Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Barry Gray
One thing I am extremely happy about is the increase in popularity of coffee. It seems people have taken more of an interest in different options regarding coffee, and there’s a desire to learn more and to then be able to enjoy it in various ways.
That is why I feel it’s crucial for me to help educate you on various terms, and one term I want to discuss is the humble coffee blend. I think once you get to understand more about this blend concept, then you will see how the world of coffee has opened up before you, and that’s not a bad thing.
A coffee blend is when you have coffee that incorporates different beans from different locations. However, it can also mean beans from different parts of the same farm, so it need not even be a different country or even a different town. Different stores will create a blend to achieve a taste and aroma they enjoy, making their coffee blend unique.
Basically, a blend allows you to experiment to a certain extent. Still, it’s also pretty stressful as you must know more about the different beans and flavors to get something that’s tasty at the end.
But don’t worry about that right now. I plan on providing you with everything you need to know about a coffee blend, and it will only take a couple of minutes.
The Basic Concept of a Coffee Blend
One thing I do love about a coffee blend is the way you have so many options available to you. Take my recent purchase of the Dolce Gusto Americano Intenso pods.
Also, their growing conditions will be different, and the taste of those individual beans are then selected to create this blend.
But as I said earlier, it doesn’t even have to involve you covering various countries. You can have beans from different farms within the same region or even different parts of the same farm.
Why Make a Coffee Blend?
I know this sounds like a lot of work with combining different beans from different places, so why do it in the first place? Well, I see it as coming down to one thing: flavor.
Coffee beans grown in different locations and climates can have different flavors. A brand can then look at creating a blend that utilizes the best aspects of different beans, resulting in a smoother, more flavorful coffee at the end.
What’s the Main Aim?
The problem with so many coffee beans is they can come across as somewhat bitter, especially if something has gone wrong with the roasting process. The issue of beans being too bitter can cause problems for a brand, so the aim of a coffee blend is to counteract this.
The main aim is to create a blend that is smooth and well-balanced. You achieve this by having a clear understanding of what different beans have to offer and then using the positive aspects of one bean to counteract the negative aspects of another.
What’s the Advantage of a Coffee Blend Over a Single Origin?
Aside from a coffee blend, the other option available is a single origin coffee. That, as the name suggests, means you have one set of beans from the one single location.
But the problem with beans of a single origin is precisely what I mentioned above. You have nothing to counteract the poorer side of the beans or the flavor profiles that are perhaps not as tasty as you would like.
With a coffee blend, you have no such problem.
But that’s not all.
One thing I’ve found with a coffee blend is it’s consistent in what it offers. You know exactly what to expect from the taste, and it’s never going to let you down.
Choosing the Flavor and Consistency
During my time of drinking coffee, I’ve encountered some beans that are just disgusting. I’ll be honest; I’ve had some coffee blends that are also disgusting.
I remember one blend I bought that came with a description of it having floral and fruity notes. It sounded pretty good, but that wasn’t what transpired.
Honestly, it produced a coffee that was more like drinking perfume. I have no idea what they did to it, but I even threw the bag out as it was something that could not be saved.
So, why am I telling you this? Well, it’s all about the flavor, and this is where a coffee blend can excel.
You see, coffee shops use blends because they know what to expect from the espresso they will make, no matter if it’s for a latte or an Americano. That’s huge, but there’s no reason why you cannot go ahead and make your own coffee blend.
But I’ve discovered a cool thing: coffee shops can have more than one blend.
The reason why they have several blends is because the flavor profiles have been designed to enhance whatever liquid is being used to make the drink. When you think about it, this is an excellent idea, as water and milk can each bring different things out of the coffee.
So, it’s not unusual for coffee shops to use a certain coffee for milk-based drinks and a different coffee blend for water drinks.
The Problem with Single Origin
While single origin has its place, it does come with issues. While I’ve already mentioned the flavor issue, there’s also another problem, and it’s the short window where the coffee can actually taste pretty good.
This idea of perfect extraction is complex with single origin coffee. Perfect extraction involves several things.
First, you have the beans used in the coffee. Then, you have the perfect temperature for brewing, and even ensuring the correct level of water is poured through the ground coffee beans and the time it takes has an impact.
If you get one aspect of this wrong, the end result can be coffee that’s not actually that tasty. However, a coffee blend allows you to make these mistakes, and the coffee will still be quite impressive at the end.
That’s why coffee shops often use a coffee blend. It means the barista can make slight errors, and the coffee is still fantastic at the end.
When Would You Use a Single Origin Coffee?
I know this is supposed to be all about a coffee blend. Still, I’ve made single origin coffee sound horrible, but that’s not actually the case.
For me, single origin coffee is best used for certain brewing methods. A Pour-Over is a perfect example of where a single origin works well. That brewing method is designed to allow distinct flavors from beans to emerge, so a coffee blend would be a bit of a let down in that instance.
I see single origin coffee as being the thing you need to use when you wish to experiment. It’s the only way you will really manage to get to grips with the flavor and know if it’s a bean you can actually drink.
But there is something else I love about a single origin coffee. It does let you pick out individual flavors that would be swamped when mixed with other beans.
You get roasts from various countries where a bean will offer hints of cherry, blueberry, and chocolate; the list is endless. If you love trying to pick out these flavors, it’s only something you will achieve with a single origin.
The Impact of Drinks with Coffee Beans
I mentioned this earlier regarding coffee shops and how they can have different blends depending on the drink. Well, this is really important, so I need to say it again and in a bit more detail.
Milk contains fats and protein, and they will both change the flavor of the beans. The natural sugars in milk will also help to sweeten coffee, so it can take the edge off some bitter roasts.
But milk also manages to enhance how your mouth perceives the coffee. It makes it far more pleasant.
Water-based coffee drinks, such as an Americano, don’t have the ability to change things around. It cannot take the bitter edge off the beans, so if you are worried about that, then the sensible thing is to use a coffee blend that’s not as bitter.
Basically, I think I’m telling you to have more than one coffee blend at home if you are serious about enjoying a range of coffee drinks.
Recap About Coffee Blends
I feel I’ve covered a number of points regarding coffee blends, so let’s do a quick recap of the crucial points everyone should know about.
- A coffee blend involves more than one bean from more than one location.
- It can include beans from different countries, towns, or even parts of the same coffee grower.
- It allows you to play around with the flavor.
- It can be used to eliminate the poorer flavors in beans.
- Coffee shops can have more than one blend.
- It produces a consistent coffee no matter the drink.
- Single origin coffee is better when experimenting with flavors.
- But the window for producing the perfect coffee is smaller with a single origin.
Coffee blends are amazing, but you do need to have a good idea of what you like from coffee in order to then make your own. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but with so many fantastic blends out there, it’s not really necessary.
Don’t be put off by the idea of a coffee blend. It’s way more common than you realize. Your jar of instant coffee is probably a coffee blend. I’d be surprised if that wasn’t the case, and you enjoy it without even thinking about it.
Creating a coffee blend is an art. It has to bring together the tastiest aspects of different beans and balance them out to create an amazing coffee at the end. I highly recommend checking them out, but if you plan on making your own just remember it’s not the easiest thing to do.