Skip links

The Battle Of Blends Vs. Single Origin

If you’re curious about the differences between blends and single origin coffee, you’re not alone. Single origin coffee sounds fancy, but what does it actually mean? Is it really better than your favorite go-to blend? And what’s the deal with espresso? Is it single origin, blended, or its own special bean? To help answer these questions, let’s take a look at how the different types of coffee stack up in the battle between blends and single origin coffee.

What’s In A Name? Here’s The Skinny On Single Origin Coffee

In the specialty coffee industry, single origin coffee has been seen by those “in the know” (read: coffee nerds) as superior to those popular coffee house blends. The term “single-origin” became popular among specialty cafes using coffee sourced from a single location. Using sophisticated pour-over methods to control things like taste and texture, their goal was to highlight the original flavors and notes of the beans from a specific country, region, or even one farm.

Like wine, the flavor of coffee beans differs by region and can be seasonal depending on the crop’s location. For a nutty, slightly sweeter, light-bodied coffee, roasters might look to Mexico. For a less acidic flavor, Colombia may be the way to go. For a rich, full-bodied coffee, Kenyan single origin may be your go-to brew. As you can see, focusing on single-origin coffee gives roasters the chance to narrow in on specific characteristics and offer an ever-changing, wide variety of coffees to customers like you.

Another reason we like single-origin coffee is because of its transparency. It’s easier to trace back where your coffee came from, and the farming practices there, if it all goes back to one place. This way, coffee nerds–er, umm–experts, and roasters like Nomi Brew can be confident we’re bringing you a coffee we can feel good about selling, and one that you can feel good about drinking, too!

Does this mean single-origin is better than a blend? Not necessarily. As we’ve seen, the name “single-origin” was created to distinguish flavors of coffee depending on where the beans originated from, not based on their quality.

You know how the same wine from the same vineyard tastes different depending on the year the grapes were harvested? Single-origin coffee is like that, too. Things like weather patterns and climate change can lead to changes in flavor, making them inconsistent from batch to batch. And, like with wine, it’s not unheard of to get a bad batch of single-origin coffee.

Is Blended Better?

So, if single-origin has its limitations, is blended better? Blended brews are just like they sound. Roasters take a combination of beans from multiple locations to create a more consistent flavor. That makes blends super popular. In fact, blends are consumed more than any other type of coffee!

In fact, we bet you didn’t know that those infamous espresso drinks at your local Starbucks and other popular coffee shops are made from blended beans. There is no such thing as an espresso bean! Wild, right? Say it ain’t espres-SO! Espresso beans start out just like other beans. Based on the way they are processed, they become espresso. More often than not, this involves the blending of beans.

Remember those bad batches we mentioned before? When you combine 2-3 different beans to make a blend, if one of those beans has a bad batch it’s less likely you’ll notice the change in flavor if the other beans remain intact. Small-batch, single-origin brews allow roasters to provide variety, but it’s also difficult to distribute single-origin coffee in large quantities. Blends make it easier for roasters seeking to provide a consistent product in large batches.

Blending different beans together provides us with a more reliable, well-rounded-tasting coffee. While some of us may love the acidic flavors of a single-origin brew from Guatemala, a roaster trying to reach the coffee-loving masses may choose to blend it with a more mellow bean to take away a bit of that bite. Blends also tend to pair better with milk and sugar, making them a favorite for those who prefer these added extras to their black coffee.

How To Choose The Right Brew For You

Neither single-origin nor blends are necessarily better than the other. They’re just different. At the end of the day, it comes down to personal preference.

Are you the adventurous daredevil of your crew, always looking to try the next, new thing? Then single-origin is probably the ideal brew for you. Or if you’re like us at Nomi, and it’s important for you to know just where your coffee’s been, single-origin is going to be much easier to trace than a blended brew. On the other, if you’re a Type A who thrives on routine and a coffee you know will keep its same great taste time and time again, you may want to keep it safe and go with a blend.

Still not sure how to choose? Don’t fret. We’re here to help. Take our coffee quiz to see what’s right for you.

Leave a comment

10% Off First Order

Get 10% off your first order!

We'll send you a coupon code to use during checkout.

Yay! Your discount is on the way!