Coffee From Around the Globe
Coffee, unlike money, grows on a tree. In fact, coffee “beans” are the seeds of a fruit that grows on a coffee tree. These trees are finicky. They need altitudes over 3000 feet (1000 meters, AKA, a mountain side), but can’t handle freezing (or scorching!) temperatures. In other words, to get great coffee, you need to grow your trees on a mountain in the tropics.
We have grouped these areas into 3 regions as coffees from one region typically taste distinct from the other two growing regions: Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This distinction is somewhat arbitrary; a lot of factors influence the taste of coffee. Major factors include: country, region, micro-region, which side of the mountain a farmer picks from/has a field on, elevation, rainfall, tree type (varietal), ripeness level, processing method (getting the cherry off the bean), and drying times. You’ll find all this information and (often) more in the store.
Africa and Yemen are considered the birthplace of coffee. Coffees from this region feature wild, unique flavors and fragrances and tend to be complex, fruity, and/or floral with a dry (wine-like) acidity. For those who can’t “taste the difference” or if all coffee tastes the same, we recommend starting here.
Asian coffees feature the boldest, most savory flavors with little to no acidity. Often described as earthy and funky, these coffees have improved dramatically in recent years and the Pacific islands have produced some real gems.
Unlike the flavors of Africa and Asia, Latin American coffees are (typically) balanced and uniform. This is because most Latin American coffees are washed. That means the farmers soak the coffee fruit for 12-72 hours to get the fruit off the bean. Although the characteristics of these coffees ranges considerably from country to country, region to region, and farm to farm, this process and the terroir gives them a generally light bodied mouth feel, crisp acidity, and clean finish.
Traditionally, companies blended coffees together to hide the poor taste of cheap, defective beans. Because of our focus on high-quality beans and our desire to highlight the individual farms that produced them, we prefer to offer single-origins.
Espresso is our one exception.
Most coffee is brewed using gravity to pull the coffee-saturated water through a filter, which yields a thin, mild brew. Espresso, on the other hand, uses a pump to smash hot water through a finely ground disk of coffee, which yields a thick and intense, 1-2 ounce shot of coffee. This highly concentrated brew acts as magnifying glass, highlighting one or two flavor characteristics, which most coffees can’t handle. Although an occasional coffee will make fantastic espresso as a single-origin, we blend to make a more nuanced, rounded espresso. To maintain a focus on the coffees origins, we provide information on what coffees are in there, in what percentage, and how that effects the final flavor.
By the way, in case you didn’t notice, we love espresso :)
Our Shop is not only a place to experience unique coffees, attend a Gallery opening from local artists, and meet friends, but also a space designed to educate the community on various aspects of coffee. Check out our events for opportunities to join some of the Learning Labs at OQ to learn more, from coffee agriculture, the farmers, relationships, economics, to brew methods!