Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, enjoyed by millions of people every day. It’s a complex drink that’s affected by a wide range of factors, including the altitude at which it’s grown. In this post, we’ll explore the impact that altitude has on coffee beans, and how it affects the body, flavour, aroma, and acidity of your morning cup of joe.
Altitude is a crucial factor in coffee production, as it affects the temperature, humidity, and light exposure that the coffee plants receive. Generally, the higher the altitude, the cooler and more temperate the climate, which leads to slower growth and development of the coffee cherries. This slower growth allows for more time for the sugars in the fruit to develop, which contributes to the unique flavour profile of high-altitude coffee.
One of the most significant impacts of altitude on coffee is the body. Coffee grown at higher altitudes tends to have a lighter body, while coffee grown at lower altitudes has a heavier, fuller body. This is because the higher altitude slows down the growth of the coffee cherries, resulting in a denser bean with less mass.
Flavour is another aspect of coffee that’s affected by altitude. High-altitude coffee is often described as having a brighter, more complex flavour profile than low-altitude coffee. This is because the cooler temperatures and increased rainfall at higher altitudes create a more challenging growing environment, forcing the coffee plants to work harder to develop. This extra effort leads to more nuanced and complex flavours in the beans.
Aroma is also influenced by altitude, with high-altitude coffee tending to have a more floral and fruity aroma. This is due to the cooler temperatures and slower growth, which allows the coffee cherries to develop more slowly and retain their aromatic compounds.
Finally, altitude also affects the acidity of coffee. High-altitude coffee tends to have a brighter, more vibrant acidity, while low-altitude coffee has a more muted acidity. This is because the cooler temperatures and slower growth at high altitudes allow for a more gradual development of the coffee cherries, which results in a more balanced and nuanced acidity.
In summary, altitude plays a crucial role in determining the body, flavour, aroma, and acidity of coffee beans. Coffee grown at high altitudes tends to have a lighter body, brighter acidity, and more complex flavour and aroma profile, while coffee grown at lower altitudes has a heavier body and more muted acidity. If you’re a coffee lover, be sure to pay attention to the altitude of the beans you’re drinking to fully appreciate the unique flavours and nuances that altitude can bring to your cup.