Single Origin Vs. Blend Coffee (What Is Better And When?)

Coffee. It is a wake-me-upper, a first date, an I’m-thinking-of-you, a keep-on-going for a late-night shift, a final exams companion, and so much more. The single drink that over 64% of American adults drink.

Single origin coffee refers to exactly what it says in the name; it comes from a single origin. All the coffee beans in that one packet come from the same origin. Blended coffee comes from a few different sources. Coffee is packaged like that to cater to the different tastes and needs of consumers.

You may wonder what difference it makes; you simply enjoy a good coffee whenever you need it, and that is fine. But to some, enjoying a more refined taste is what they are after. 

single origin vs blend coffee

Single Origin Coffee Vs. Blend

Since single-origin coffee beans come from one origin, the coffee can be characterized by its unique and exotic taste cultivated by the conditions of the location or crop of origin. With single-origin coffee, the consumer can experience the exclusive taste at the purest it can be.

If you want a more original and unaltered flavor in your morning cup of coffee, then single-origin coffee is definitely the one for you. Single origin coffee boasts bold and exotic flavors and experiencing coffee in its purest form. 

Single origin coffee is often enjoyed without milk or sugar such as espresso so that one can truly taste the unique flavors and aromas it holds. 

If you are a coffee connoisseur, then you might be likely to enjoy a single origin cup of coffee over a cup of blended beans. 

As it says in the name, blends are coffee beans that come from different complimenting coffee beans. Since they do not all come from the same crops or the same region, they have their unique taste. 

Roasters create coffee blends in order to produce a unique flavor that combines qualities from different origins. They do this also to appeal to a greater audience, as not all people enjoy the more robust aroma of single-origin coffee. 

Coffee blends are often times roasted a bit darker than single origin coffee to create a blend with fewer surprising flavors than it initially has. For example, coffee beans with a strong acidity are not enjoyed by everyone. Roasting this darker, they can mellow down the strong acidity of the beans and pair it with a smoother Indonesian coffee. 

Is Single Origin Coffee Better Than Blend?

coffee farm - single origin coffee

There is genuinely no way to answer this without having a biased opinion. However, the pure taste of every single sip of single-origin coffee, being able to taste the difference from origin to origin and enjoy each in its unique way, is what I am after. 

But you get some fantastic blends out there where roasters have put together an exquisite blend of coffee beans that no single origin can compare. 

Many people also don’t like the harshness of a single-origin coffee’s taste, and a blend suits them better. 

This does not make a single origin better than a blend, or vice versa. Both coffee types offer a unique tasting experience to consumers as needed. 

Are Blends Better For Espresso?

espresso coffee

Asking whether single-origin or blends are better for espresso is like asking someone if they prefer a romantic symphony over a blazing sax solo, thanks to Serious Eats for the comparison. They do both have their place in the world. 

When you make an espresso, you highlight everything of the coffee bean with the high pressure and temperature going through the finely ground coffee. So, it will magnify every little taste of the coffee bean.

With single-origin beans, this might be too much to handle for some as an acidic bean might become quite sour and undrinkable. Or it might not. That’s why these things are tested and tried by baristas plenty of times before its available to consumers.

With a coffee blend, it is easier to make a smooth espresso of it, and any capable barista will be able to make a balanced and consistent espresso of it. However, you will find that the recipe for espresso blends is a state secret. Roasters have worked hard on those blends, and it won’t be easy to know what exactly is in them.

So, for espresso, it is easier to use a blend rather than a single-origin. However, single origin takes more skill and experience from a barista to make it taste good, and that by itself is the art of coffee.

How Do I Choose A Coffee Blend?

coffee beans grinder

To know which blend of coffee to choose, you would first have to look at what type of coffee maker or brewer you are using. Coffee is often mistaken as a one size fits all kind of thing, but it is not. 

Looking at what you are using to brew the coffee will significantly impact what you choose.

  • Espresso machine. If an espresso machine is what you are using at home, you would know by now that espressos really magnify every inch of the coffee, so it is good to choose an excellent medium to dark roast blend for this. You would also need finely grounded coffee for espressos.
  • French press. French press coffee goes well with medium to dark roast coffee. Single origin or a good blend is suitable for this. You would need a coarser grind for this so that the coffee ground stays within the mesh.
  • Cold-brew coffee. A good lightly roasted single-origin coffee bean with higher acidity is the best you can choose for cold brew coffee
  • Pour-over coffee. The fantastic thing about pour-over coffee is that it highlights the subtle flavors in coffee beans. You can use almost any type of single-origin bean. And it is ideal to use light roast beans as they are known for their complex flavors. 

It would help if you also recognized what you want from your coffee.

  • For a balanced, consistent coffee, a solid blend will be perfect. 
  • Single-origin is your bean go-to if you want to tase unique characteristics and compare different beans to one another. 
  • If you are a newbie at brewing, go for a blend that is easy to drink rather than a harsh acidic single origin. 
  • If you want to learn to taste more from each cup of coffee, single-origin will help you out the best to make you a true coffee connoisseur. 

If you are unsure about what coffee beans to buy, always know that you can never go wrong with buying beans from Africa, Hawaii, and South America. Try to get organic and sustainably grown beans. That way, you know that you are supporting an industry that is doing its bit in sustaining the earth. 

Conclusion

As mentioned above, single origin and blend coffee each have their place in the world. Many times, an easy-going blend is all I need at that moment. More than often, I crave a strong, flavorful single-origin espresso to give me courage for the day or the task ahead. 

So, the coffee you choose is dependent on your mood, what you want at that moment out of your cup of coffee. What will satisfy your palate, and what will soothe your soul at that time.