Django Coffee Co: Single-origin or Blended Roast

Django Coffee Co: Single-Origin or Blended Roast?

27/10/15

A coffee roasters dilemma is whether go down the  single origin or blended roast route to create the most unique and perfect flavours of coffee. Both a single origin and a blended roast have their advantages and it all depends on the type of customers the roaster would like to attract to which method they would prefer to use.

.Single sourced or single origin coffee beans are when all the beans used in the roast come from the same batch from the same location, usually the same farm or coffee plantation, but this can also be as specific as the same area or field on the coffee farm. There is somewhat of a debate as to what single origin does represent as in some circles, single origin can mean from the same country or area of a country, however the main consensus is that they are from the same specific farm. Single origin beans bring a uniqueness and distinctive flavour to the roasted coffee. Similar to wine, flavours can differ dramatically due to elevation, fertility of soil, climate, farmers’ practises and the process of cultivation. Coffee aficionados can savour the flavour from a particular farm or region. Coffee from single origin beans is best enjoyed either by a French Press, Aero Press or the pour over methods as these are the best ways to savour to unique flavours of the coffee beans.

Coffee blends on the other hand combine the properties from two or more differently grown or located farms, whether this be in the same country or on a different continent. Blended coffee tends to create a flavour that is more rounded and balanced. [1]  These coffee beans tend to acquire much darker roasts and are suited for espresso machines or the milky types of coffee such as flat whites or cappuccinos.

Single origin coffee is the most naked and purest form and the coffee produced tends to be of a higher quality. [2]  Single origin is marketed on the story of where and how far the bean has travelled to your coffee cup. Traceability is a massive factor with single origin coffee. Consumers can now find information on the farmer, the processes of cultivation, elevation of farm and climate. This information helps build a story and connects the consumer to farmer. Sustainability is also a huge factor as small batch buyers build relationships with producers, farmers and consumers encouraging different growing techniques and farming practises to enhance sustainability. In doing so farmers can receive higher prices for their crop whilst keeping the land healthy for future generations. [3]  Obviously this is not the case for every single origin farmer as many farmers do face difficulties such as falling global coffee prices, pests and disease and the unpredictability of the climate. However with cooperation’s and organisations such as Fair Trade coffee farmers are being helped to produce coffee and receive a fair wage.

Blended coffee can spread the risk of the quality and supply issues as coffee production is seasonal and effected by environmental factors and the threat of pests and disease. If the roaster sources coffee beans from numerous farms this means that they can always have a supply of coffee.  Blends also improve the consistency of coffee as roasters can manipulate recipes and improve the weaker areas of a certain base of coffee. Profitability can also be increased as cheaper coffee beans can be blended with a different quality bean to produce an excellent flavour. [2]  Blended coffee can still be sustainable as the coffee buyer can still purchase their beans from different farms that are run by a cooperative or have an affiliation with Fair trade or the Rainforest Alliance however there will not be as much information about where the beans were sourced from as blends can be a coffee roasters secret recipes.

In conclusion, whether a roaster or a consumer choose single origin or a blend of coffee depends on their own personal preferences. If you are conscious of specific flavours and the story of origin of the bean then single origin is the right choice. If you just want a smooth coffee to wake you up in the morning then a blend will work perfectly.