An easy guide to get started on single origin coffees

Buying single origin coffees can be intimidating, right? Wrong.

We often find our regular milk based coffee drinkers are keen to dip into the adventurous world of single origin coffees, but are not quite sure where to start. 

First, an explanation between the difference of blends and single origins needs clarifying. Blends are a combination of single origins (e.g., Hollywood blend is comprised of Ethiopia and Brazil); whereas single origins are as they sound- that is, a single origin (e.g., Kenya). 

What does this mean?

Imagine a blend as an old faithful english breakfast or early grey tea. They are fuller in body and designed to cut through the milk. Now, imagine single origins as herbal teas. They are lighter in body, sweeter, fruiter, and more acidic. These are not designed to cut through the milk because most people enjoy these black or with a small dash of milk.

It’s important to understand when you’re switching between blends and single origins, your approach must be different, otherwise you might face disappointment. In the same way, if you taste a lemongrass and ginger tea expecting an english breakfast tea, you would be disappointed.

Brewing is complex stuff. There are two ways of approaching single origins. The easiest way is to try single origins on an alternative brew device (e.g., plunger, V60, aeropress etc). Basically, whip out the dusty plunger and explore all the sweet and acidic nuances single origins have to offer. This is not to say you can’t drink them with milk, but just add a dash.

The slightly more difficult approach is to use your espresso machine. Knuckle down, things are about to get a little more technical.

As a general rule, no coffee extracts the same. This means when you switch between any of our coffees, they will all extract differently. To rectify this, you need to make adjustments to your coffee grinder. Our blends are roasted darker than our single origins. For espresso, you will have to dial the grinder way finer for single origins to achieve the same speed of extraction. Without knowing what equipment you brew on, some domestic equipment have limitations on how ‘fine’ you can adjust the grind. This is something to be mindful of.

Stay with us…

With that said, although it seems counter intuitive, we actually don’t always recommend our single origins to be extracted at the same speed as our blends. Sometimes we encourage them to be extracted on the faster side. This is because a faster extraction highlights sweetness and acidity, which is the intention behind all of our single origin coffees. When you extract slower, you encourage more body and depth out of the coffee, which is more suited to our blends. 

What’s next?

It’s time to pick your single origin beans. If you’re starting out, we always recommend going with a 250g bag first. Everyone has their own palate, which means what one person likes, another may not. This is a good thing. There are no bad cups and no wrong orders. 

Read the flavour descriptions as a guide and reach out if you need any tips.

Have fun!