When you find yourself looking for a good cup of coffee, you’ll find that coffee blends are everywhere. No matter if you visit a grocery store or your local coffee shop, coffee blends are the in thing. Although specialty coffee like single-origin has a growing interest, coffee blends are the staple that we’ve come to know.
But what do you really know about coffee blends? Although it’s a favorite among coffee drinkers, there is still some mystery around the making of blends. From instant coffee to quality Espresso, as well as the various flavors of coffee, blends are in nearly everything.
Creating A Great Coffee Blend
Coffee blends are created by mixing or combining coffee together from at least two different origins. When deciding what coffee beans to combine together, there are a few things that first must be considered. Among the top things that producers consider when creating blends of coffee are balance, acidity, smoothness, body, and most importantly, flavor.
The concept of coffee blends is to take the best qualities of the various coffee beans to produce a well-balanced blend. Single-origin coffee on the other hand highlights the unique and distinctive qualities from the region where it grows. The balance of coffee blends makes them great for either drinking by themselves or by adding milk to them.
Picking The Right Bean For Coffee Blends
When shopping for coffee beans in your local grocery store, some may be unaware that there is more than one type of coffee bean. Typically in the U.S., the main two types of coffee that you see on store shelves are Arabica and Robusta. There are other types of coffee as well however arabica and robusta continue to have market dominance.
Robusta Coffee Beans
Robusta is a very tolerant and robust type of coffee much like its name implies. It is capable of growing and thriving in a wide range of altitudes. One of the main qualities that set robusta apart from arabica coffee is the amount of caffeine contained in the beans.
When compared with Arabica coffee beans, Robusta has almost double the amount of caffeine. A lot of times robusta is used to make instant coffee as well as espresso-based beverages. Typically robusta coffee is stronger, inexpensive, and bitter. Its bitterness makes it an excellent match for cream and sugar
Arabica Coffee Beans
Arabica coffee beans account for over 60% of the word’s production of coffee. It is widely the most common and popular type of coffee. Even though it contains less caffeine content, it is less bitter than robusta. In fact, the flavor of arabica is a bit more complex, even sweet at times, making it easier to drink for a lot of coffee enthusiasts.
It’s not uncommon for coffee drinkers to drink Arabica coffee black without milk or cream. The sweetness of the Arabica coffee bean versus Robusta is much more prevalent. Despite being the majority type of coffee that producers grow, it is one of the more delicate types to grow
Other Beans Used In Coffee Blends
Arabica and Robusta remain the most popular choice for coffee bean production, however, they are not the only beans. Although harder to come by, Liberica Coffee beans are another source of beans for blends. Favorable regions in the Phillippines are where most producers cultivate this particular coffee bean.
This specific strain played a crucial role in history during the 1800s. While disease devastated over 90% of the world’s Arabica supply, Liberica helped to fill the demand. Liberica is the only bean in the world that has an irregular shape in addition to having a unique aroma. If trying Liberica for the first time you can expect a full body with a smokey taste and fruity notes.
Excelsa is another type of coffee bean, although it’s in the same family as Liberica. Overall, Excelsa accounts for around 7% of the world’s coffee supply and is used mostly in coffee blends. Excelsa possesses qualities of both light and dark roasts, which makes it more tempting to experience for many people.
There are even still other coffee bean types and varieties that producers use to create coffee blends, however, these are the main types.
Benefits of Blending Coffee
There are a number of benefits and reasons why you might want to blend coffee from different regions. Sometimes for producers, they blend different beans together to help with the overall cost. It could prove more financially beneficial for them to not buy solely from a single farm or co-op.
Most often the reason for producing a coffee blend is to create coffee with consistent quality that has a good balance. In order to create the perfect balance and blend of coffee, the percentage of beans from a single origin are crucial to the overall blend. As each coffee variety has its own flavor profile, by combining different beans producers are able to create a multitude of unique flavor profiles for their coffee blends.
In addition, by blending different types of coffee beans producers are able to make certain flavor qualities stand out. Things like how full the body is, bitterness, acidity, sweetness, and smoothness can all be changed depending on the blend. This level of control gives coffee blends a huge advantage over single-origin in regards to coffee balance and drinkability.
Roasting Beans For Coffee Blends
When you compare types of coffee a lot of times you may notice that the beans from the coffee blends are darker than those of single-origin. Typically the roasting process of coffee beans is a very delicate process. It is one of the most important steps to creating a great cup of coffee. Roasting is what brings out the flavor and aroma of coffee
Naturally, when coffee is first picked, it is green, spongy, and can smell a bit grassy. While in this fresh form, the coffee can be stored for prolonged periods of time without degrading in quality. Although the quality is still there, you won’t find any of the normal traditional characteristics of brewed coffee while the bean is in this state.
By roasting the green coffee beans, the heating process causes a chemical reaction within the bean. The beans are rapidly heated up to an optimal range and then quickly cooled to prevent the chemical process from continuing.
The roasting results in brown coffee beans that are crunchy and smell like coffee. At this point, the beans are ready for grinding and brewing. Click here to find best and most affordable coffee grinders.
The sooner the beans are used after the roasting process, the higher the quality in smell and flavor is going to be. Ideally, coffee should be ground 3 – 7 days after roasting and consumed within 2 weeks for the best quality.
Types of Roasts
According to the NCA, or National Coffee Association USA, when it comes to roasting coffee, traditionally there are 4 levels, light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roasts. Each level carries with it its own set of flavor characteristics. While single-origin usually prefer a light to medium roast, coffee blends usually come with a medium to dark roast.
The darker the roast, the more you will experience bitterness and less sweet flavoring from the bean. Here in the U.S. the preferred level of roast for coffee blends is medium, or sometimes called American roast. Medium roast for coffee blends has a good balance as well as a stronger flavor than light roasts. They are also not as bitter as some of the darker roasts.
Finding Your Perfect Coffee Blend
Everyone has their personal preference when it comes to the taste of a cup of coffee. Although there are literally hundreds of different coffee blend flavor profiles that you can try, only you know what you specifically like. For those coffee drinkers who enjoy a dark, rich cup of coffee, espresso blends are a great choice. However, for those wanting something with a full-body, great flavor, and rich chocolate color, a traditional blend will work great
A staple blend in the coffee drinkers community is the classic espresso blend. There are a lot of things that go into a great cup of espresso. Experiencing a good espresso blend goes beyond having a great aroma and a full body. Great balance and structure are just as important for a quality Classic Espresso Blend. Featuring flavor profiles of brown sugar and even dark chocolate, this blend has great balance with an excellent finish. For espresso lovers, this the perfect blend to add to your morning routine.
For those who prefer a medium roast, there are a number of quality coffee blends that are available these days. A lot of popular coffee blends range from medium to dark roast and have distinctive flavor profiles. Dusty’s Blend is one such blend that is available either as a medium or dark roast. This premium coffee is a blend created from quality coffee beans from Brazil, Honduras, and Tanzania. The blend has a distinctive flavor with profiles of dark chocolate, molasses, and dried berries. The end result is a delicious and delectable cup of coffee that every coffee lover should try.
By combining different coffee beans from different regions, producers are able to create coffee blends with just about any flavor profile. Not only does this help the supply of coffee but also the coffee drinking experience. From light to dark roast, the best qualities of each bean varietal shines bright in a quality coffee blend. With enough variety to please the most particular tastes, coffee blends have forever found a place in our hearts and mugs.