If you know your coffee or at least are on your way to being a coffee connoisseur, you’re likely to have come across these two terms: single-origin coffee and coffee blends. What are they and what is the difference between the two? Understanding these two types of coffee and the impact they can have on your beverages could be the first step to choosing the right blend for your coffee.
Single Origin Coffee
As the name suggests, this coffee consists of only a single origin of beans. The specialty coffee industry thrives on single origin coffees and generally speaking, coffee enthusiasts would prefer single-origin blends. Why? Single-origin coffee is stereotyped as being exotic and distinct, and although this might be true to some extent, they also have their flaws.
Likewise, the basics of coffee blends are easy to understand – they are created from a combination of different beans. Coffee blends produce a unique flavour profile. And with different blends, it produces different flavours. However, not all blends are created equal and there is a fair amount of skill (and trial and error) involved when it comes to the roasting process. A poorly designed blend may produce a bland cup of coffee, while a professionally designed blend could be heaven in a cup.
While coffee blends might not be for everyone – we’re looking at you, coffee connoisseurs and java snobs – they do have some obvious benefits compared to single-origin coffees.
A Flavor For Everyone
It is known that single-origin coffee tends to be more expensive than blended coffee- usually because it is of a higher quality.
However, do note that just because the coffee has a high price tag, does not mean its flavour will appeal to your customers. Look for coffee with an agreeable level of acidity that is well balanced overall. High levels of acidity may be enjoyed by some; however, the potential for sales is generally small.
Most consumers will prefer the sweeter fruit notes, rather than the strong citric notes that some coffee possesses.
Coffee blends allow you to mitigate the harsh flavours that some coffee may have.
For example, Ethiopian coffee has distinct floral flavour notes and bright acidity. Coffees like these usually do not have much of a middle ground- your customers will either love it or hate it altogether.
However, if say that Ethiopian coffee is blended with a milder Brazillian coffee, the flavour profile will completely change to create a more balanced flavour and as a result, your customers, in general, might enjoy this beverage a little more than the one above.
The Best For Espresso
Coffee blends are necessary for espresso. While single-origin espressos do exist, most die-hard espresso fans will tell you that blends are the right way to create a true espresso. Single-origin coffee lacks the complexity desired from an espresso. Blends are favoured for espresso because they have a consistent and complex flavour profile with the right acidity, body and aftertaste.
Understanding Flavor Profiles
If you’ve been shopping for beans or reading extensive blog posts that have been written by self-proclaimed coffee aficionados, then chances are that you’ve seen descriptors like “fruity”, “smoky”, or “floral” being thrown around. All coffee plants may belong to the same genus (Coffea) but that doesn’t mean that they all taste the same. Several factors – such as its location, elevation, climate, and selective breeding – all come together to influence the final flavour profile of the beans.
If you want to truly become a true coffee blend connoisseur, then understanding flavour profiles is the first (and most important) step that you need to take on this journey. In addition to this, a large portion of choosing the right espresso blend is the simple process of trial and error; trying different blends to see if they work well in your recipes and if they will ultimately appeal to your customers.
The Coffee Tasters Flavor Wheel, by the Specialty Coffee Association of America
Some examples of common flavours are:
Fruity – orange, lemon, apple, grape, strawberry, coconut, etc.
Spices – pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, etc.
Sweet – honey, vanilla, maple syrup, molasses, etc.
Roasted – smoky, burnt, malt, grain, tobacco, etc.
Nutty/Cocoa – peanut, hazelnut, almond, chocolate, dark chocolate, etc.
How Do You Plan Out A Coffee Menu?: The Basics
Blends aren’t the only thing that you should keep in mind when you’re creating your menu. Let’s take a quick look at some of the basics that you should consider for your menu.
Start With Coffee Brewing
Take a look at trends and adapt your menu. What brewing methods are popular for your concept, customers or your region? ? Generally speaking, espresso-based milk beverages are a safe bet in Singapore but perhaps alternative milk-based beverages are also something to consider.
Simple or Speciality?
Will most of your menu be filled with creative and complex drinks or will your primary focus be beverages that are simple and straightforward?
This can range from obvious factors like temperature (hot, cold, blended) to beverage sizes or even more niche factors like sustainable packaging and unique garnishes.
Non-Coffee Beverages Option
Yes, it’s technically your “coffee” menu but that doesn’t mean that you have to avoid catering to non-coffee drinkers; beverages like hot chocolate, chai latte, and tea are worth considering.
Need Help Choosing The Right Espresso Blend For Your Coffee?
For many newcomers (and even some industry veterans) choosing the perfect coffee blend can often seem daunting. The good news is that this is no longer an issue that you have to face alone.
At Guerilla, we believe that every customer’s story is unique. We start by listening to understand what’s special and then discovering what our customers truly need, not want.
Contact us today for a consultation and let us help you choose the right espresso blend for your coffee.