THE BREW DOG BLOG
Single origin, or Blend?
When choosing a bag of coffee to buy a lot of brightly colored packaging and words are vying for your attention, and it can be hard to figure out what to pick.
Guatemalan, natural processed, blend, notes of chocolate and caramel and jasmine: what do all of these words found on coffee bags mean?
A single origin coffee is one that is from one place, for instance: Ethiopia. If a coffee is of solely one single source of origin, it’s an SO, or single origin.
Often times the offerings for SO’s are more intricate or delicate coffees. With profiles more similar to wine or tea, these coffee’s are usually loved or hated, no in-between, as the bright and vibrant personalities they tend to cary are truly a different experience than most blends.
The blend, a staple in almost every café and home; familiar and bold, these coffee’s scratch your itch every time and are generally super easy to drink being smooth and full.
A blend is made of two or more coffee’s that have been blended together (after being roasted) to provide a specific flavor profile. Often more heavy bodied and developed roast wise, you’ll find blends as espresso and drip coffee offerings usually.
There can be an African and an Indonesian, or two Sumatran’s, or any mix of coffee’s. It doesn’t have to have two different origin’s to be a blend, just different coffee’s.
Which Is Better?
That depends on who you ask. Coffee has such a vast flavor profile there’s almost guaranteed to be a coffee — or several — out there that you genuinely love, and they could be in the form of a blend or a single origin.
If you love notes of chocolate and tobacco, caramel, and other heavier flavors, finding out the origin or mix origins will point you in the right direction. Certain parts of the world tend to produce specify flavor profiles. African coffee’s are generally more acidic and bright, while South American coffee tends to be heavier in body and flavor.
Aside from taste is also the practicality of use within what the coffee intrinsically offers. It would make sense to use a more intense espresso when making large drinks with bigger quantities of flavor, and milk or water. A lighter more delicate coffee would most likely get buried, and would serve much better as a standalone shot of espresso, or more specialty lattes like a cortado.
Both will present on pour over, though a lighter roasted single origin would probably outshine a more developed blend, for instance. I will add to that some would still prefer a heavier coffee, but at that point it would be better served as drip coffee, in my opinion, as that method lends itself very well to such a coffee and brings out more of what is on offer.
Give ‘Em All A Go
We have many options for both SO’s and blends at Black Dog, so please feel free to ask a team member about recommendations on which coffee might best suit your brewing method of choice, or find the exact flavor profile you personally love.