Your Complete Guide to Specialty Coffee Lingo Part 1: Coffee Farming

Have you ever asked yourself about where your cup of coffee came from? Have you ever been stumped with the troubling question, “where does a coffee bean come from?”

As a specialty coffee shop in downtown Minneapolis we value so much more than just the cup of coffee we serve you. While one of our biggest goals is to serve you a high quality, excellent tasting cup of coffee, we know that the only way to reach that goal is to know where the coffee we serve comes from. 

Not only do we value knowing the origin of our coffee to ensure great taste and quality but we value working with ethical and sustainable coffee farms. 

This means that each coffee farm that grows the coffee we serve pays their farmers and workers fair living wages and has them working in safe working conditions. 

When we dive into the ins and outs of coffee farming, we know many of our customers are unfamiliar with how it really works. You may run into some unfamiliar terms along the way.

Today, we are going to answer questions you may have about coffee farming through a little vocabulary lesson. After this, you should be able to answer questions like “where does a coffee bean come from?” And much more!

Specialty Coffee Farming Terms

Cherry: This is the fruit that grows on a coffee tree. So yes, that means coffee grows on trees. Each cherry contains two coffee beans or one “peaberry.”

Organic Coffee: This refers to coffee that has gone through a third party certification process. In order to qualify as organic coffee it must be grown without the use of pesticides, herbicides, or similar chemicals.

Hard Bean: Coffee grown at altitudes of 4,000 to 4,500 feet are considered a hard bean. This is because coffee trees produce slower maturing fruit at higher altitudes and flower temperatures  The result is a harder, less porous bean.

High-grown: Coffee grown at altitudes of 3,000 feet and beyond are considered high ground. These beans tend to be better in taste compared to coffee grown downslope.

Single-origin Coffee: coffee that is not blended with any other beans. It must come from one single country, region, or crop to be considered single-origin coffee.

Fair Trade Coffee: Coffee traded within the bounds of fair trade agencies. These agencies ensure coffee is bought and sold from farmers at a fair price. 

Robusta: This type of coffee tree is used in products like instant coffee. It is a high yield tree but produces bland coffee with higher caffeine. Usually seen as a lower quality coffee.

Shade Grown: Coffee that is grown under a canopy of native trees. These shaded coffee trees attract birds which control bug infestation, meaning farmers have to use less pesticides and other unnatural pest control agents.

Seasonal Coffee: Much like any other fruit, coffee ripens at different times of the year around the globe, based on location. Seasonal coffee’s are usually only available at a select time of the year. 

We hope knowing where your coffee comes from helps you appreciate and enjoy each sip a little more. Stay tuned for part two or stop into 7 Corners Coffee Shop to learn about all things coffee roasting next!

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