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Single Origin Coffee: How The Climate In India Affects The Flavour

Single Origin Coffee: How The Climate In India Affects The Flavour

August 16, 2021

Single Origin Coffee. You might have read this set of words in some cafe you visited. Maybe you dismissed it as ‘Coffee Jargon.’ 

Single Origin? Why is it flaunted on menus? 

Let’s find out.

The phrase "single-origin" has a large definition. The term is frequently defined as coffee sourced from a single grower, crop, or location within a single country.

The key thing about single-origin coffee is that it is traceable; you know where your coffee comes from and that it is a particular bean and not a blend of different beans. It is a recognition that the coffee is from a distinct farm, located in a unique environment and specific climate. The origin of the coffee affects the flavor and the texture. 

So how did single origins enter “mainstream” vocabulary? 

A growing number of specialty cafés with alternative brewing methods like Pour Overs and AeroPresses have piqued coffee’s interest. Single origins appear to be particularly popular because of their traceability and authenticity. Most coffee drinkers won’t bother to ask for the origin of their coffee from the Barista and won’t have the patience to wait till the beans are ground and brewed separately. Morning rushes in cafes usually amount to most customers getting their espressos and cappuccinos with the beans ground in the batch.

Coffee Enthusiasts are changing this scene. Distinct flavor notes in single-origin coffees are being appreciated and sought after. People are interested in where their coffee is coming from and why it tastes the way it tastes. And it really helps encourage the coffee industry. 

Does Single Origin Coffee Taste Different?

Because single-origin coffees can be traced back to a specific location, they usually have a particular flavor that reflects the region's growing and processing characteristics. Many factors, such as botanical type, soil, climate, height, and shade, can have a significant impact on flavor. The type of roast matters as well, but that usually depends on the roasters and not the place where the beans come from.

Let's talk about the different places where single-origin coffee comes from.

And how it affects the flavor and texture of your coffee.

One of the most exciting aspects of experiencing single-origin coffee is the opportunity to taste distinct flavor notes in their purest form. Most mixes include a lot of flavor notes that blend together, making it difficult to enjoy any one of them. Single-origin coffees, on the other hand, allow for the exploration of distinct coffee flavors.

Single Origin Coffee - Around The World

Coffee Beans are grown in the mountainous areas of tropical regions, like Kenya, Mexico, Columbia, India, and many more places with relatively hot climates. The two most commercially popular types of beans are Arabica and Robusta. The taste and the flavor notes of any coffee are highly affected by which part of the world it is grown. While Brazil is the #1 producer of coffee in the world, India stands at #6 in coffee production.

Indian Single Origin Coffee

The history of coffee beans in India dates back to the seventeenth century. India wasn’t a country where coffee beans were grown naturally. The story goes that an Indian pilgrim to Mecca, Baba Budan, smuggled seven beans to India. It was illegal to take coffee beans out of Arabia at that time, but that didn’t stop Baba Budan from getting the delicious smelling coffee beans from Yemen to India. He planted those beans in the Chandragiri Hills in Karnataka, where the plantations flourished. The rest is history!

India grows both Arabica and Robusta coffee plants, unlike other countries, which produce only one of them.

Climate and Coffee Growing Regions in India

The coffee-growing regions of India can be divided into two categories. The first category includes traditional growing regions in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka, while the second includes non-traditional areas in the East and North Eastern Ghats.

According to the Coffee Board of India, Indian coffee grown in the East Ghats region is typically grown in ecologically sensitive areas under the canopy of natural shade. This non-traditional location has been designated as a global biodiversity hotspot, with a canopy shade comprised of over 50 different types of shade trees.

With numerous regions with an altitude of approximately 3,700 feet, soils rich in essential minerals, and cool temperatures, India is ideal for producing premium coffee, provided the proper cultivation and processing conditions are met. However, it is worth noting that the climates in India's coffee-growing regions vary, resulting in the cultivation of different varieties with distinct flavors.

