Types of Coffee: What is a Blend? March 05 2014

Blended Coffees

When you think of a blended coffee, think “just a great cup of coffee.” The main difference between blended and single origin coffee is simply that the former comprises a mix of the latter. That is, blends take on the distinct flavor notes and characteristics of distinct single origin coffees and strike a balance of flavor and consistency.

Blends are most often characterized by roast level such as: light, medium, dark or extra dark. When you see a coffee label and read Morning Blend, French Roast or Italian Roast, the nomenclature refers to the coffee’s roast level, or darkness. It’s sort of like "rare" versus "well done" when describing a steak.

One common misconception is that darker, “stronger tasting” coffee contains more caffeine. But in actuality, roast level is unrelated to a coffee's caffeine content. The reason for this is that caffeine molecules in coffee break down the longer the bean is exposed to heat. Thus it's the lighter roasts that tend to pack the most buzz!

The coffee roast level gradient illustrated. (Credit: Sweet Marias)

The coffee roast level gradient illustrated. (Credit: Sweet Marias)

Blends comprise our flagship coffees. Their complexity and character lies in the artistic approach to creating a cup that is balanced and consistent year round. We combine a sweet coffee, a bright coffee, and an earthy coffee to create balance. Blending is creative and fun, but also labor intensive, and must be intelligently coordinated with green coffee supplies. What makes blending fun for us is that we’re given the freedom to express our own, unique style.

So next time your sipping a fresh cup of Desert Sun Black Velvet or Southwest Morning, note the varying complexity and flavor that makes each blend its own, and hopefully you'll be able to appreciate them all!