Single Origin or Blend? What is behind the terms? An explanation!
A little journey into the world of coffee that will make you look like a pro in no time at all the next time you talk to the barista at the coffee shop around the corner.
You've probably read one of the two terms Single Origin or Blend on your coffee packaging before. In the following article, we'll explain that these are basically just terms for varietal purity and blend, and what exactly they mean.
Table of contents
Single Origin Coffee
Single origin coffees, or simply singles for short, are coffees in which the beans come from one and the same growing region. They may not be mixed with other types of coffee or growing regions. Single origin coffees are very much in vogue. The desire for single-origin coffees that have unique flavor characteristics is growing in the specialty coffee world. Single Origins are usually roasted lighter, as this allows the pure aroma and fruity flavor notes, such as peach, berries or stone fruit, to come out particularly well.
We've named our singles after their main flavor to help you get started in this world. For example, our Peachy Keen tastes wonderfully creamy like peach and apricot, while our Nutty Butty tastes classically Brazilian like hazelnut and caramel.
Each growing region and each variety has its own unique flavor characteristics. As roasters, we make it our business to tease out and enhance these special characteristics through optimal roasting.
Single Origins also (usually) stand for high quality, as only the best beans are selected for further processing. With a single, you notice much faster if the beans are of poor quality, as they are not blended with other beans. Singles are much more specific in taste than their counterparts the blends and go strongly in a very specific flavor direction. Making coffee with single origin coffee therefore takes a bit of practice, but it's also insanely exciting, as it allows you to really understand what all is in your bean - because let's face it, did you expect to find notes of yellow tomato, black pepper, or grapefruit in your coffee?
Single Estate Coffee - let's go wild
Single estate coffee is an improvement on single origin coffee. Here, the coffee beans not only come from the same growing area, but from a single farm or farming community. Coffees with this designation stand for the highest quality and unique, incomparable taste.
Blends - mix coffee beans?
Blend basically means nothing other than mixture. This means that different types of coffee are blended together. At first glance, this does not sound very promising, but rather like a cover-up operation. Thankfully, this is not the case with specialty roasters, where the beans are combined in such a way that a complex coffee aroma is created and the individual beans complement or even reinforce each other perfectly.
The main reason for producing a blend is, on the one hand, that the coffee tastes rounder and more balanced than a pure single origin due to the mixture of different beans. In addition, the blend is much more consistent in taste. Coffee is a natural product and its taste depends strongly on external factors such as temperature and weather. In the blend, these variations in taste can be balanced out more easily than in the single.
Blends tend to be roasted medium to dark, as they usually have chocolatey or nutty flavors. If you want to try something special, try our Fruity Beauty. In this blend, 3 of our fruitiest coffees combine to create a unique flavor explosion on the palate.
When are the beans blended into the blend?
There are two possibilities: before roasting or after roasting. If the beans are mixed before roasting and roasted together, this ensures a nice combination of flavor nuances and the coffee is particularly round. However, this is only possible if the beans have similar basic characteristics. For example, if a blend consists of large and small, hard and softer beans, roasting them together would result in a loss of quality, as some beans require shorter roasting times and others longer. Therefore, we blend the beans of our Choc'n'Brews, as well as our Go Nuts already before roasting, but the beans of our Fruity Beauty are roasted individually and blended afterwards.
What are the disadvantages of blends?
Unfortunately, blends are often used to mix in poor quality coffees, as this is not as noticeable in the blend. You should also make sure that not too many different coffees are mixed together, otherwise the individual flavor of each variety is quickly lost and a uniform mash is created in which all roasts taste the same (bad) in the end.