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All About Altitude: How Altitude Levels Affect Coffee

by Kaitlin Graham 12 Feb 2024

How does growing altitude affect coffee?

The altitude that coffee beans are grown at is a key factor in creating high-quality coffee. Altitude is the level of elevation, or how high above sea level a point of land is. Altitude is important in growing coffee because altitude level is essentially the temperature factor. Typically, land further from sea level is cooler and land closer to sea level is warmer. Cooler temperatures produce beans that are more dense than ones grown in warmer temperature levels. Because of this, high-altitude coffees have fruity and floral essences, with more intense flavors. 

Landscape photo of Colombian mountains with coffee growing

Altitude Levels

Coffee grown in different places is grown at different altitudes, which gives them each unique tasting notes.

600m/1968 ft

Coffees grown at 600 meters of elevation or lower generally don’t have strong flavors.

700m/2296 ft - Hawaii

With more flavor than coffee grown at 600m, coffee grown at 700 meters of elevation have mild and basic flavors.

900m/2952 ft - Brazil

When grown at 900 meters elevation, coffee develops sweeter flavors.

1200m/3937 ft - Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Mexico

Coffee grown at a 1200 meter elevation has more complex and distinct flavors. Typically, nutty, citrusy, and earthy flavor notes are formed.

1500m/4921 ft - Colombia, Ethiopia, Guatemala 

Complex, floral, and fruity flavors are born from coffee grown at elevations of 1500 meters or higher.

Monkey Hanger Coffee

Most of our coffees are grown at high-altitudes, which generally results in higher quality coffee. Growing coffee at high-altitudes can create more challenges, so high-altitude farmers take extra care to refine their craft and produce coffee with consistent characteristics. Because the quality of coffee beans is so important to the quality of the brew, all Monkey Hanger coffee is ethically produced and traded.

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