyone in the world of coffee.

Whatever you do, make sure to buy your bags of coffee from local roasters who value the producers they work with.

Happy brewing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is single origin coffee more expensive?

Single origin coffee is more expensive because it is sourced from a specific region, farm, or estate, and is typically produced in smaller quantities, resulting in higher production costs. It also tends to have unique flavor characteristics that are highly valued by coffee connoisseurs.

Is single origin better than blends?

Whether single origin or blends are better is subjective and depends on personal taste preferences. Single origin coffee offers unique and distinctive flavors that showcase the terroir of a specific region, while blends offer a more consistent taste profile by combining beans from multiple sources.

Does Starbucks have single origin coffee?

Yes, Starbucks offers a variety of single origin coffees from around the world, such as Colombian, Ethiopia, and Guatemala. While most of the shops serve blends for their coffee drinks, they have roasted bags of single origins coffee available for purchase.

Can you use single origin coffee for espresso?

Single origin coffee can be used for espresso. In fact, some espresso enthusiasts prefer using single origin beans because they offer unique flavor notes that can enhance the espresso experience. Plus, you get to experience what one particular coffee in one specific area of the world has to offer.

Is single origin coffee good with milk?

Whether single origin coffee is good with milk is a matter of personal taste. Some single origin coffees have flavor profiles that pair well with milk, while others may lose their distinct characteristics when combined with milk. It is worth experimenting to find the perfect combination that suits individual preferences. I recommend that you try coffee with notes of chocolate or nuts; they tend to pair well with milk.


  • [1] African Coffee Bean: Vivid flavors from Ethiopia & Kenya – https://www.baristainstitute.com/blog/paulina-palaikyte/january-2018/african-coffee-bean-vivid-flavors-ethiopia-kenya
  • [2] Does Producing Coffee Mean Living in Poverty? Examining The Data –   https://perfectdailygrind.com/2018/12/does-producing-coffee-mean-living-in-poverty-examining-the-data/
Photo of author

Alex DeCapri

Alex DeCapri is a specialty coffee roaster and curious coffee writer. During his time living in Brazil, he spent months learning directly from producers how to pick and process coffee the right way. One thing led to the next, and he started sourcing his own green beans to roast and ship worldwide and later became the head roaster at OOP Café in Belo Horizonte. Currently, Alex is traveling slowly from the United States to Brazil in his self-converted camper van, trying to visit as many coffee farms as possible along the way. If you see him on the road, be sure to say hi!