What does elevation have to do with how your coffee tastes? (More than you think!)
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
If you're like us, you probably haven't paid a huge deal of attention towards the elevation your coffee is grown at. Turns out, we probably should've bean! The elevation/altitude (same-same) your coffee is grown at greatly affects the final flavour of your coffee bean.
The Higher the better (as a general rule)
As a general rule, coffee grown at higher elevations are generally considered to be of higher quality because it produces more complex tasting cup of coffee than those grown at lower elevations. Take a look at this picture from the Sustainable Coffee Institute to see the different flavour profiles of different elevations (Would hate to be in the 600-800m range). Generally, coffees grown above 1,200m (4,000ft) are called "high". Our coffee is grown in altitudes from 1,300 - 2,200 metres (or 4,000 - 7000 ft) in the gorilla highlands region of Uganda.
It's not just as simple as higher elevation = higher quality coffee. The reason the elevation produces a more complex tasting coffee is because of 2 main factors
Coffee in higher elevations tend to grow slower because of the lower temperatures, giving the coffee cherry (Yes- coffee is a fruit on a tree!) more time to ripen and develop a rich, bright flavour.
At higher elevations soil is often faster draining, and in turn, this reduces how chunky the coffee cherry can get. the sugars are then concentrated in a smaller fruit and bean, leading to a more complex flavour in the bean!
Here's what you need to look out for
Understanding coffee elevation can help you to pick the bean that is best for you! You'll start to realise that the majority of coffees will state what elevation they're grown.
Coffees from higher altitudes will generally produce an aromatic and flavourful cuppa, whilst coffee grown at lower elevation will produce a plainer tasting coffee.
Take a look at the pic below to see what elevation matches your preferred taste when it comes to coffee.
It's important to keep in mind that elevation is just one of many factors that can influence how your end cup of coffee tastes!
On that note, It's about time for coffee...