Single Origin vs Blends
Single Origins Vs Blends, which one is right for you? Some people like to say that you can’t beat the strong acidity and intense aromas that come with a single origin coffee… Others may argue that there is no match for the consistent flavour profile of a blend. It’s a feud that’s played out for years on the specialty coffee scene, and we’re here to weigh in with our opinion on the matter.
What are Single Origins?
In the red corner we have our Single Origin…a powerful hard-hitter, with a strong sense of identity. The word origin does exactly what it says on the tin…referring to the country a coffee is grown and processed in; namely, where it originated from. In the industry Single Origins more often than not refer to beans coming from a single country. Here at Stewarts we recognise that regionally specific growing conditions can create a wildly different taste profile across a nation. We narrow down our definition of Single Origin to refer to beans coming from a specific area of a country.
The joy of a single origin is their traceability. You are able to taste the pronounced aroma, acidity, and tasting notes of that specific region. Our Colombian single origin coffee comes from the various Planadas hamlets of Southern Colombia. The high altitude and nutrient rich soils create a gorgeous deep flavour of dark chocolate, and smooth caramel.
Single origin coffees often work well when brewed as a filter or pour over coffee, the low pressure, and steady pace of the brewing process allows the flavour to develop, bringing out the complex, intense aromas and characteristics with the gusto they deserve. Our coffee of the month is the best of the best when it comes to single origin, perfect for home brewing… We chose a different bean each month, putting it through a rigorous testing process, then roast it to absolute perfection. Single origins don’t come much better than this.
In defence of Blends…
In the blue corner we have our blend… a dynamic go-getter ready to take on any challenge. The vast majority of global coffees in the world are blends. When it comes to inexpensive, low quality coffees, (we’re looking at you instant coffee) blends are used to keep the cost of production low. They use defective beans that are then roasted into oblivion, creating a bitter, burnt flavour. This lousy practice in the coffee industry gives blends their bad name. Speciality roasters, much like ourselves, use blends in an entirely different way. We purchase coffee from different origins, blending (funnily enough) and roasting them together, producing a unique taste profile that brings out the best qualities in each bean.
Blends are perfect for espresso brewing methods. The espresso method is much harsher than filter brews. The speed and high pressure amplifies the flavour, meaning even the highest quality coffee can taste gauzy or poorly balanced when brewed as an espresso. When judged correctly blends can provide the perfect antidote to this predicament. They allow us to showcase the best of the bean in an espresso, effectively using a secondary bean to prop up the aspects of the flavour profile where the primary bean may fall short.
Good blends can often become superior to their individual counterparts, just take our Sunset Espresso for example. Our most popular Espresso blend of Brazilian and Honduran beans, creating a deep aroma with almond flavours. It’s not just us that thinks that, we even won a 2021 Great Taste Award for it!
Our Final Verdict.
The results are in… drumroll please as we announce our verdict. Essentially the upshot to the blend vs single origin debate is that the winner relies largely on personal preference. Yep, congrats, you just read all of that for literally no reason. All jokes aside, we simply can’t pick a favourite here at Stewart’s, in fact we think we’d be limiting ourselves if we did! We couldn’t go without the blissful purity of a single origin, but we also wouldn’t like to miss out on the chance to create exciting new flavours with a good blend. All in all, it really comes down to you, and there’s nothing to say you can’t enjoy a single origin one day and a blend the next. Keep exploring and experiencing the range of delcious tastes and smells artisan coffee has to offer…