Coffee Blending. What’s it all about anyway?
The great thing about specialty coffee is the flavor. You’d be surprised that the coffee beans have a large number of natural flavor profiles. Even though every coffee bean is different, you’ll find that there is a general profile that exists based on specific region of coffee. Because every region tastes just a tad bit, if not drastically different, the opportunity exists to blend beans from different origins to add a bit complexity to a morning cup. Enter the art of coffee blending.
The majority of coffee blends, particularly the House or Breakfast Blend coffees have a base with origins like Panama, Peru, Brazil or Mexico. Coffees from those producing countries generally have a very small hint of acidity that can be bright, yet not overpowering in flavor. This characteristic makes coffee from this region ideal for flavored coffee. Some of my customers are huge fans of Chocolate Thunder, Hazelnut and Ya Mon. All fan favorites.
I often speak to a number of customers that mention how the to the acidity in coffee bothers them, that lets me know that they should avoid Colombian and Costa Rican coffee. Single Origin coffee or blends from those countries are extremely acidic. Though the acidity adds body and flavor to those blends, I’ve found it best if there’s just a “touch” of those beans added to a blend.
On to the fun part of coffee bean profiles, Africa; there’s nothing like the blueberry, raspberry, “winey-ness” or brightness that Burundi, Kenya AA or Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (a flowery aromatic coffee, my favorite!). Personally, I prefer to avoid blending any of coffee from the origin, Africa, with any other coffee bean. African Coffee as a Single Origin is just that good.
Any blend, particularly a coffee that is a dark roast blend worth any real flavor, like Mandingo Warrior or my espresso that works great as a general brew Moor, much have something from Asia Pacific.
Now that I’ve given a high level overview of the general flavor profiles of the various single origin beans, the tricky part is how to figure which beans are the best the roast profiles that work best for the various bean densities.
Coffee Bean Density has a lot to do with Blending
Colombians are the most dense coffee beans in Latin America, followed by Guatemalan then Costa Rican. Brazilian coffee is the least dense of them all. That fact, Brazilian coffee as the least dense coffee, should be noted that Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee. Logically, Brazilian coffee is going to be the coffee that comprises the majority of all of the coffee blends that are in the marketplace. Basically, the denser a bean, the hotter the roast has to be in order to create a great tasting roast. Crazy right?
Ultimately over time, climates change, soil changes, temperature changes and a number of other factors change. All of those changes cause the tastes of the beans to change, and those changes require changes with the beans used in order to maintain the flavor of blend offered.
Could you imagine a world where Darrin’s Iron Roast, the Signature Blend, no longer tastes like Iron Roast. Let me tell you, neither do I, and that folks is blending coffee in a nutshell. Hope that helps. Or you could just let me figure it out. I’m just sayin’.
Like my daughter, I LOVE chocolate, so you’ll notice in a few of my named blends, chocolate overtones (Mandingo Warrior). Hey, if you love a ton of sugar and cream in your coffee, it’s your party not mine. I just try to make it the way you like. Remember, coffee is about what YOU love, not me,