Single Origin Coffee Vs Blends: What’s The Difference

By | June 30, 2018

Let’s be real. Normal, regular coffee drinkers don’t pay a lot of mind to this characteristic. But you are no normal, regular coffee drinker and you do care where your beans came from. The thing is, though both sides have their detractors and their advocates, both coffee types have their blessings and their curses.

The real coffee aficionado should know these, not only to impress other coffee drinkers but to make an informed decision whenever the time comes. Sometimes you will think a single origin cup of coffee is what you need; other times, a blend. The variety of flavors available is almost limitless, and you will be glad you made the choice to open your mind (and your taste buds!).

Let’s take a look at some of the more general characteristics of each group. You draw your own conclusions, and trust me, you will not be disappointed.

What About Coffee Blends

As it may be easy to imagine, one of the strongest arguments against blends is that producers may use this as a strategy to “hide” poorer quality beans. This is why it is strongly advised to taste and try the different crops that make up one blend in order to be able to enjoy each type separately, which will also make you able to differentiate which characteristics each individual crop brings to the blend.

But blends are definitely not all about hiding and suspicion. Roasters who specialize in this area of coffee making are genuinely looking into giving the costumer the greatest flavor possible. By taking advantage of one bean’s body, another’s aroma and a third one’s flavor, roasters and baristas are able to offer their clients a unique blend that represents their particular style and can even be a signature for their specific coffee houses.

How About Single Origin Coffee

On the other hand, a strong critique that has been made against single origin beans is that they often lack one or even more characteristics that are wanted when looking for the ultimate cup of Joe.

As I said before, blends are used to counteract this flaw, but many coffee purists affirm that the beans are not to blame. Their argument, which I find is pretty coherent, states that this weakness can be attributed to people applying the same process to every bean without leaving room for experimenting and trial and error.

It is considered a fact by most coffee drinkers that every crop is different, so using the same exact brewing method for all seems a bit counterproductive. If you are brewing with a quality coffee grinder then it should be easy to change your grind and use a different coffee brewing method to maximize the beans potential.

Is One Better Than The Other

So I think it is safe to say that the best thing about blends is how customizable they are. You can adjust almost every aspect of your coffee by purchasing different beans and mixing and experimenting. Of course this is a recipe for many failed cups but I promise you the final result is priceless and you won’t be able to get it over the counter.

When it comes to single origin beans, their strongest suit is their honesty. You will be able to taste every little facet of the bean in a much purer way, and once you learn which method works best for a specific bean, you are set.

Personally, I don’t think one type of coffee is better than the other. I am a coffee fan and I acknowledge that specific blends adjust better to specific needs but I can appreciate all the different little characteristics that come up when tasting a single origin cup of coffee. What is true, though, is how different both styles are, but I see that as an advantage rather than a competition. If you open your mind a bit, you will find that what you have been missing is much better and richer than whatever prejudice was holding you back.

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Single Origin vs Blend Coffee: whats the difference

Before, it’s easy to drink coffee. When you say brewed coffee, the only options are black, with cream, with sugar or cream and sugar. Today, with gourmet coffee shops and specialty coffee stores, coffee drinkers have become more aware with the wide variety and countless options of coffee available in the market today.

Farmers are growing better crops and discovering unique ways to infuse flavor to their coffee trees. Coffee roasters are improving and refining their craft.

According to reports, the specialty coffee industry dominates the largest portion in North American coffee industry.

With patrons yearning for better quality coffee, the rise of single origin coffee comes to the forefront.

We did not even know that such a thing called single origin coffee exists. But now, it is very popular and others prefer single origin than blend coffee.

Still, blend coffee is improving. There are more options now and the possibilities with blend coffee are endless.

Now, many people ask, which is better between single origin and blend coffee?

Let’s take a look at the characteristics of each.

What is single origin coffee?

Farmers and coffee roasters believe that no single coffee is the same. Each region where coffee comes from shapes the final output of the coffee beans. The geographical location and climate contributes to the flavor, taste and aroma of coffee. Just imagine how fun it would be to try and taste the different types of single origin coffee and compare its unique features.

Single origin coffee can also spice up the menu of any gourmet coffee shop. Patrons can try different flavors every day and pick out the single origin coffee they love the most.

Single origin coffee also come in seasons. Harvest time are different and it adds to the unique characteristics of single origin coffee.

Central American coffee origin: Coffee from this part of the world is known for its fruity note and hint of cocoa. Coffee from Guatemala has a distinct apple-like acidity while Mexico coffee leaves a cherry-like tartness.

South American coffee origin: The region enjoys a warm and cool climate and a fertile soil that also sustains production of nuts, cocoa, and spices. These characteristics contribute to its coffee’s sweet and nutty undertones.

Sumatran coffee: This coffee has a deep, earthy taste due to its dark roasting process. It has a savory aroma and a cocoa undertone.

Kenyan coffee: This coffee is dark, bold and strong.

Kona coffee: This coffee only grows in the Kona Coffee Belt region in Big Island Hawaii.

What is blend coffee?

Simply put, blend coffee is a combination of different coffee bean crops. One good example is Kona blend. It contains 10% pure Kona beans and 90% other coffee beans.

Some of the most popular blend coffee are combination of any of the following: Ethiopian, Mexican, Bolivian and Columbian. Coffee beans from different farms are blended together to create a unique coffee blend.

One of the most popular coffee blend is the Mocha-Java. Mocha beans come from Yemen and paired with Java beans from Indonesia. Dutch traders experimented these two beans because it was the only commercially traded coffee at the time.

This Mocha-Java blend was popular for centuries. Unfortunately, civil unrest in Yemen destabilized the economy and affected the trading of Mocha beans.

Why do roasters blend coffee?

Blend coffee is an art in itself. Coffee roasters identify coffee beans that are suited for blending and it can yield a good combination that will be popular among coffee drinkers. Here are the reasons why roasters make blend coffee:

  1. Blend coffee makes a consistent product. Instead of selling 1000 pounds of 5 different beans, roasters can make 5000 pounds of one blend. This makes distribution easier and reduces risk of reject coffee beans because it tastes different from the others.
  2. Blend coffee balances flavor. For example, Guatemalan coffee has a bright apple-like acidity that many coffee drinkers love, but others hate. A Guatemalan coffee roaster who wants to reach a wider audience would blend this with Indonesian coffee, which has a mellower and lighter taste.
  3. Blend coffee makes better espresso. Achieving the right espresso blend is difficult. But the art of blending coffee beans help achieve that. That’s why you see espresso blend being sold in the market today.

Single origin or blend coffee: what’s your choice?

The matter of choosing between single origin and blend coffee is highly subjective. Just like with everything else related to coffee. Coffee drinking is a matter of personal preference, style. What tastes good for me, may not always be your cup of coffee. But if you insist on choosing which one is which, this short guide may help you:

Choose blend coffee if:

  • You want a well-rounded coffee, with consistent taste and you can enjoy for a longer period of time
  • You are just beginning to enjoy coffee drinking and you want a simple, straightforward type of coffee, nothing fancy or surprising undernotes
  • You want an affordable variety of coffee that you can enjoy

Choose single origin if:

  • You want to compare and explore the different unique characteristics of different coffee
  • You want to try newer, more exciting flavors like strawberry, jasmine or even spicy coffee, single origin can give you more variations
  • You have money to spend on Kona coffee, one of the most favorite single origin coffee today

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