Some people think that the concept of coffee from a single origin has only been around since the early 2000s. However, the truth is that single origin coffee has been part of the trade for hundreds of years.
For many decades, importers, exporters and roasters have been separating the best coffee beans from the rest by singling out specific types of beans from various farms, regions and estates.
Two of the first single origin coffees are Mocha from estates in Yemen, and Java from Indonesia. Actually, the success of these single origin coffees is what brought about the first coffee blend in the world – Mocha Java. This is a coffee bean blend that is part Yemen Mocha and then two parts Arabica Java. In this form, Mocha Java is truly the oldest coffee blend.
In more recent times, coffee drinkers have become more conscious of various social and environmental factors that relate to the growing of coffee beans. These concerns have led to three primary areas that are the focus of single origin coffee appeal:
- Bird friendly
- Fair trade
Today there is even more of a focus among coffee conniseuers on single estate coffee, meaning that the coffee beans come from just one single farm or estate. This single estate coffee allows the grower to develop a very particular flavor profile, and the taste of the coffee is vastly superior to traditional coffee blends.
The rarest single estate coffee in the world today is from the kopi luwak bean; it costs more than $400 per pound, and is processed via the digestive tract of the Sumatran civet cat. The civet eats berries from a kopi luwak tree, and as they go through the gut, the pulp is removed and leaving just the beans. These reappear in the animal droppings. It is reported that the coffee that comes from this rare single estate coffee is most ‘pungent and earthy.’