Coffee Blends vs Single Origins - Which is best?
Here at Redber we offer an exciting and ever-growing range of both single origin coffees and coffee blends, but which is better to drink? And do coffee roasters favour blends over single origin?
Let’s start by explaining the definition of the two terms. “Single origin” is essentially as it sounds – it means that the beans come from one place, usually from a certain region or country or specific farm, and a “Coffee Blend” combines coffee beans from several origins, as this will give consumers the best of a few different beans which will make the coffee more complex. Imagine a chef creating a signature dish by combining multiple ingredients that are not as inviting on their own; but when prepared, mixed together and cooked can create a masterpiece that will satisfy your taste buds more than a single ingredient would. Compare this to a coffee blend and it is the grouping of qualities from each coffee bean that gives the finishing product it’s flair.
Origins coffee often have unique or distinct characteristics, which sometimes can be too much on their own. Understanding and combining origins coffees in different ratios can produce some well-rounded tasting blends (on some occasions make things worse if not done well). Roasters like us will spend a lot of time creating blends, trying different mixes for weeks or months until we are happy with the right blend.
Blends can often be formed from beans that complement each other, but can also be created for a contrasting effect. Take our Sweet Shop Blend for an example of complementarity, as it combines the flavours of Ethiopia, Kenya and Brazil; and It is the similarities of their sweet and fruity essences that create this aromatic blend. In comparison to this is our Santos and Old Brown Java Blend, where the grouping of the two popular beans contrast with each other. The Brazil Santos beans are sweet and smooth, whereas the Old Brown Java are musky with rustic earthy flavour notes. The combination of the two creates a rich, bold and smoky coffee.
An interesting factor of the blending process is that our blend’s may need to be altered from time to time if the taste of a certain bean has changed. Changes in taste can be due to a number of factors including climate change, a change in soil conditions and a change in the way the beans have been fermented, dried or stored. These factors can have a huge impact on the overall taste of the blend, which is unwanted for us and our loyal customers who like it and in turn want to keep purchasing it. This will mean that the use of the beans will need re-assessing, and the amount added will need to be adjusted or the bean substituted with an alternative.
The correct method of blending is often argued as to whether the beans should be blended before or after roasting. As expert coffee roasters ourselves we would say that there is no right answer and the preferred method depends on the beans, the efficiency and practicality, and the specificity of the blend. Therefore, We generally tend to use both methods.
So which is better to drink, Blends or Single Origins? The answer to this question is all down to your personal preference as nobody can say that one particular coffee is better than another. Some would say that you cannot beat great single origin beans where you can enjoy coffee in its purest form. On the other hand you have the option of multiple beans put together specifically to create exciting new flavours. You have the opportunity to have an enriching coffee experience with either of the two! Explore our wide range of coffees here.
- Sadie Taylor