Elevation and Quality

On all of our coffees you can see the elevation at which it was grown.  We do this because the elevation plays a big part in developing the flavor profile of a particular coffee, but how?<

Coffee prefers high elevation in tropical regions where it can collect energy from the hot sun all day in order to grow slowly in the cool air at night. With thinner air at higher altitudes, the seeds grows slower in the cherry, allowing for a more complex, better-developed flavor profile.  As you go higher in elevation, you start to impart brighter notes on the coffee, notes such as berry, fruit, floral, and wine and perfect examples of this is coffee from the Yirgacheffe region of Ethiopia, such as our previous offering of Ethiopia Beloya.  These coffees exhibit distinct and lively notes of fruit and wine with a complex flavor profile that can include notes of cocoa, nut, and chocolate.

Sometimes you’ll see coffees with the label SHG, for “strictly high grown,” like our previous offering of Mexico Finca Nueva Linda.  Coffees bearing this label have been grown above 1,500 meters and will contain a bright and lively flavor profile.  In the case of our Mexican coffee, the liveliness comes in the form of notes of green grapes.  The high, lively notes are a great balance to the lower, heavier notes of cocoa and nut brittle.

If you like your coffee to be more complex, with hints of brightness and acidity, then look for coffee’s grown at higher elevations.

Michael C. Wright

Michael is a licensed Q Grader, licensed Q Processor Pro, an Authorized SCA Trainer (AST), and most recently, a graduate with a degree in horticulture and a concentration in horticultural business management. He has over ten years experience in the coffee industry operating on both the supply and demand sides of the value chain.