Elevation Is Key!
Geography plays a major role in the overall flavor profile of a coffee bean. This is why micro-roasters and specialty coffee retailers often put the country of origin on their labels. There are always exceptions but generally speaking there are similar flavor profiles within the major coffee producing regions of the world. Many possible reasons exist as to why there are similarities including the processing method (washed or natural) that is commonly accepted within a coffee producing region or community. Another reason is the fact many coffee varietals lend themselves to growing better in certain regions creating a higher crop yield thusly creating a common flavor profile from that region. Of course, the overall terroir of a coffee growing region (or even a specific farm or plot) best describes the nuanced cupping notes of a specific coffee. Terroir, a term traditionally used in wine, refers to how the growing conditions of a region affects a coffee’s characteristics. Terroir attempts to describe all the environmental conditions in which a coffee tree grows and thusly how its affects the final cupping notes. For coffee this can include annual rainfall, soil condition, average temperature, amount of sunlight, and finally elevation.