Let’s talk about Blends
Every restaurant has its own signature dish. Every chef has his/her own signature dish.
Every bar has its own signature cocktail. Every bartender has his/her own signature cocktail.
Oh yes…. you know where I’m going with this.
Similarly, every roaster cafe or even just a regular cafe has their signature blend. Every roaster has his/her own signature blend. Perhaps they may have multiple signature blends, but there’s always that ‘special’ blend which means so much to them since it represents their establishment.
The Importance of Blends
Why do we need blends?? I mean, what’s so special about them? Why not just have single-origin (coffee originating from one country/region/farm ) coffee?
There are probably many reasons we have blends in coffee.
Some may not be of the brightest reasons.
For example, some large companies make blends to cut costs by incorporating cheap coffee ( which tends to be Robusta coffee ) together with the more expensive Arabica coffee.
Also, some single-origin coffee can be a lot more expensive compared to others and creating blends can help cut costs and increase profit.
Creating a variety of blends means a wider array of products to sell, which can be advantageous for the company.
But then again, there are very appropriate reasons to create blends.
Creating your very own blend is like your own secret recipe. You can literally manipulate the variety of different flavours of various coffee to make your super amazing blend that can be loved by the many people. Also, it sets one apart from other coffee establishments since no one can really copy your blend and also shows one’s skills as a blender/roaster.
It may be boring to only have single-origin coffee since it really limits the variety of coffee you were to serve. But by having various blends, you can create a wide spectrum of tastes which can be more appealing to customers, and can also increase your knowledge with the various combinations of different varieties/origins/roasts of coffee.
Finally, the fun and satisfaction in having unlimited combinations to create different blends can be the craziest and most amazing adventure one would travel through.
In any which case, creating blends have had a very significant impact on the way we perceive and taste coffee.
The Third Wave Brings Change
The Third Wave of Coffee has brought about many changes in the way we perceive coffee. Nowadays, a lot of emphasis is put on the traceability (being able to trace where the coffee comes from, right down to the farm) of coffee and appreciation of single-origin coffee.
You may not be able to find any blends at a cafe/roaster cafe dedicated to providing high-quality single-origin coffee.
There are some who say that single-origin of the highest quality should not be blended as it eliminates the originality and primarily unique elements of the coffee from that certain region/microclimate/farm.
It’s definitely a topic worth discussing about as seen here on this article by the SCAA.
The article says at the end,
If roasters embrace the spirit of transparency from the single origin ethos in their approach to blends rather than dilute their blends with inferior ingredients, what’s the issue?
I definitely agree with this statement. Instead of trying to eliminate blends to show respect for single-origin coffee, perhaps embracing the transparency of the single-origin coffee and then highlighting them in blends may be something that would appeal to everyone in the coffee community.
So, Let’s Try Their House Blends
If you only had one opportunity to visit a cafe/roaster cafe, what coffee would you go for?
I would suggest you try their house blend. If they don’t have one, just ask for the recommended coffee.
I feel that the best way to understand the personality of a coffee shop is to try their house blend. That’s what they stand by and that’s the way they choose to be perceived. I think it really does take a lot of balls to make a blend and then back it with your own shop’s name. There is a roaster cafe in my town known as Cafe Marugo and the owner there serves his own blend under the name ” Marugo Blend “. He truly believes that that’s his best representation of the ultimate coffee and I always have his signature blend when I go there because I think it’s absolutely delicious.
As a customer, it wouldn’t do justice to not try the house blend out from all the coffee they offer; I’d like to know what sort of flavour profile they like to appeal and also the story behind their blend.
I think there’s nothing wrong if I don’t like the house blend. The important thing is that I get a better understanding of what flavour profile they want to showcase. And I still get to enjoy their cup of coffee and respect their dedication in creating that blend.