Single Origin VS Coffee Blends – Another Great Debate

Single Origin VS Coffee Blends – Another Great Debate

The great debate of single origin coffee beans vs blended coffee beans is an age old battle with no clear winner just yet.

The two main schools of thought are that:

a) Single origin coffee beans are the best way to get the purest coffee possible.

b) Blended coffee beans allow us to reach the “perfect taste profile”, by adding more of what we want, and leaving out taste profiles we don’t necessarily like.

We’re going to chat about the benefits and pitfalls of both single origin coffee beans, as well as blended coffee beans.

Single Origin Coffee Beans

We must bear in mind that when speaking about Single origin Coffee Beans, the term itself is very broad and sometimes misleading.

Single origin can mean one of two things: the beans are sourced from one region, i.e. – Kenya, Ethiopia etc. It could also mean that the coffee beans are sourced from one single coffee growers plantation.

Both sound pretty amazing, right? Well, yes, they do, but here is why I said the term is misleading. When we refer to a coffee bean a single-source, and we’re actually referring to the region – it’s vital that we know that the mentioned region can be VERY far reaching. To put things into perspective, Kenya is 581 309 square kilometres.

So, saying that a coffee bean is a “Kenyan Single Origin” simply means all the beans contained inside the bag are from Kenya, but they may have come from numerous coffee plantations, with different taste-influencing factors, like soil quality, micro-climates, pesticides that may (hopefully not) have been used in the crop, as well as the touchy subject of Direct Trade / Far Trade for said coffee grower.

Yes, in all fairness, if the coffee is sustainably sourced from growers in that region and a sufficient quality control measure is implemented, you may have found yourself a pot of liquid gold.

Coffee purists will argue that single-origin is the only way to get a “pure”, untainted coffee, and they are right.

Just be aware of what may influence, either advantageously or detrimentally, the flavour and quality profile of your coffee.

Coffee Bean Blends

Blended origin coffee’s and blended coffee beans are also two separate groups.

Blended origin coffee means that some of the coffee may have come from (as in our previous example) Kenya, and the other beans were sourced from Brazil and Ethiopia.

These blends can often be 100% Arabica coffee beans, which lends a certain characteristic to the coffee.

Blended coffee beans are a totally separate type of blend – they are beans which may comprise of a certain percentage of Robusta and Arabica. They may be sourced from various coffee growing regions, different coffee beans types as well as a mix of flavour profiles to complement and fully enhance the new flavour profile of your blend.
Some regions’ beans naturally contain a lower (or higher) acidity levels, as well as many other taste-influencing factors, like bitterness (associated with Robusta Coffee Beans) and caffeine content.

I’ve seen some roasters taking two of the same beans and roasting them to different roast profile levels to get a different taste profile extracted from each.

The world of blended coffee is more of a science than an art – getting the right balance is often more of a headache than a reward, but when you get it right – you get it very right!

Single Origin VS Blended Coffee – Which Is Better?

Sometimes, no answer is the right answer. If you prefer coffee in it’s purest form – i.e.- without enhancements, you want access to tasting the “flaws” of the coffee (for instance, excess bitterness), single origin could possibly be most enjoyable to you.

If you’re someone who enjoys discovering the hidden flavour profiles of coffee and the science dedicated to getting the flavour balance just right – then blended coffee may be your best solution.

There is no wrong or right – just wrong or right for you!

We would absolutely love to hear your opinions on Single Origin Coffee Beans VS Blended Coffee Beans – what is your happy medium and why? Moreover, we would love to hear the opinions of coffee professionals – what is your take on the debate of Single Origin VS Blended Coffee?