In today’s we are going to talk about blend coffees. A trend that perhaps not many buyers take seriously (most of us take the first packaged coffee we see in the store; or even worse, the cheapest) but that opens up an infinite universe of possibilities, flavours and nuances around our favourite drink.
It is true that in most general stores and large food chains, it is not easy to find blend coffee, but we will do our bit to make them better known. After all, you can always buy your blend coffee on Amazon.
Designing and roasting coffee blends is not an easy task. You must have experience, know the product well, know what types of coffees combine well with others, what roast each particular coffee needs, master concepts such as density or variety of cafes, and so on.
In general, this is not something we can do at home with a conventional coffee roaster unless we are professionals in the sector or very experienced amateurs in this art. Of course, we will also need to have our coffee roaster.
What do we mean by blended coffee or coffee blend?
Blend coffee is the opposite of origin coffee, and its composition consists of several origins (several types of beans from different origins) mixed in a particular proportion. It is where the name “blend” comes from.
Let’s see it with some examples:
An origin coffee can be coffee from Brazil, Honduras, Ethiopia or Colombia. These grains can be harvested in different regions; then, each roaster will apply his personal touch when roasting them, and so on. But they all come from the same denomination of origin.
A blended coffee, on the other hand, contains beans from different origins. For example, a brand can test by blending and roasting coffee from three different origins, one at 50%, another at 30% and a third at 20% of the total blend. For this reason, each blended coffee has an aroma and nuances that are particular and characteristic of the brand that markets them.
Likewise, coffee roasting brands usually produce and market not one but several different blends. For example, a breakfast coffee will admit a softer blend to be drunk in large quantities, while a more robust blend may be aimed at a public with a different, more demanding profile.
For example, when we talk about the strongest coffees in the world, these are achieved by experimenting with different blends and roasting parameters. The varieties are infinite!
Another detail that usually goes unnoticed is that coffee blends are not exclusive to coffee beans. They can also be marketed in capsule or ground coffee formats.
Which is better, blend or natural coffee?
Blended coffee allows brands to have a unique profile and proposal, different from those of their competitors, and also allows them to meet specific consumer demand. But above all, they will enable the roaster, or the professional who markets them, to have a smooth taste throughout the year, without depending on the specific crops of each country of origin.
Single-origin coffees are always going to be more accessible and will always have a market share for the simple reason that consumers already know what they are going to find when they try them.
But in the end, they offer entirely different experiences, and we cannot say on paper that blended coffee is better than natural coffee, nor vice versa.
If the blend is well made, Blend coffee should be able to surpass the taste and characteristics offered separately by the origin coffees that make it up. Of course, that already depends on the balance and the right skills of the master roaster.
The golden rules for making a coffee blend at home
If we want to create a good coffee blend at home, there are specific standard rules that are usually never skipped, with some exceptions. We are going to give just a few notes:
- A maximum of five different coffees should be used for the blend. Three or four is an ideal number.
- Each coffee should have a presence of at least 10% in the final blend. Below that figure, its appearance will hardly be noticed.
- A coffee blend should have sweet notes as a base, high or acidic notes (in less proportion), and of course, a medium palate that does not go unnoticed. A good starting point is to combine origins that meet each of these three flavour profiles.
Post-blend and pre-blend coffees
It often goes unnoticed by the end consumer, but there are two different ways to create blended coffees: pre-blend and post-blend.
Pre-blend coffees are made by mixing all the green coffee beans before roasting and then roasting them together.
The post-blend coffees are roasted separately for each origin and then blended in the desired proportion after roasting.
Each has its advantages and its challenges or difficulties for the roaster, so there is no one better than another. It’s a matter of preference and skill.
Some of the best blends on the market
It is impossible to make an objective list of the best-blended coffees on the market because the variety is immense. Besides, each brand brings its characteristics and different proposals. It is more a question of the taste that each consumer has. However, we can select a set -more or less- of blends that enjoy excellent press in the market and among lovers of good speciality coffee.
You have to read the specifications and compositions of each blend carefully to know what you are going to find before buying it.
For example, Brown Bear’s Breakfast Blend is a “well-balanced coffee with malt and nut nuances”. Or the prestigious Black Blend of Cafés Guilis blends up to 5 different origins of Arabica beans from Central America, South America and Africa.