What is Strictly Hard Bean Coffee (SHB) or Strictly High Grown Coffee (SHG)?

What is Strictly Hard Bean Coffee (SHB) or Strictly High Grown Coffee (SHG)?

When it comes to the harvesting process of cultivated gourmet coffee beans, expert-level farmers and enthusiasts often look at two types or categories to determine what type of bean they are going to collect. These categories are often called as Strictly Hard Bean Coffee (SHB) or Strictly High Grown Coffee (SHG). These two determine the overall quality of the coffee in terms of its flavor, acidity, and other factors that make the coffee bean unique from the rest of the market.

Ever wondered why some coffees taste so much brighter and more complex? Look for terms like “SHG” or “Strictly Hard Bean Coffee.” This refers to high-altitude, single-origin Arabica beans. These specialty coffees, often shade-grown and bird-friendly, benefit from unique microclimates and dense bean development, resulting in a distinct flavor profile. So, next time you brew, consider the fascinating journey your beans took from mountainside to mug!

Strictly Hard Bean Coffee (SHB) or Strictly High Grown Coffee (SHG)

In this article, you are going to learn the main difference between the two, and what are the factors that will let you grow either an SHB or an SHG type of coffee bean. Take note that all of the well-known coffee bean strains around the world are categorized using these two so then they can be grouped equally. This way, you will know which categories popular coffee bean types such as Arabica or Robusta go to, as the SHB and SHG beans can completely differentiate the strains despite the variety of their names in the market.

1. Strictly Hard Bean (SHB)

Strictly Hard Bean coffee, often known as SHB, is the type of coffee bean that often grows in locations that are situated at 3,900 feet. These beans strictly require high altitudes for them to grow well because it will yield beans that are not that entirely good once you do not meet the altitudes needed for their growth conditions. This is why there are a lot of coffee growers who often consider this as the harder type of coffee bean strain to grow, compared to SHG coffee beans.

Strictly Hard Bean (SHB)

As the name suggests, these beans are very hard to the touch once you harvest them, but it does not mean that they are still raw to be processed as coffee beans. It’s just that it is a hard type of bean, that’s it! When growing these, there are times when some of the coffee beans that you will get are still soft. Take note that these are not considered SHB coffee beans, but are called Cataula beans. These are byproducts of the SHB coffee beans and serve another purpose as they provide a different type of coffee bean quality.

Strictly Hard Bean variants are also known as the more expensive type of coffee bean not just because of their overall quality, but the way these are harvested. The SHB variants are exquisite for their quality in terms of taste, as they pack a decent aroma and a rich distinctive flavor that a lot consider as gourmet quality. That’s why some strains under this type are considered luxury items and are oftentimes regarded as rare coffee beans as well. Additionally, these coffee beans are often handpicked to get only the hard beans and never mix the softer ones, which adds more value to the coffee bean.

2. Strictly High Grown Coffee (SHG)

The Strictly High Grown Coffee, or the SHG, is known to be an expensive type of coffee bean because of its awesome quality, which is why this is still regarded as a popular coffee bean variant. These coffee beans are also handpicked depending on the growth conditions needed for the specific type of coffee bean under this variant.

Strictly High Grown Coffee (SHG)

The SHG coffee beans are known to grow in areas with extremely high altitudes only. This is why some of the rarest coffee beans are known to fall under the SHG category, and there are also times when enthusiasts see the SHG coffee bean classification as a luxury item right away. After all, the growth conditions needed for these coffee beans are strict, as you can only grow them in areas with altitudes that are above 4000 feet.

The higher elevation plays a huge factor in the growth of the coffee bean, which results in a yield that’s rich in flavor and health benefits. The higher elevations allow the coffee bean plant to develop slower, which also means that the nutrients it takes are more than the ones grown below. And since the rate of growth is slower, the coffee beans will take longer to harvest, which plays a huge factor as to why others are extremely expensive.

The Importance of Coffee Bean Density

As for the hardness of the softness of the coffee bean, it depends on the strain of coffee being produced by the plant. What’s important is how the coffee bean looks once it reaches its best quality when grown. All the factors mentioned above have played the reason why SHG coffee beans are sought-after in the market by enthusiasts, and why only a few can afford them.

As you can see, the two known classifications for the most premium coffee beans in the world require a lot of care, and making sure that the whole process is never hastened. This is the old way of doing things that you love, making sure that time plays a huge factor in ensuring the top quality that the whole world will surely notice!


SHB and SHG, though sometimes phrased differently, both refer to coffee cultivated at impressive heights. These “Strictly High Grown” beans, thriving above 4,000 feet, develop a denser character due to slower maturation. This translates to a more flavorful and sought-after cup, making high-altitude coffee a delicious discovery for any coffee enthusiast.

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Christophe Rude

Christophe Rude

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