Altitude Adjustment: How Height Affects the Flavor of Coffee


mexico-sierrasur-box-42When shopping for coffee and looking at bean specs, you’ve probably seen a number indicating the altitude at which the coffee was grown. If you’re not super into coffee, you were probably like, “Okay, cool, whatever,” right?

But altitude can tell you a lot about how the coffee will taste.

Coffees growing at a higher altitude are known for producing floral aromas and an intense, bright sweetness. The plants have to use more energy to grow in elevated conditions, so the beans mature slower and have more time to develop distinct, complex flavors.

Coffee plants growing at a lower altitude have an easier time of it and produce beautifully mild, subtle coffees. Lower-grown coffee beans are more delicate than their high-up counterparts, so we roast them gently and let the flavors emerge slowly.

Take our two newest brews for instance, both from southern Mexico. Our new Sierra Sur was grown in Oaxaca at around 1,800 meters (which is pretty dang high). Our recently released El Mirador was grown in Veracruz at around 1,100 meters (still fairly high, but on the lower end for a Mexican coffee).

Differences in geography, temperature, rainfall, and sunlight have created two totally different but equally excellent brews. Sierra Sur, one of our highest-grown coffees, shows its altitude in strong flowery notes like rose and honey suckle. El Mirador has more mild notes of apple and butterscotch, a subtle coffee that you’ll crave daily.

Have questions about beans or brewing? Shoot us an email at

About La Colombe Coffee Roasters (511 Articles)
Take life to the next level. Everyone deserves cafe quality coffee, anywhere. #CafeAnywhere

2 Comments on Altitude Adjustment: How Height Affects the Flavor of Coffee

  1. I was in Ixtapa about 10 years ago and found a little store that had a little roaster in and they were selling this most wonderful dark roast coffee bean there, I think it was $5 per lb. I brought back 10 lbs. in my carryon. Could this been the coffee that they were roasting??? I was delicious!


  2. Where are the altitude numbers located on the bag? Are they on all bags?


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