Breaking Down Blends: Part 1
Blends. Sometimes thought of in the coffee world as single origin coffee’s lesser companion- but that's far from the truth! They’re everywhere and there are a lot of misconceptions about these sweet brews. Throughout this series, we want to demystify blends and give them the credit we believe they deserve. To kick it all off, we thought we’d start with a common question: why do coffee companies even make blends in the first place?
Let’s start by taking a closer look at a crowd favorite: West Coast Blend. This blend is comprised of 75% Brazil Cerrado and 25% Costa Rica Montañas del Diamante. While both of those coffees can definitely hang on their own, we wanted to create a coffee that would be approachable for light and dark roast coffee drinkers alike! The Cerrado brings some heavy chocolate and nutty notes to the base of the coffee while the Montañas adds a touch of brightness, which enhances the overall perception of sweetness in the final cup. Both of these coffees bring a distinct nuttiness to the final brew, with the Montañas leaning more towards a honey nut sweetness.
For each new coffee we bring in, our Head Roaster, Nick, develops a roast profile, which is a recipe of sorts for bringing out the best tasting notes in a coffee. When developing our West Coast Blend, Nick actually changed the roast profile of both the Montañas and the Cerrado to reach the perfect final cup. By developing the roast a bit more in both of the coffees, he was able to enhance the sweetness of the final blend overall. The goal with this blend was to have balance in almost every component of the final product, from brightness to nuttiness. If we’re talking pizza, this blend was created to be the classic pepperoni and cheese, something that everyone (well almost everyone --sorry vegans and vegetarians!) wants to grab a slice of.
If you’re still feeling a bit lost, just think about mashed potatoes. Everyone loves mashed potatoes! But there is so much more to their likability than simply being potatoes. If you took a boiled potato, mashed it up and served it, you’d have a pretty bland dish on your hands. That’s where the salt, spices and butter—amongst many other additions—aid the potato’s base flavor. Even different potatoes need different ingredients to help them shine. You wouldn’t treat a Yukon Gold the same as a sweet potato, right? Similarly, when we make blends like West Coast Blend, we are looking to create a recipe that balances out and enhances flavor for our guests.
In the end, we are simply looking for a good, consistent cup of coffee. Brightness, mouthfeel, aftertaste: these all play a pivotal role in how we create our blends. So, if you’re normally a single origin person, step out of your comfort zone and try something new this week!