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What is Coffee Terroir?

Posted by Stori Coffee on
What is Coffee Terroir?

Coffee Etymology: “Within the tree of life we are all related to coffee. We actually share 50% of our DNA with coffee plants.

Damascene's Terroir Story

Francois has never known life without coffee; His father, Damascene, has never known coffee without his family involved in some form or another. “Since Francois got married and started his own family, the first thing he did was ask me for some seedlings from our family coffee nursery” - Damascene tells me.

Naturally, his father quickly and curiously inquired about the ‘location and terroir’ of the new home he was to then settle with his new family. To Francois's unassuming confidence, he abruptly responded with the pride of a new head of household; - “Only a small valley and a stone’s throw away separates my new home from yours.”


“I am sorry but I cannot give you any seedlings from the cultivar in my nursery!!” Damascene emphatically told his son. “The total number of years you have been alive have taught me that propagation is easier for you and I then it is for coffee seedlings to take root just anywhere – for when the root of a tree begins to decay, it spreads death to her branches.” Francois was happy to tell me that he has since moved next door to his father.

The Connection Between Coffee and Terroir

Coffee farming is a long partnership with nature. Amongst other variables, it starts with a selection of the right seed in the right environment. Selection is usually done after an observation of how a particular cultivar or variety performs year after year through a series of different climate cycles. If it’s the Arabica variety, this single plant can in turn produce a new self-replicating cultivar within a few generations.
Terroir, (a French term; “Terre” meaning Earth) is related to its taste of “place.” To add to just how important ’terroir’ (place of development) is to coffee, consider that not a single farmer, roaster or barista can add any flavor to the coffee that nature hasn’t already locked in place.


All we can humanly do is to ‘unlock’ the taste of place. This is only possible through good agricultural practices and processing techniques, in the case of the farmer; combined with a craftsmanship in roasting fresh in-season harvest, and ultimately, the savoring conquest of uniformity in brewing.

Stori Coffee’s Terroir

At Stori, we start with the undisputed seal of approval given to us by terroir. In her benevolence, nature seals a unique stamp of approval of microclimatic conditions, soil composition, micro-organisms and weather patterns specific to place. And because of this, we are aware that a Bourbon coffee variety immersed in the soils of Gakenke, Rushashi, off the westerly slopes of Bulimba, will adopt the reverence of its final products gustatory and aromatic attributes, unlike its counterpart cousin across the lake; - despite being in a similar region and district. And because of this, we chose to preserve the identity of vintage, and follow its lead while we source and roast our coffee. Ultimately, we hope that you will be part of the story that will unlock and experience the taste of place when brewing Stori coffee.

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