The Battle Between Blends Vs. Single-Origin CoffeesHere at the Well, one of our most favorite things is coffee education. When you love something, you just have to share it and get people to understand why it's so special. One thing we see time and again in our cafes is a misunderstanding of blends vs. single-origin coffees. It's a simple enough difference, but we wanted to dive a little deeper on what we use, why we would or wouldn't blend coffees and what you should be on the lookout for when you're out and about.
What’s the difference between a blend and single-origin?Let's start off with the basic question: what’s the difference? A blend refers to a coffee that has two different types of roast profiles and/or origins represented. Fun fact: you can (and we have) blended a coffee with itself to create new flavors. For example, this past year we blended two DIFFERENT roast profiles or the SAME Sumatran coffee to create our Christmas Blend. A single origin coffee is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a stand alone coffee that isn't blended and only hails from one origin.
Why would you blend a coffee?So why would you blend a coffee? There are many reasons, but the most common reason is that some coffees have one dominant flavor that creates an imbalance in taste, which can be offset or enhanced by combining with another coffee. The coffee we use for our BlueNote has a huge blueberry flavor, but to create balance, we will blend it with other coffees that have a more pronounced chocolate flavor. This creates a flavor profile that can be reliably sourced all year despite which specific coffee regions are in season. Single Origin coffees are either a big hit or a big flop. Since they stand alone, they can offer a truly unique flavor experience. Typically your higher end coffees stay single origin because adding more coffees will muddy up the complexity that already exists.
What’s the best way to brew single origins and blends?We use both of these methods in our stores, but they will differ depending on the use case.
- For pour-overs, which display coffees in their truest light, we tend to stick to single origin coffees. We want to fully display what a coffee can taste like.
- For espresso, it really depends. Some single origin coffees pair incredibly well with milk, but generally, blends are incredibly consistent and reliable, which is a high priority for espresso drinks - especially when paired with our seasonal flavors.
- For drip, we like to offer both. We usually have at least one of each on drip and let the customer decide their own journey.
Cheers to good coffee.