According to Wikipedia (and we'll tolerate no bashing of that awesome tool), estate coffees are a specific type of single-origin coffee. They may be grown on a single (small) farm or on large plantations spread across many square miles, or on several farms as long as all are processing their coffee at the same mill.
Single origin coffee is a subset of estate coffee. (Did you just picture a Venn diagram? Us, too. Hm. Well, let's not dwell on that.) Single origin coffee, you see, is typically not just from a single farm (regardless of size) but is associated with a single farmer or farming family.
Why Does it Matter?
Do you like birds? Clean air? Living wages? Peace? Drinking coffee, we're sorry to say, will not directly bring about peace, a living wage, an end to pollution or guarantee the safety of birds.
Getting your beans from your local chain grocery store outpost could make the future a little darker for all of those things.
Also - and here's the gratuitous payoff for you, fellow java lover - how, where and when a coffee is grown noticeably affects the flavor. Like wines made from grapes of a particular region, or vineyard, estate coffees have distinctive markers.
Single origin coffees have even more unique taste signatures. And many single origin coffees are seasonal, with subtle flavors and tasty nuances fans say are addictive.
It's like one of those nesting dolls. Or another Venn diagram. Oh dear, now we're really starting to sound like coffee geeks...
The Politics of Coffee
The Economist has published a surprising number of articles about coffee. Surprising, that is, if you don't realize how important coffee is to the world economy. Even before Starbucks existed, market watchers watched coffee markets with great interest.
Are you waking up to the global impact of coffee and/or taking a deeper interest in this deep, dark drink? You're our kind of people. Please contact us with any questions that may be brewing inside your brain. We'd love to hear from you.