Understanding Micro Lot, Single Origin Coffee

The coffee industry is flash with buzzwords and acronyms - let's demystify a few.

What does “single origin” and micro-lot coffee really mean?
Micro lot is a small lot of coffee (about 5 - 50 bags) harvested and processed on a single farm, estate or cooperative.  Generally, micro lots are of higher quality and fetch premium prices due to the higher operational cost involved in farming and processing. An example of these micro-lot coffees includes our women-produced coffee from the Gichugene Co-op in Meru and our single estate coffee from the Pearless Estate in Nyeri.Kenya AA Meru Kiangurwe single origin green coffee in grain pro

So then what is “Single origin” coffee? A coffee is labeled "single origin" if its from a single coffee farm / estate / country or a specific region within that country. In Kenya for example, a single origin coffee might be produced by a single co-operative made up of a few members. In such a case, we would partner with a cooperative that implements strict quality standards and supports its members to produce a single high quality lot with distinct flavors.

Today, more consumers are looking to understand the origin of their food. The "Farm to Fork", Farm to Table" and Farm to Cup" movements are redefining our relationship with what we eat and drink. The term Single Origin" has moved closer to the farmer - a level that informs us about the coffee, its 

growing region and climate, as well as farming, and processing methods.

Why Single Origin, Micro Lot Coffees?
Traceablity & Empowering Farmer Relationships

Over the years, we have come to understand that the smaller the lots, the more information we have on the coffee - i.e. its region, climate, producer and how it's farmed (organic, sustainable) and processed. Being so close to the farm, we have been able to build long-term, sustainable relationships with farmers and their local communities. This has allowed us to collaborate, liaise and partner with farmers in improving the quality of their coffees and ensuring equitable and fair prices. At the same time, at the community level, we are able to support local programs such as education, clean water and healthcare, that seek to empower and enrich.coffee cherry sorting, processing or single origin Africa coffee in Burundi

High Quality Coffees With Distinct Flavors

Single origin and micro lot coffees tend to be high quality coffees. These coffees typically have a distinct flavor profile mainly attributed to how they are produced and processed. Producers take great care to ensure these lots remain separate - the coffees are harvested, processed and stored separately.  These coffees are not blended. Any blending will impact flavor, quality, and purity of the coffee – and the smaller the lot, the more noticeable these elements become. At Grand Parade, we have outfitted some our coffee estate's and co-operatives with computers where data on these coffees is collected and stored. This helps us monitor the coffee and also allows us to share detailed information with our buyers and assure full traceability.cupping single origin arabica green coffee in Kenya

Cupping Single Origin Coffees in Kenya, 2018

The more we delve in the world of single origin coffees, the more we realize their complexity. However, we are certain about one thing - the more information we have about where our beans come from, the more tools we have to work towards pursuing sustainable, high-quality coffee.