Single Origin Coffee Vs Blends. Which Is Better?

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What kind of espresso person are you? Are you a daredevil who is willing to take chances and go on adventures? Or are you more interested in a daily routine that provides comfort?

The answer to this question will determine whether you like single-origin coffees or blends better, but it may not be as easy for people who are newbie espresso drinkers!

Single-origin coffee beans are those that come from one place. When you buy single-origin, the flavor of the coffee will be consistent across different roasts because it is all coming from one place. On the other hand, blends usually consist of beans from different countries which can lead to variation in taste. While those definitions are useful enough, they are nevertheless rather inexact.

The Single Origin Vs. Blends debate is one that has been going on for years now, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. But what exactly is Single Origin Coffee? Are Single Origins really better than blends?

Let’s explore this further.

Single Origin Espressos: Wild, Challenging, Exotic

The term “single origin” refers to a category that focuses on one specific area or region in which a coffee grows. The coffee-producing world is very large. Each country, and every region within it, has its own cultivation methods and favorite cultivars.

For me, drinking a single origin is more than just tasting the coffee’s flavor profile. It’s experiencing the imprint of that place where it was produced. For me, drinking a single origin is an opportunity to taste the imprint of that particular region. The majority of the time, a single-origin comes from one farm or even a specific plot on that farm. However, in countries like Ethiopia and Kenya, where many farmers work small parcels of land, it may come from cooperatives as long as all processing occurs in one location.

If you love the taste of unique and exotic flavors in your coffee, then single-origin coffees are perfect for you. At the same time, there’s no guarantee that it will always be perfect because single-origin coffee comes from only one source- which means if a bad batch shows up then no other coffee can make up for its taste!

The Challenges Of Being Single

There’s no denying that single-origin coffees have a unique taste experience. However, espresso brewers face these challenges with single-origin coffees:

  • Seasonality — Because the same bean is used by multiple roasters, it ends up selling out quickly. If you fall in love with a bean, it’ll probably be sold soon. You also have to keep experimenting with new beans and adjust to a different brewing procedure  for it, which is a hassle.
  • Inconsistency — One of the problems that many Single Origin Specialty Roasters face is that If a single-origin coffee underwent irregularities in the harvest, processing, or transportation of the bean, you’ll notice it right away since each shot will be somewhat unique. Also, yields may vary from year to year, and flavors change over time.
  • Dialing In Difficulty Dialing in your single-origin is essential since the origins of Single Origins vary from country to country. You’ll have to spend more time “dialing in” through trial and error,  to ensure the single origin is brewed to its fullest potential. Some people like the thrill of it, while others would rather avoid it.

Coffee Blends: Smooth, Balanced, And Tested

Coffee blends, as the name suggests, are a combination of coffee beans from various places that have been processed together. The typical blend includes coffee sourced from two to four locations, though some roasters may use up to eight or nine. They can come from anywhere within the same country or even across several countries around the world.
Blends usually keep their flavor for the most part due to the fact that various origin coffees are expertly blended to produce a balanced flavor.

It’s not simple mixing single-origin beans: combining the incorrect varieties might produce a bland or unappealing flavor. It needs both skill and extensive understanding to create a perfect blend.

“Blending is an important skill set of the roaster, and blending different single-origin coffees can show the roasters’ understanding of coffee as well as a greater understanding of flavor profiles.”

By Danny Pinnell, SCAA

The coffee combination is ideal for individuals looking for a smooth and balanced brew, or who get bored with their usual flavor preferences. All you have to do now is select the right kind of coffee mix for you. Because so many mixes have already been created, you may simply discover a wonderful combination or an improperly matched version. 

The Difference: Single Origin Coffee VS Blends

Single-source and blended coffees are the two most common ways to process and package coffee. They’re both quite popular, despite the fact that they have some significant differences. Origin, accessibility, price, and overall flavor are just a few of the factors that distinguish single-origin beans from coffee blends.

On Origin

The term “single-origin coffee” refers to coffee produced in a specific region. It might be produced from a single farm or several farms in a certain nation. This variety of coffee has a unique and powerful flavor that distinguishes it from other coffees.

A coffee blend, as the name implies, is a combination of two or more origin coffee beans. The combination might be made up of coffees from the same region or from different regions. There are two methods to create it. One is to blend the beans before they are roasted, which is known as pre-roasting. The alternative method is to roast each bean separately before blending them, which is known as post-roasting. The process, whatever method you choose, yields a new coffee with the characteristics of all its components.

On Flavor

A single-origin coffee has a far greater rich flavor profile in terms of aroma, taste, flavor, and acid content. The flavor of single-origin coffee, as well as its aroma, is generally described as more robust than blended coffees. Single serve coffee drinkers love the way certain flavors stand out. They’re prepared right away so there are no additional substances hiding its sharp, rich flavor. For this reason, you can taste the distinct flavors in an origin roast better than coffee blends.

On the other hand, coffee blends are more concerned with creating a harmony of tastes rather than pinpointing a specific flavor or flavor combination. Coffee blends are usually balanced in terms of taste, body, and acidity and provide a more layered and well-rounded drinking experience. As a result, many coffee connoisseurs enjoy drinking their blended coffee with milk and additional flavoring.

On Availability

The availability of coffee beans can be a complicated subject, but for single-origin coffees, it’s even more complicated. These roasts are seasonal and may only be found in certain months or years. For blends, the availability is all year round. Farmers blend beans from many farms so they are more accessible and easier to purchase. Since the beans come from various places, they are also produced in greater quantities. 

On Price

The extra effort devoted to single-origin beans may frequently result in a higher price tag than the blends.

Farmers pay greater attention to the quality of single-origin coffees since these have a stronger reputation to protect. Since blends come from several locations, it’s common to overlook such minute factors as growing conditions, filtering the beans for abnormalities, and encouraging flavor highlighting.

Although single origins usually taste better than blends, they can be more expensive and harder to find. Blends are generally cheaper, but single origins often have a higher quality flavor that can’t be replicated in a blend.

Final Notes

If you’ve made it this far through the technical lingo (they weren’t nearly as difficult as you thought, were they?), I’ll assume you liked learning about the bean’s history.

Knowing the distinction between blend vs single-origin coffee may help you find the best.

People who enjoy exploring their espressos are more likely to be blend fans, while those seeking a habitual drink like coffee can find comfort in single origins. 

If you want to get really geeky about coffee and understand the difference between coffee origins and processing methods, purchasing single-origin coffees is a better choice. But don’t undervalue the amazing things being done by roasters with blends.

Also, keep in mind that when making a decision between single-origin coffee vs blends, there is always the option to test both until you discover the best coffee for you.

And always remember: no matter what kind of coffee it is, it’s all just coffee in the end.

Happy Caffeinating!

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