Single Origin Coffees Versus Coffee Blends

Here at Weaver’s Coffee & Tea, we start with only pure, 100% Arabica green coffee beans, selected from the finest coffee growing regions along the equatorial belt, including Indonesia, Africa, and Latin America. The vast majority of our coffees are grown above an altitude of three thousand feet where the rich, volcanic soil found at these altitudes produces a hearty, rich and lusciously, deep taste profile.

Customers always ask me, what is the difference between single-origin coffees and coffee blends? So, I thought I would write this blog to share what I have learned over my last six years working as a Barista, a Trainer, then a Store Manager at our Flagship Cafe in San Francisco and now as the Communications Director. 

 

Single Origin Coffees Versus Coffee Blends

 

SINGLE ORIGIN COFFEES

Single-origin coffee is coffee that comes from a single farm or comes from a single country. When coffee is labeled as a single-origin, it is easy to trace the exact place in the world where it was grown.

Single-origin coffee has risen in popularity among third-wave coffee roasters and independent coffee shops in the past ten years for two reasons:

Certain coffees are labeled as single estate or micro-lot which means that all of the coffee in the bag is from a specific farm versus a single country, and allows it to be easily traceable to the coffee farmer, and also it helps to narrow down the exact tasting notes of the country and area where it was grown.

Andra Vlaicu, a judge from the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe, says “The most important thing about single-origin coffee is its traceability, the fact that you know exactly where your coffee is from and that it’s a specific coffee, not a blend…it’s the acknowledgment that the coffee is from a particular farm located in a unique setting, whilst its flavor depicts its origin, possessing characteristics of that specific area where the particular coffee was grown.”

Another reason why single-origin coffee has become so popular is that each coffee producing area and the coffee farms will produce coffee that has a very unique flavor profile.

For example, our single-origin Ethiopian Natural Organic boasts a deep, mocha bouquet with intense blueberry and marmalade fruit notes through to a clear, refined finish. Our single-origin Rwanda Muhororo, however, is smooth, slightly tart, with bright citric flavor notes and subtle grapefruit in the finish.

Both are from Africa, yet both have different flavor profiles. Single-origin coffees are more specific and personal tastes can be tantalized and thoroughly explored with tempting the palate with different single-origin coffees from different coffee farms.

 

COFFEE BLENDS

Blended coffee could not exist without single-origin coffee. A coffee blend is made up of single-origin coffees that have been blended together to create a highly unique and complex flavor profile.

Because a coffee blend is comprised of more than one type of coffee beans, the flavor notes are a lot harder to pick out. In the coffee world, we describe coffee blends as “full-bodied” because they are more intricate to the palette. Like single origins, coffee blends can offer very different flavors to appease different personal preferences.

 

Photo of roasted single-origin coffee beans coming out of the coffee roaster 

When it comes to coffee blends. for John Weaver, blending coffee is an art in itself. The exact green coffee bean combination of each of our coffee blends is decided by first roasting the coffee beans to a specific origin, which is then mixed with varying amounts of other roasted coffee.  Methodically, we narrow it down to the perfect cup of coffee. We do this through "cupping" - a skill mastered through time and experience. Having cupped roughly two hundred coffees a day, John Weaver and his team of apprentice roasters, have the ability to commit these tastes and flavor profiles to memory. They are also very busy after tasting so many coffees each day.

 

WHAT COFFEE DO WE SERVE IN OUR COFFEE SHOPS?

In our coffee shops, one of the questions we get asked the most often is what kind of coffee beans are we using for our espresso?

Espresso is a richly flavored, highly concentrated form of coffee that is brewed by forcing small amounts of pressurized, nearly boiling water through finely-ground coffee beans. Due to its method of preparation, espresso is generally thicker than coffee and it is served in shots with each shot measuring about an ounce.

 

photo of espresso portafilter coffee beans and an espresso coffee drink

We use our Weaver’s Espresso Blend coffee, which is full-bodied with remarkable depth, flavor overtones of fine wine, citrus and berry, ending with a super-sweet finish.

While every coffee shop is different, we stick with using a coffee blend for our espresso shots and espresso drinks. Because espresso is so concentrated, using a single-origin coffee might be a little too intense for some. Often single-origin coffee pulled as espresso is described as “fruity” and “floral”. Since the single-origin coffee beans typically only come from one area or one farm, the single-origin espresso shot will have less depth and character, so we stick to John’s combination of perfectly roasted and blended beans to bring forth our espresso.

 

WHICH TYPE OF COFFEE IS BEST FOR YOU?

Both single-origin coffee and coffee blends offer highly unique flavor profiles to consumers.

There is no right or wrong answer about what coffee is best for you, as it really depends on what you prefer in a cup!  Take the time to explore various coffees and see which flavor profile tickles your palate. 

We encourage you to experiment and alternate between the two until you find the one that best suits your taste buds.