Do you love the bright acidity of Kenyan coffee, but miss the chocolaty notes of Colombian? Have you ever sipped a steaming cup of Costa Rican single-origin and wished you could complement the taste with a dash of richness and body? The solution to enjoying the unique characteristics of different coffee beans is to blend them together–but, of course, that’s easier said than done.
Creating the perfect coffee blend demands a level of finesse that’s only ever achieved through practice. To do this right, you need to have knowledge of the geographical factors, chemistry, and even the biology of all the different coffee beans. What characterizes each different bean? And how can you effectively blend them to complement each other and match your preferences? Well, read on for an in-depth guide on how to create your own coffee blends right from your own kitchen!
Single-Origin vs. Blends
Single-origin coffee refers to beans that are grown and harvested in one particular region. Please note that the term “region” may refer to a country or a specific micro-climate found in a certain area. For more on single-origin coffee, check out our complete guide to single-origin coffees from around the world. You can even use the information to help you determine the level of acidity, flavors, and body of your coffee!
So, why create a coffee blend in the first place when single-origin sounds like a coffee aficionado’s best friend? Well, we do this for a few reasons:
Factors to Consider when Selecting Coffees for Your Blend
Ever wondered what determines the taste profile of your favorite single-origin coffee? Well, there are several contributing factors causing the particular body, acidity, and unique tasting notes of each coffee:
How to Choose the Components of Your Coffee Blend
As we noted earlier, when selecting the components of your coffee blend, it’s important to keep an eye on key characteristics; the sweetness/aromas, acidity, and the body/mouth feel. You can start by listing the origins and characteristics of each coffee you plan to incorporate into your blend.
When it comes to acidity, Guatemalan coffee is an excellent place to start. You can also give Mexican (Chiapas) coffee a try to give your blend that crisp bite. Ethiopian Yirgacheffe is a classic acidity example that works great in blend- particularly if Yirgacheffe on its own is a bit too strong for your palette. The citrusy, acidic, and bright flavors represent the higher toned characteristics of a blend- and higher tones that initially seem overwhelming to you on their own may work great as part of a blend.
For body/richness, Indonesian coffees like Sumatra or Sulawesi Toraja are great options. Origins like Kenya, Papua New Guinea, or Rwanda all offer that thicker mouthfeel that can bolster your blend.
For sweetness, you may consider high-quality washed coffees from Central America. Coffees from Panama, El Salvador, Haiti, or Venezuela can provide a pleasant, proper sweetness paired with captivating fruity notes.
We’ve put together a handy chart to consider when looking for the right coffees to constitute your blend:
Every good coffee blend starts with a base that accounts for the largest ratio. Next, you’ll want to add other types of coffee beans to complement the first, but be careful not to pair coffees that may overpower each other.
But, as a blending novice, what’s a good ratio to initially try? There are an infinite number of strategies you can employ, but we’ll try to give you a rule of thumb: if your coffee blend is made up of three components, a sweet base note that accounts for 40% of the blend, a mid-palate satisfaction as another 40%, and a variety note that accounts for the other 20% is a good starting place.
Try initially experimenting with a 40/40/20 three coffee blend and then branch out from there. Don’t give up until you’re satisfied with the result–the possibilities are endless!
Examples of Coffee Blends to Try at Home
A quick browse on coffee discussion groups and forums will reveal tons of blended coffee recipes. A common suggestion is pairing chocolaty Brazilian coffee with the blueberry notes found in Ethiopian coffee. But, before rushing to the kitchen and trying your own blends, consider trying some of these more popular blends so that you can get a general feeling of what to expect:
Let’s be honest, creating your own coffee blends won’t be a walk in the park! There’s a good chance that you’ll come up with a cup that resembles nothing more than muddy water–at least once or twice. Balancing factors like roast profile, flavor notes, acidity, and body is not a walk in the park, so don’t expect to create a café-worthy cup overnight.
The key to nailing down the ideal blend that perfectly fits your palate is patience–and as the saying goes, “Practice makes perfect.” After figuring out what you want from your blend, experiment until you arrive at a cup of coffee that hits the spot.
Even after creating a distinctive, balanced, and delicious blend, the challenges aren’t over. Due to the seasonality of some single-origin coffees, you might be forced to replace one or two of the component coffees even after you’ve crafted your masterpiece!
Give Custom Blending a Try!
The golden rule when blending is to get the right ingredients in just the right proportion. With this in mind, you must be ready to do some digging into the flavor profile and aromatic characteristics you desire out of your favorite single-origin coffees. In fact, researching and selecting the right coffees for your blend is the hard part–the rest is child’s play.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a single-origin devotee or a blend lover, creating your own blend takes your coffee satisfaction and knowledge of the craft up a couple of notches. It gives you the opportunity to maintain consistency and create the perfect cup of coffee tailored to your taste buds. And who knows, you might end up creating the next big thing.
Comments will be approved before showing up.