How Altitude Affects Coffee Quality

Altitude matters. It’s a fact many coffee drinkers may not realize when they sip their morning brew. In the coffee industry, the size where coffee is grown is a critical factor that can make or break the quality of the final product. At Coffee on Mars, we understand the magic that elevation brings to the coffee experience, from the bean’s development to the last brew that warms your cup.

We believe in sharing the complex factors contributing to our unique coffee profile. That’s why this article focuses on the role of altitude in coffee production, specifically emphasizing our beans, which are grown at elevations ranging from 1600 – 2100 meters above sea level (masl).

The Science of Altitude and Coffee Quality

Growing coffee at high altitudes is not accidental; it’s rooted in science. The cooler temperatures slow down the coffee plant’s metabolic rate, extending the time for the cherries to mature. The slow maturation process allows the beans to accumulate more natural sugars, creating a better balance between acidity and sweetness.

This longer development period is a crucial phase for our coffee beans. The combination of elevation, cool climate, and prolonged growth yields denser beans, widely considered higher quality. These dense beans are particularly receptive to water absorption during brewing, significantly affecting the flavor and aroma of the coffee.

Altitude's Role in Flavor Complexity​

Coffee plants grown at high elevations are often compared to grapes used in winemaking; both tend to produce more complex and flavorful outcomes when grown at higher elevations. At Coffee on Mars, we’ve sourced beans grown between 1600 – 2100 masl to capitalize on this intricate chemistry. These altitudes provide optimal conditions for the coffee cherries to develop their full spectrum of flavors.

The high altitude considerably impacts our coffee’s final flavor profile. Slowly matured at these heights, our beans boast rich dark chocolate and tobacco notes. The aroma alone sets our coffee apart, and once you take a sip, the full complexity of flavors unfolds on your palate, leaving a lasting impression that makes each cup unforgettable.

The Challenges of High-Altitude Harvesting

High altitudes may bring many benefits, but they also present unique challenges. Pests and diseases, for instance, can be more prevalent at these heights, making the coffee plants more vulnerable. The plant’s longer growth cycle at high altitudes extends the window when they are susceptible to diseases, requiring more vigilant care.

Besides biological challenges, logistical difficulties can also impede the harvesting process. The steep terrains at high elevations make it difficult for workers to navigate the fields, adding a layer of complexity to the already labor-intensive harvest. Weather conditions, too, can be more unpredictable, affecting both the plants and the workers involved in cultivation.

The Unique Attributes of Our Coffee​

Our dedication to high-quality coffee doesn’t stop sourcing beans grown at high elevations. Each batch of our beans undergoes a rigorous quality assurance process to meet our high standards. Grown in San Ignacio, Cajamarca, Peru, our beans are responsibly sourced from a single-family, women-owned farm.

The high altitude of these farms isn’t just a point of interest; it’s a vital factor in what makes Coffee on Mars special. Combining these challenging altitudes and our meticulous harvesting process enables us to offer a coffee experience that’s a cut above the rest.


Understanding the altitude’s role in coffee production adds another layer to the rich tapestry of factors that make each cup of Coffee on Mars exceptional. Every aspect plays its part, from the complexity of flavors and aromas to the unique challenges and benefits of high-altitude farming. As you enjoy your next cup, take a moment to savor the rich flavors, knowing that the altitude has had its hand in crafting the exceptional character you’re tasting.