Where Does My Office Coffee Come From?

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stefany davila

Stephany Dávila, Guest Contributor

Coffee farmer, coffee lover, and activist.
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Where does my coffee come from?

As with many other delicious fruits, coffee is a product from the Tropics.

Did you know coffee can just be grown between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn? That leaves out almost the entire United States! Aside from Hawaii’s Kona coffee, only California has successfully grown some.

By KVDP [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

By KVDP [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

With that said, the top three producing countries, in terms of volume, are Brazil, Vietnam, and Colombia. However, listing the top three in terms of quality is much harder to say!

coffee beans

Single origin or blend?

You may have heard these terms that refer to the origin of coffee. If you have asked yourself at some point “Why do roasters blend coffees?”, here is a quick answer:

Before 1989, coffee was not an openly traded product as it is today. Producing and consuming countries had an agreement managed by the International Coffee Organization that allotted trading quotas for every producing country.

Based on the species of coffee produced and the processing methods they used, countries were classified as suppliers of Robustas, Brazilian Naturals, Colombian Milds, and Other Milds.

Don’t panic! We’ll talk more about coffee species and about this classification in other posts.

What’s important here is to know that back in the day, coffees from certain origins had very particular flavor notes and quality, so blending was a practice to mix them and offer coffees that would be quality and price-efficient.

Nowadays the story is different. Blending has become a practice that aims to bring a coffee to you that is complex in flavor and consistent over time. Because coffee is seasonal, blending beans makes it possible for a roaster to recreate your favorites all year long—year after year.

A few examples of popular blends here in Portland you might know are Stumptown: Hairbender; Heart: Stereo Blend; and Nossa Familia: Full Cycle.

fair trade office coffee

Simplified: Flavors and Growing Regions

Brazilian, Honduran, and Colombian coffees have proved to be very good as a base for a blend due to their sweetness and body.

Central American coffees bring fruit notes and acidity, African coffees can add a boost of floral and fruit notes, and Asian coffees are sometimes used to increase body (and crema, in the case of espresso blends). You can see how roasters and growers can craft unique coffee experiences with blending beans.

Every country has as well specialized and expanded their offer, letting roasters pick from a selection of specific varieties of arabica coffee, different processing methods, or even create their own experiments at farm level.

Orange, tangerine, jasmine, hibiscus, chocolate, caramel, nougat… the notes present in specialty coffees can go pretty long; if you have high quality you also have high probability of clearly identifying these particular flavors.

So, should I drink a single origin or a blend?

Well, that really depends on what you’re looking for in a cup. If you enjoy exploring new flavors, single origins or bold blends could surprise you and keep your palate trained.

If you prefer something more consistent that you can drink today and that will pretty much have the same notes as time goes by and you get new packages, a blend would work perfectly.

At Belmont, we work with top-notch coffee roasters from Portland, who love coffee as much as we do and are always striving to bring the best out of the beans they roast.

By letting us take care of your office service, you will have access to fresh coffees that have been selected, blended (if the case), and roasted to perfection so you can give your day a flavorful start.

We enjoy helping offices discover the best fit for them by introducing our latest coffee favorites, coffee tastings for employees, and through our rotating roaster of the month coffee program.

Want to learn more about how Belmont can transform your break room? Drop a line below and we'll get back to you.

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You can follow Stephany on Instagram @la_del_cafe