I've had a few conversations lately about "blends vs. single origin" coffee. This might seem like an odd starting topic but shapes a lot of what we do. It is also important to note that both have their place.
A "blend" is a blend of beans from different growing locations or with different growing practices. A single origin is coffee from one source. A blend might include coffees from different countries, different farms within the same country or even differently processed beans from the same farm. Single origin and blend might take on different meanings depending on who is using the words, so I will just talk to what "single origin" means to us.
The majority of what we currently offer is "single origin" coffee. To us, this means that we try to source coffee that is from a specific farm and possibly a specific lot within the farm. As an example, our El Salvador La Concordia is from the La Concordia farm, is processed using the "dry process" technique and was separated out as micro lot "BN12" from the other coffees they offer. This is exciting to us because it gives us clues as to why our coffee tastes the way it does. It also celebrates the work of the specific farm that it came from.
You will notice that there are many details about this coffee on our site, ranging from elevation to process to region etc. These details shape the flavor of a coffee the same way that region and vintage and barrel time might shape a wine. Single origin to us is the best way we can connect you to where the coffee began. It is the farm that creates all the potential that exists within a coffee. We then work hard to bring these flavors out when we roast the bean and finally you extract the flavors from the coffee. A large majority of what we think about exists in the process from Farm to Cup.
Eric Craft & Jeremy Mason