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How important is terroir for specialty coffee?


The same coffee variety, but in different lands will have different flavors. That’s thanks to the factors of terroir – a term used to refer to the influence of geographical, climate, land and human factors on the quality and characteristics of agricultural products, especially coffee and wine. Join 43 Factory Coffee Roaster to explore the impact of terroir on specialty coffee!


Terroir of coffee


According to the National Library of Medicine, Coffee Terroir is defined as the unique sensory experience derived from a single origin coffee that exhibits the distinct characteristics of its origin. The terroir of coffee is related to environmental factors such as latitude, longitude, rainfall, temperature, soil, growing method, and harvesting. In particular, soil with altitude above 1000 masl and rainfall lower than 1600 mm/year will create fragrant, slightly bitter, sour and rich coffee of high value. On the contrary, coffee grown at altitudes lower than 850 m and with high rainfall of about 2110 mm/year has a bitter taste, grassy aroma, light smell, and less economic value. The reason is that areas with higher altitudes and lower average temperatures can prolong the maturation time of coffee cherries. From there, the coffee beans absorb many nutrients, density, and high levels of substances that can be converted into flavor, leading to a richer flavor. In addition, factors such as shade coverage and cultivation methods are also considered parameters that create unique characteristics of coffee. The combination of these factors in each growing region and each variety creates unique flavors so that every time you drink it, it will remind you of the place where that type of coffee was produced.



Terroir amplifies the inherent characteristics of the coffee variety


Specialty coffee has clear characteristics of the variety and growing region. Because coffee growing land in general such as climate, soil, terrain (altitude) and even production methods all affect the development of coffee cherries. In addition, each type of coffee will have a different maturity rate, potential and nutritional needs. Coffee quality will be maximized by the necessary nutrient and carbon sources and growing time available in each region. For example, nutrients from volcanic soil will cause seeds to have a different nutritional content than red-brown humus soil and cause seeds to develop different characteristics. Furthermore, other environmental factors will also activate the characteristics that exist in the coffee shop differently. Rainfall and humidity affect the yield and quality of the coffee tree when it produces fruit. The planting area has enough necessary rainfall to ensure that photosynthesis (carbohydrate source) is not impaired due to lack of moisture and at the same time improves the uniformity of flowering or fruiting. Therefore, the interaction between environmental and management factors influences vegetative growth, yield and the length of the maturation stage which in turn determines the potential quality of coffee beans in a given location.



Terroir affects coffee flavor


Coffee grown purely naturally from a certain soil will have unique characteristics that cannot be found anywhere else. Ethiopian coffee will have a fruity flavor while Panamanian coffee will have a strong tea and jasmine flavor. The sweetness, sourness, and bitterness of each variety in each specific region are also different because of the uniqueness of the terroir elements. For example, warmer temperatures encourage the biological growth of compounds that contribute to earthy aromas, while also increasing the compounds that create bitterness in coffee. Lower temperatures promote fruity aromas and acidity. The caffeine content in the seeds will increase the higher the growing area is.


If the terroir changes the coffee flavor will also change. Depending on the season, the climate will have certain changes. As in summer the weather will be drier, plants need a lot of water to avoid drying out. The rainy season is when coffee grows rapidly in terms of branches and seed size and requires nutritional supplementation to increase seed density. Rainfall, temperature, and the time between day and night can all affect the growth and size of coffee cherries.

If you want to experience the specialty coffee flavor of each terroir, please visit XLIII Coffee – The brand developed from the predecessor 43 Factory Coffee!

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