Strictly High Grown Coffee: Smoothest Coffee Ever?

Strictly High Grown Coffee


*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please see our disclosure

While searching for coffee beans, you may have come across the term “Strictly High Grown Coffee”. This term is applied to coffees all over the world but what does it mean?

Strictly High Grown (SHG) Coffee is coffee that was grown higher than 1,200 meters (4,000 ft) above sea level. SGH coffees are also called Strictly Hard Bean (SHB) Coffee.

Unlike other coffee grading systems that measure coffee bean size, density, number of defects, etc., SHG is only concerned with coffee-grown altitudes. This makes it a unique classification system that can easily be applied to any coffee.

In this post we’re going to talk about:

  • what SHG coffee is
  • why SHG coffee is so great
  • the drawbacks of SHG coffee

Let’s jump right in!

What Is Strictly High Grown Coffee?

Strictly High Grown (SHG) Coffee is the highest grade in Central American Coffee Grading Systems. These coffee beans are all grown at elevations higher than 1,200 meters (4,000 ft) above sea level.

This grading system is used in Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and Costa Rica.

And although other countries have their own internal grading systems, you may see Asian or African coffee beans classified as Strictly High Grown or Strictly Hard Bean.

Guatemala Antigua Coffee ad banner image

Why Is Strictly High Grown (Strictly Hard Bean) Coffee Special

SHG coffees are grown at higher elevations, so they develop slowly, contain more nutrients, and have more flavor than coffee beans grown at lower elevations.

Why does this happen?

Because higher altitudes are cooler and have less oxygen, there’s slower bean development, and the coffee grown has to grow harder and denser than normal.

This typically results in a nutrient-dense bean that produces high coffee quality.

Strictly High Grown Coffee

Best Strictly High Grown Beans

If you want to try some great Strictly High Grown Beans consider buying the following:

Other Grades In The SHG Grading System

Strictly High Grown is the highest grade available, there are two other grades lower than SHG.

  • High Grown
  • Standard (a.k.a. Central Standard)

Strictly High Grown Coffee

What Is Considered High-Grown Coffee?

High-grown coffee is coffee beans grown between 900 and 1,200 meters above sea level.

Coffees grown at these altitudes aren’t as nutrient-dense as SHG and their taste attributes are milder and less fruity.

Related Post:

What Is Standard (central standard) Coffee?

Central standard is coffee grown between 500 and 900 meters.

These beans are even milder and brew a less flavorful coffee than beans grown at higher elevations.

Kenya Peaberry Coffee

The Downsides of Strictly High Grown Coffee

While coffee beans grown at high altitudes are of higher quality, they are more difficult to plant, access and care for.

Higher elevation also makes it more difficult to harvest the coffee beans because they must be picked by hand.

Lastly, because every SHG bean develops slowly, each coffee tree produces a limited amount of coffee fruit every year.

Because SHG beans are labor-intensive and have a more limited supply, the price can be a bit more expensive.

Strictly High Grown Coffee Varietals

Arabica beans do better at higher altitudes than other coffee bean types. And depending on the country of origin, many different Arabica varietals are grown as SHG coffee.

However, when it comes to SHG coffees grown in Central America, Typica and Bourbon are the varietals that are most commonly grown.

Costa Rica Original Tarrazu Coffee

The Bottom Line: SHG Coffee Beans

Strictly High Grown Coffee is the highest-quality bean in the Central American coffee grading system. These beans are known for their high nutrient concentration and delicious flavor profile.

And while there are many different systems for grading coffee, SHG is based purely on growing altitude. So it’s also used for African and Asian coffees as well.

Have you tried any SHG beans? If so, let us know how you like it in the comments below!

Cheers Coffee Lovers!

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