Coffee comes from many regions around the world. After it is grown, harvested, and processed, it is shipped to the roaster, roasted, then shipped to coffee shops or stores. If you’re drinking coffee in a café, then it was ground, brewed, cupped, and served to you. There’s two major categories of coffee served in cafés: coffee blends, and single-origin. This post will discuss what coffee blends are and why they exist.
There’s two major categories of coffee served in cafés: coffee blends, and single-origin.
This sounds great and for the story of most coffees, it ends right there. One coffee from one region, processed one way and roasted one way (called “single origin coffee”). However, that is not the case for all coffees. Many are blends of beans grown and harvested in different regions and/or countries. They might also go through different processing methods. These coffees are called “blends”. Similar to how wine from different regions or grapes can be blended to produce a new drink.
Why you ask? Well, there are many different reasons for blending coffee. Most of the time it comes down to finding the perfect mix of flavors that go well together to make a well-balanced cup of coffee. A bean from El Salvador may have some great honey notes while an Ethiopian has a strong cherry flavor. Two great flavors that come out distinctly in each coffee bean. When coffees from different origins are blended and roasted together, they produce a unique mix of delicious flavors. This is a simplified example, but I hope it gets the point across.
When coffees from different origins are blended and roasted together, they produce a unique mix of delicious flavors.
One main use for coffee blends is for daily brew. Often Brazilian and Columbian coffee beans will be blended to make a drip coffee that tastes close to what we might consider ‘traditional coffee’ taste. It doesn’t have to taste bad! Bad coffee tastes bad and bad coffee sucks! These ‘traditional coffee’ flavors could be caramel, nuttiness, earthiness, etc. But that doesn’t mean it tastes bitter and weak!
Single origin coffees see the spotlight of daily brew less often because their unique flavor notes are very forward and pronounced. While I would love the Kenyan light roast with hints of lavender, it’s something I want to be special, not drink every day!
What do you think? Do you pay attention to if you’re drinking a coffee blend or single-origin?