When it comes to coffee, there are many terms and phrases that can be confusing for those who are not familiar with the world of specialty coffee. One such term is “Strictly High-Grown.” In this article, we will explore what this term means and why it is important in the coffee industry.
What is Strictly High-Grown?
Strictly High-Grown, often abbreviated as SHG, refers to coffee beans that are grown at high altitudes. In general, coffee plants are grown at elevations between 2,000 and 6,000 feet above sea level, but the term Strictly High-Grown typically applies to coffee beans grown at elevations above 4,000 feet.
The altitude at which coffee is grown plays a vital role in determining the taste and quality of the beans. Higher altitudes are generally associated with cooler temperatures and more challenging growing conditions, which can result in slower maturation and denser coffee beans. These factors contribute to the unique flavor characteristics that are often sought after by coffee enthusiasts.
Coffee beans that are Strictly High-Grown tend to have the following qualities:
- Acidity: Higher altitude coffee beans often exhibit brighter and more pronounced acidity, adding a distinct and vibrant flavor profile to the cup.
- Flavor Complexity: The slow maturation process at higher altitudes allows the beans to develop more complex flavors, with notes of fruitiness, floral undertones, and sometimes even chocolate or nuttiness.
- Higher Density: Coffee beans grown at high altitudes are generally more dense, which can contribute to a more balanced and fuller-bodied cup of coffee.
- Absence of Defects: The challenging growing conditions and slower maturation process often result in coffee beans with fewer defects, ensuring a higher quality and more consistent coffee experience.
Factors Influencing Strictly High-Grown Coffee
Strictly High-Grown coffees are influenced by various factors that contribute to their distinct qualities. Some of the key factors include:
- Altitude: As mentioned before, the altitude at which the coffee is grown is a defining characteristic of Strictly High-Grown coffee. The higher the elevation, the greater the impact on the flavor profile.
- Climate: Along with altitude, the climate in which the coffee plants are grown plays a crucial role. Cooler temperatures, consistent rainfall, and adequate sunlight are all factors that contribute to flavor development.
- Soil Quality: The type and quality of the soil in which coffee plants are grown also affect the taste of the beans. High-quality volcanic soils, for example, can enhance the natural flavors of the coffee.
- Varietal: The specific type of coffee plant, or varietal, also influences the flavor profile. Different varietals have unique characteristics and respond differently to growing conditions.
- Processing Methods: The way the coffee cherries are processed after they are harvested can greatly impact the final taste. Different processing methods such as washed, natural, or honey processed can bring out different flavor profiles.
Strictly High-Grown Coffee Regions
Strictly High-Grown coffee is primarily cultivated in regions known for their high-altitude coffee production. Some of the notable coffee regions where Strictly High-Grown beans are grown include:
Coffee from these regions is highly sought after by coffee connoisseurs due to the unique flavors and characteristics imparted by the high altitude growing conditions.
Strictly High-Grown coffee is a term used to describe coffee beans grown at elevations above 4,000 feet. These beans are associated with vibrant acidity, complex flavors, higher density, and a lower presence of defects. The altitude, climate, soil quality, varietal, and processing methods all contribute to the unique qualities of Strictly High-Grown coffee. If you are a coffee lover who appreciates the intricacies of flavor, exploring coffees labeled as Strictly High-Grown may offer a delightful and memorable coffee experience.