Single Origin Coffee versus Blends: What You Need to Know.
In the simplest sense of the term, blended coffees combine beans from different regions and countries to create unique or “custom” combinations of flavor, acidity, and body while single origins come from a single farm or cooperative. Whether created by accident or by desire, some blends create a flavor profile that many single-origin coffees can rarely match.
But we all have different tastes and preferences. And one of the great things about coffee is that you can prepare it whichever way you like best!
For those of you who are curious about the different categories of coffee available to you commercially, read on to find out more!
Specialty coffee is divided into two categories, single origin and blended coffees. The category of specialty coffee itself is currently the most popular segment of the coffee industry! Choosing a roast level, coffee blend, acidity, and even the flavors of your coffee is much more flexible these days. If you are just beginning your coffee adventure, it might feel overwhelming.
You need not worry though, as we have spent years studying coffee, and have created and curated many amazing flavors for you. Read on to learn which type of coffee could be right for you.
About Single Origin Coffee
Single origin beans, as the name suggests, come from a single place. Usually this place is either a country or a region of a country, like Brazil, or the Jamacian Blue mountains. This means that the beans were harvested in this region.
Because of the nature of the growing seasons in these different regions, single origin coffee tends to only be available seasonally, depending when each country or region conducts their harvests. This is because the coffee comes from only one source, so it would be impossible to substitute a single-origin for another type of coffee if it is literally not available.
These types of coffees tend to be considered exotic/unique because they are more rare and their characteristics and flavor profiles are specific to each geographical region. Think of it like wine ─ a Chianti is only available from the Chianti region in Italy. Other wines may have similar flavor profiles or be a “Chianti-like” wine, but they are not the same as the real thing.
Among the many advantages of single origin coffee is the chance to experience a more pure taste, as their aromas and acidity often taste better than mellowed and balanced blends.
Pro Tip: Single origin coffees tend to offer a unique experience because, as with different “vintages” of wine, no two batches will taste the same.
About Blended Coffee
Coffee blends are consumed more than any other type of coffee! These include multiple beans from different origins, which creates a flavor of combined features. They are usually more consistent in taste because they are mixed and manufactured in larger batches.
In addition, blends tend to be more approachable in general and have softer flavors. Blends are produced when different beans are mixed together into a single concoction. Just imagining the mouthfeel, smell and taste notes of many types of beans together can be very appealing for many coffee drinkers.
If you are looking for a well-rounded and consistent-tasting cuppa Joe, chances are you will prefer blended beans!
The Main Differences Between Single Origin and Blends
These 3 characteristics make the single origins unique, and the blends, well-balanced:
- Their Flavor Profile
- The Level of “Purity”
- Consistency is Key
Read on to learn exactly how each characteristic impacts a single origin coffee versus a blended bag of beans.
- Their Flavor Profile
The flavor profile of a single origin coffee is the most original, while the flavors of a coffee blend are cultivated by combining different beans. So, a single origin coffee has the boldest and most robust taste, while a blended specialty coffee is balanced by combining different beans that complement one another.
As we mentioned, if you’re looking for a unique experience, go single origin. If you’re looking for consistency and more muted, go blended.
2. The Level of “Purity”
Single origin coffee beans are most well-known for their purity and high quality, though they may not blend as well with milk-based beverages. Coffee blends, however, are composed of several kinds of coffee beans that are blended and more neutral, pairing well with dairy or dairy-alternatives. So, stick to blends for your lattes and cappuccinos, and use single origins for your Americanos, espresso shots, and black filtered coffee.
3. Consistency is Key
The taste of single origin coffees will vary based on seasonal conditions. The difference between different batches will be more evident based on when the beans were harvested. Whereas, a coffee blend that is mellowed due to a complex combination of beans may be more difficult to differentiate.
As with wines, people have good “years” for single origin coffee beans. If a particular location faces some unique weather or other factors that could influence the taste of the bean, it will be more apparent than with blended coffee.
For those interested in experiencing the exotic flavors and unique characteristics of coffee from all over the world, single origin coffee may be the best choice.
For beginners, a well-balanced solid blend of coffee can be a great choice! These coffees tend to be more approachable to the beginner palette and offer a well-rounded flavor profile.
The right choice for each individual still depends on their tastes and preferences. If you are still uncertain, buy a bag of each and conduct your own coffee taste test! Just be careful not to drink too much 😉