This is a question many people didn’t even ask 10 years ago. But as the horizons of the coffee industry expand, coffee lovers keep finding new ways of enjoying a different brew every day. Today, many swear by single-origin espresso, while others prefer to use a blend for espresso. But which one should you choose between single origin vs blend espresso?
We’ll discuss both to help you finally settle on one through this article. Grab your favorite cup of coffee, and let’s get started by knowing what single-origin coffee is.
The words “single-origin” narrow down the birthplace of the coffee that’s in your hand to a specific location. It can be even more specific, such as a particular region or farm.
The growing region of coffee beans can significantly affect the overall taste of the brew and its characteristics.
When you know the origin of your coffee, you have a better grasp of the flavors that you won’t find in blends and the reasons behind said unique flavor.
There are more specific versions of single-origin coffee.
The beans in this category are all grown in the same country. But since a country is too broad of a reference, coffee farmers have come down to specifying regions to make it easier.
An excellent example of a country needing region specifics is Brazil. Brazil is a pretty big country, so big that every region has its own microclimates.
If you take beans grown in northern regions and compare them to the southern bean, you will notice differences, even though both these beans are technically single-origin.
This category produces beans in a coffee farm within the origin country. Things that shape these beans up are:
- Rain levels
- The tradition of the coffee farmers
- Growing conditions
- Processing methods
Single farm coffee feels like a magnificent product of a particular time and place, encapsulating the memory in the beans.
These beans have a relatively higher cost due to their limited availability. But the quality of the beans justifies the hefty price tag.
This one is for the most nitpicky coffee connoisseurs. A wise, insightful coffee snob can buy from a specific lot or an even smaller nano-lot from one particular farm.
Say what you will, but you can’t get any more exclusive than this.
To put it simply: coffee blends are the sole reason for the existence of coffee blends.
Coffee roasters purchase coffee beans from different origins, put them together, and roast them, creating a blend.
The primary purpose of coffee blends is to reduce the coffee production cost and create a robust flavor profile.
The cost isn’t the only thing that gets cut down when creating blends. Many blends taste bland compared to single-origin coffees since these beans are not the best quality.
To cover up the low quality of the blends, roasters tend to over-roast them, so the burnt taste covers up the defects of the beans.
It’s like toasting your bread. If roasted too dark, you won’t be able to tell the difference between your everyday supermarket loaf and a sourdough.
But since people have started taking burnt coffee as a novelty and not a cheap trick, this has become more of a norm, which is sad.
Also, over-roasting covers the original taste completely, removing any traces of the unique flavor profiles via the method.
Single-origin should be your go-to if you are nitpicky about your coffee flavor profile and you like to feel the unique flavor in your taste buds.
Single-origin is best for espresso since most espresso lovers like to feel the unique flavor of the beans through the black coffee. Adding milk or other additives to the drink takes away from the unique flavor of the fantastic experience.
Now, I’m not discouraging the use of milk in single-origin coffees, but I’m saying that it’s the best way to drink it. Many coffee lovers prefer it the old-fashioned way for the best drinking experience.
This might come as a disappointment, but single-origin coffee isn’t always the best choice for espresso. You are better off using an espresso blend in your espresso machine. But there’s a reason for that.
Brewing espresso is like putting a sound through an amplifier: it won’t always sound good too loud. The same goes for espresso brewing, where the method works as the amplifier.
Even if you have high-quality single-origin beans in your hands, your brew can be an absolute unbalanced mess of a flimsy body, low acidity, and an underwhelming flavor profile once you try espresso with it.
In the case of espresso, different blends of different coffee help you balance out the imperfections and grant you a decent cup of coffee.
Espresso blends are like regular coffee blends of up to four different coffees. But here, the roaster focuses on the espresso properties of the beans and roasts them accordingly.
Before specialty coffee was a thing, most coffee available in the market was dark roasted regardless of the quality. The roaster’s goal was to create a balanced flavor that everyone would like without tasting wild and imbalanced.
Now, let’s take a look at the individual strength of both single-origin and blended coffee, though both their strengths can match arms to arms.
Here, Check out our another piece on how to make espresso in aeropress.
Now, we will talk about the strengths and weaknesses in single origin vs blend espresso.
Single-origin coffee has the most detailed taste profile that is totally uninterrupted from the meddling of other beans. This gives your cup of coffee a robust, rich taste that you’ll remember for a while.
Every bean in a single-origin coffee contains the characteristics of its origins. Just from one sip, you can take a mind trip to the farm, and you take a moment to appreciate the absolutely fantastic job of the farmers who worked so hard to get you this coffee. Isn’t that magical?
The flavor of single-origin being a novelty experience, this is something you are guaranteed to enjoy for a very long period, even if it’s repeated every morning. Nothing beats the fresh taste of exclusive coffee.
If you just want to enjoy a consistent flavored cup of coffee, single-origin coffee can often be disappointing. You will need to follow a different brewing method for each type of bean to make the unique flavor pop up.
Any fine blend created by an expert roaster has an excellent flavor profile. These flavors often taste better, even better than single-origin at times.
Multiple types of coffee in a blend ensure that they cover each other’s flavor defects. As a result, you get a consistent shot every time you brew. This is why blend is preferred for espresso, cause not everyone is a brewing expert.
If you’re a fan of consistent coffee experience, you can count on blends to carry you through tough times. A blend can offer you many flavors for a really long time.
This is an unavoidable issue with all blends. When you mix multiple coffee types together, the unique flavors of the individual beans get lost. So you won’t get the specialty coffee-like taste from a blend.
Had fun reading single origin vs blend espresso?
Why not check out our another piece on aeropress vs french press.
Any coffee drinker can go with any style of coffee bean they are handed cause it’s coffee, and we don’t argue over coffee. But it always bogs down to personal preference.
Would you like to enjoy a consistent flavor repeatedly, or do you want to go on an adventure of flavors?
A blended coffee can have a decently strong yet balanced flavor.
If you want the most exclusive, novelty-level taste, single-origin coffee can give you the coffee you are looking for.
A single-origin coffee can have a multitude of flavors. You can use different brewing methods for each bean to bring them all out.
Coffee roasters, specialty roasters to be specific, create blends to offer coffee lovers an exquisite coffee experience while lowering the coffee production cost.
In battle of single origin vs blend espresso, I like a more consistent taste, so I tend to stick to quality blends.