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A Nice Cup of Gatomboya Wet Mill
In the last year or so, both my favourite Gloucester Rd coffee shops have started serving "single origin" coffee - but it was only a few weeks ago that I first bought a cup. It came complete with an alchemical apparatus that would have made Friar Bacon blush, and I felt a little pretentious for drinking it, but since then I've become something of an addict. Besides, drinking coffee has always had an element of theatre, has it not? (No? Oh well, just checking.)

2014-02-19 14.46.26


I'm curious - how widespread is this single origin malarkey? Sightings, anyone?

I don't drink coffee, so this may be obvious, but what does single origin coffee mean?

It can mean several things, but essentially it's a bit like single malt scotch - it's not a blend of coffees from different areas, but a comes from one area, or one mill, or one farm.

that coffee roasting place on St Michael's Hill has been doing AOC single variety stuff for yonks. I bought some after a friend enthused about it, and thought it was insipid so went back to my dark roast Illy which, expensive though it is, was still far cheaper than that one... I'm sure these things are lovely if you develop a palate for them, but I think my palate got burned out years ago.

I certainly wouldn't describe what I've had at Lashings and Coffee #1 as insipid, but I've not tried the St Michael's Hill place, so I won't write off your palate just yet.

I do get teased for not drinking it entirely black, but I'm beyond being shamed into drinking coffee other than how I like it.

I think I have spotted it in Glasto....which doubtless will surprise you!

Glastonbury certainly hasn't been synonymous in my mind with "coffee culture" until now!

Not under that term, but the smaller, hipper coffee shops (usually the sort who do their own roasting) around here have been doing that sort of thing for at least a handful of years: offering in addition to (or instead of) a house blend, one or (typically) more coffees each from a particular country or, sometimes, a specific grower. It looked to me like it arose out of the commercialization of fair-trade practices: we know this stuff is fair-trade because we know it came from there -- and oh, btw, the stuff from there tastes like so. The term "single origin" isn't actually used, that I've seen -- they just name the various origins as part of the menu.

At the coffee shop closest to my office, I've sometimes heard the barista use "terroir," which makes me roll my eyes. I still go there because I otherwise like the vibe (equal parts aging hipsters and neighborhood families) and it's fun to try the different brews they have on tap.

---L.

Does it come with an assortment of limbecks, timers and retorts, or just in a cup?

It varies -- I've not noticed a timer, but depending on the place and the brew, often there's a limbeck (either a personal filter or a French press), which may be wielded by the barista or turned over to you to brew as you see fit.

Oh, wait -- the oriental teahouse down near campus serves your pot with a timer. But that's a different level of toshery anyway.

---L.

There were single-origin chocolate bars in NYC fifteen years ago or so. I haven't seen them in a while, though.

Single-origin chocolate, eh? That has yet to arrive here, I think.

Do you mean bars as in the things you hold in your hand, or as in places you go to consume chocolate, such as Burdick's (which I was introduced to last July)?

Wow. I meant the things you hold in your hand. I had no idea that the other kind of chocolate bar existed!

I was taken to the Burdick's in Harvard by my friends jadelennox and diceytillerman shortly after Readercon, and we just happened to bump into nineweaving while we were there - from which I naturally inferred that regular attendance was obligatory on all US citizens with a Livejournal!

There's a tickle in my mind that Burdick's may in fact carry single origin chocolate! But I am not sure.

Burdick's will cheerfully serve you either bars or cups of single-origin chocolate: Grenadian, Venezuelan, Dominican, Bolivian, Madagascan, or Ecuadorian. We are precious here in the People's Republic of Cambridge.

Nine

Hotel Chocolat do single-origin choc bars, we bought several and did a tasting a couple of Christmases ago and there are startling differences. (And indeed their spin-off bar/restaurant/[coffeehouse, only it's a hot-chocolate-house] Conch do single-origin hot chocolates!)

I've seen single country coffee in coffee shops, but not single estate, I think.

I don't drink coffee, but I have seen a few single-estate teas around.

I wouldn't have noticed that, as I don't drink tea (at least, not the black stuff).

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I've been drinking it for years and have my favourite locations. I admit, though, I was a coffee snob before the term became common.

I was a coffee snob before the term became common.

Does that make you a coffee snob snob? :)

Very possibly!

hong kong :)

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