If you’re new to brewing coffee, and exploring the different types of coffee available, single origin coffee versus coffee blends might be a topic you’re curious about. While single origin coffee is certainly having its day in the sun right now, blended coffees are still the most widely consumed by coffee drinkers. So, what is the difference between single origin and a coffee blend? Which is right for you? Grab your cup, and let’s dig in.
What Is Single Origin Coffee?
Single origin coffee is coffee that is sourced from a specific country. The unique, exotic characteristics of the tasting notes of single origin coffees are tied to their geographical location.
Many coffee drinkers enjoy experimenting with different single origin coffees to experience the variety of the flavor profiles in their purest form. The vibrant and diverse flavors of single origin coffees often vary depending on which specific location out of hundreds of subregions in each origin—these beans are grown.
What Are Coffee Blends?
Coffee blends are created using coffee beans from various origins. Sometimes they are created by blending beans from the same continent, like a blend from Colombia and Brazil. Other times they are created by blending beans from around the world, like a blend that combines coffee from Indonesia, Africa, and South America.
The primary goal of a blend is to achieve a specific taste profile that resonates with the consumer and then maintain that profile from season to season. For example, most Breakfast Blends are typically milder and smoother, while Espresso Blends are more full bodied with a broader range of tasting notes. As a result, actual percentages of each origin coffee going into a blend may vary from year to year.
Because of their varied origins, coffee blends have combined flavor features. Experienced RoastmastersRoast Masters know that by carefully combining coffees from certain origins, it is possible to achieve a taste profile that is not present or is very muted in the individual origins. For example, our Signature Blend has aromas of dry cherry that is not detectable in any of its components.
History Of Coffee Blends
All coffee was single origin until coffee crops began to be commercially traded. The Mocha coffee beans from Yemen and the Java beans from Indonesia were the first commercially traded coffee bean crops. Hence, it is widely believed that the Mocha-Java coffee blend was the first coffee blend to be enjoyed by coffee drinkers. Popular for centuries, it is now quite scarce due to limited availability of the Mocha beans from Yemen.
Early European coffeehouses used coffee blends to fuel a widespread surge in coffee popularity prior to World War 2. Then, World War 2 created a scarcity of green coffee. This led to a rise in espresso—which had been invented in the 1880’s. Coffee roasters discovered that blending more readily available high caffeine Robusta beans from Africa with higher-quality beans from Brazil (using the high-pressure extraction method of espresso-making) could produce a tasty coffee beverage. Today, coffee blends are still ideal for espresso, and many roasters sell a blend specifically for making espresso and maintaining consistency across brews at home and at cafes.
Is Single Origin Or Blended Coffee Best For You?
There is no right or wrong answer to which type of coffee is best for you! It all comes down to what you prefer in your cup and what you desire from your coffee experience.
If you’re new to drinking coffee, blends might be the better entry point as they have a consistent cup. Blends might help you refine your brewing craft: brewing methods, times, amount or temperature of your brewing water, if you need to change the coarseness of your grind, etc. . And, as we mentioned, coffee blends are ideal for espresso. So if you’re an espresso drinker, blends may be your best choice. Finally, blends are a fantastic way to experience the creativity of professional roasters who artfully combine multiple flavor profiles, from various regions, for a delicious and unique cup of coffee.
Single origin coffee beans are a great choice if you have an established brewing routine and are looking to explore and learn more about the origins of your coffee’s flavor notes. And single origin coffees offer a certain storytelling experience: they speak about the land where the coffee comes from. So, they are a great way to connect with regions all around the world and compare the different coffee offerings they provide.