Why Should We Consider Sourcing Single-Origin Coffee Locally?

Single-origin coffee sourced from and hand-processed by small farmer cooperatives can sustainably empower farmers and farms and contribute to local communities.  Furthermore, understanding the positive implications of single-origin coffee on small farmer cooperatives in the Indian states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and Kerala can promote social viability. 

Single-origin coffee is a success story in India, especially when compared to past experiences with commodity trading and other coffee production in the country. 

It is a positive example of how development aid and international aid can succeed by supporting small farmers.

There has been a great deal of speculation about the impact on farmers and local communities due to coffee sourced from single-origin farms in India, and the local economies, communities, and farmers.

Let’s understand how Single-Origin benefits our farmers.

Impact On Farmers, Farms, and Communities

  • Sourcing coffee from small Indian farms helps generate income for the farmers to fund their own improvements and help them stay on their land. 
  • Local sourcing promotes sustainable farming practices and reduces the impact of climate change through carbon sequestration in the soil. This helps keep the topsoil healthy and protects wildlife.
  • These are genuinely organic coffee farms without any chemical inputs, and the process of growing coffee is more natural, so the flavor and aromatics in these coffees are unique.
  • Small, local Indian coffee farms tend to be the only hope for preserving the country's age-old tradition of hand-picking coffee as they do not have access to machines that can harvest faster. This helps preserve traditional crafts and livelihoods in these communities. It also ensures their products are unique and well worth the money you pay.
  • It helps to make a conscious choice about the quality of coffee you choose to support. This is why we care about where our food comes from: to ensure that it has been grown in a way that respects people and the environment, not just because it tastes better or costs more.
  • Coffee farmers directly selling their own products will often take better care of their coffee because it is their livelihood, not just a commodity. 
  • The price you pay is more likely to go towards paying coffee pickers and other workers a fair wage because it isn't divided up by an intermediary such as a trader or distributor.
  • As they are produced closer to home, the beans will not need to travel as far before reaching you. As a result, the carbon footprint of these coffees will be smaller than those transported from a distance.
  • As you get closer to the source, this greater proximity means that coffee tastes better for several reasons: it is fresher and has traveled shorter distances, so freshness is maintained, and you will get a better flavor.
  • Rest assured that the growers do not use child or forced labor, as these practices are illegal in India and most countries. 
  • If you buy directly from these growers, it also allows you to support them when they struggle under fluctuating market prices and natural disasters, which can cause production levels to drop dramatically.

Tasting Notes

Coffees of Indian Origin have a pronounced and heavy body with mild acidity. You will get hints of earthiness and subtle tangs of spice. It is very likely that you identify spicy flavors of nutmeg, clove, cardamom, pepper, and even hints of tropical fruits. This gives Indian coffee a very distinct flavor from its counterparts of the world.

The most famous coffee in India is the ‘monsooned’ coffee that was discovered by accident (like all great things in the world!). These beans have a flavor of aged coffee, reduced acidity, and a mildly musty flavor that is perfect for you if you love a strong cup of coffee. Likewise, the weak acidity of monsooned coffee makes them the right choice for espresso drinks.

India's single-origin coffees are widely considered to be among the greatest shade-grown coffees in the world. They have a thrilling intensity and interesting subtlety that is specific to the country's growing conditions. It will be intriguing to see what the future holds for Indian coffee, given its growing popularity among connoisseurs. Meanwhile, try the Mysore Nuggets, Robusta Kaapi Royale, Monsoon Malabar, Bababudan Giris, or Monkey Parchment Coffee for a fantastic cup of Indian single-origin coffee.

Are you the coffee connoisseur that admires the intensity and flavor of Single Origin Coffees? Or are you someone being mindful about where your daily cup of coffee comes from? Either way, buy perfectly roasted single-origin Indian coffee from KC Roasters and fill your day with earthy, tropical flavors.