In coffee, you'll often hear experts talk about blends vs single origin. But what do these terms really mean? Is one better than the other? What really is the difference between single origin and blend coffee?
When it comes to exploring the world of speciality coffee, there’s a lot to learn. For us, speciality coffee should be inclusive, and an open conversation. More often than not, that means shaking off misconceptions, prejudice, and judgement (decaf snubbers, we’re looking at you).
Read on to find out why we’re all in favour of dialling in a blend, just as much as we love pouring a single origin.
COFFEE BLENDS, EXPLAINED
We’ve all been there. Sometimes, you’re in the mood to try something new; other times, you crave something familiar. There’s comfort to be found in a classic coffee with a tasting profile you know and love. Walk into your nearest independent coffee shop and, chances are, there’s a blend on offer in one of their hoppers, often sold as their house espresso. This choice has nothing to do with cost, and everything to do with flavour, as well as providing a consistent option for the drinker. Blends can be tailored for coffee shops (such as the coffees we produce for Society Cafe, and Foundation), creating bespoke coffees for customers so they can provide a regular, quality choice to serve to their own customers in turn.
A coffee blend combines beans from different countries or regions around the world. By creating blends, a roaster can provide a consistent, well-rounded coffee that’s available throughout the year, marrying coffees to present the best characteristics of each, bringing them together in a pleasing profile that appeals to a wide audience. Whether you drink your coffee black, or with a touch of dairy or oat milk, chances are, there’s a blend that’ll work for you. Some blends are created out of a desire for a particular profile, while others come together from exploration.
Coffee blends have something of an outdated reputation, thanks to poor supermarket offerings of over-roasted beans. In reality, a blend that is created using high quality beans and roasted with care, has a worthy place in any cup. Some of our mainstay coffees are customer favourites - they’re available throughout the year and provide consistency and comfort for anyone wanting a regular, reliable, and delicious cup of coffee.
With a coffee blend, certain components that make up the flavour profile, may change with the season to optimise freshness. This is because coffee ripens at different times of the year. Quality control is as important as ever, ensuring that a blend remains consistent, even when components shift.
Explore our blends - here
SINGLE ORIGIN, EXPLAINED
So what does single origin coffee mean? A coffee deemed as ‘single origin’ covers a lot of ground, so it’s handy to remember the two parts of the term. Single: from one. Origin: the source. A coffee labelled as being Brazilian, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s of a single origin–in fact, the coffee might have come from several different regions or farms from the same country. A single origin coffee is sourced from a single producer, crop, or region in one country. Our coffee is omni-roasted which means you can enjoy your single origin as an espresso or as filter coffee. Brewing a single origin coffee is a great way to explore a unique profile that might only be found from that particular producer, crop, or region. For example, a gesha, grown in Panama, renowned for its delicate, floral, and tea-like notes.
Going one step further than single origin, it’s increasingly common to hear the terms ‘single estate’, ‘micro-lot’, and ‘nano-lot’. Single estate coffee will refer to coffee grown by a producer on a much larger farm in their ownership; a micro-lot or nano-lot will refer to a small area of land on a farm or estate that is dedicated to growing a specific varietal. We love working with Carlos Pola, an innovative producer who enjoys exploring new varietals while continuing to grow consistent crops, too.
So is single origin coffee better? An obvious appeal in single origin coffee is the level of traceability possible, linking back to a singular source. With a single origin coffee, you’re tasting characteristics unique to the terroir of that farm. Many of our best single origin coffees are seasonal, which means they’re limited (one of the reasons that our feature coffees sell out so quickly).
Explore our single origins - here
WHAT SHOULD YOU DRINK?
It’s all down to personal preference when it comes to choosing your coffee. Our decisions, when it comes to sourcing coffee, whether for a blend, or a single origin coffee, are always based on the relationships we build, the quality of coffee, and fairness of recognition and support provided, working direct trade wherever possible. You’ll always find us dialling in one of our popular mainstay blends, alongside our latest single origin releases, across all locations, allowing you a chance to explore new and interesting flavour profiles as well as enjoy a few favourites, all year round.
View our coffee collection page - here