Single origin refers to coffee that can be traced back to one place. Because of how different coffee production is throughout the world, this can mean anything from a coffee produced by an individual coffee farmer, to coffee from small farmers throughout a specific region brought to one mill or regional hub. Coffee roasters buy single origin coffees and then choose to either sell them as single origins or combine them into blends.
Because single origin coffee beans are grown in one location, you can taste the unique flavors and aromas directly caused by that region or coffee farm, a concept called terroir that the we in specialty coffee borrow from our friends in the wine industry.
It’s all in the name! Single-origin coffee comes from one location, while a coffee blend is mix of coffees from different places. Roasters use blends to create different flavor profiles that would be harder to create with just one single-origin coffee. Roasters can also rotate different single-origin coffees through a blend seasonally to maintain consistency without sacrificing freshness.