The art of combining coffee and creating a coffee blend.

The art of combining coffee and creating a coffee blend.

12 ноември, 2014

Coffee blending is the art form of combining coffee beans of different geographic regions, sort and territory. In spite of the fact that you do not need to mix some Arabica sorts in order to get excellent coffee, blends generally dominate the coffee market.

People farm coffee in more than a hundred regions around the world and each bean is distinct with specific characteristics. Creating the correct mix is of vital importance for the aromatic balance, needed to create the perfect espresso. Why espresso, why not just coffee? Espresso is the primary type of beverage for which coffee is blended.

It is near impossible for the produce of one specific farming region to possess the complexity and taste qualities of a well-measured espresso blend. Many of the mixtures contain from three to seven different types of coffee. The experienced coffee master knows his coffee beans and confidently combines them in order to create the desired blend of tastes.

Main reasons for blending coffee

If we set aside our strive for creating the ideal taste and the search for a flawless espresso and we can narrow down the need to blend coffee types to four main reasons:

Personalized (brand) blends – the target here is to create a combination with a constant and memorable taste and aroma, which only a few market chains and/or coffee shops who specialize in coffee will sell. The customers who visit the coffee shop can always expect the same taste and quality. The final goal is to secure a loyal client base, who will return to experience the same taste they enjoy over a long period of time.

Permanent (classic) blends – we can view these as a variety of the previous ones. In this case, though the scope and goals are grander. The recipes feature many diverse coffee sorts, coming from different regions. The aim is to have the cut of every different coffee type be so small as to have an alternative of replacing one or more of sorts in the mix so that the consumer does not feel the difference in taste when for some reason the produce of a particular region fails to meet standards.

Cheap blends – this regrettably is very common practice. Usually in this case producers mix cheap Robusta with a small amount of quality Arabica is order to make use of the latter’s aromatic qualities. Preparing coffee this way allows for a higher sales margin and marketers emphasize the well performing high-quality Arabica on the package. It is important to pay attention to the percentage details of the mixture when purchasing coffee if such information is available.  

Single blends – these are combinations of different coffees farmed in the same region which is known to have exceptional qualities. Tradesmen use this information, mainly emphasizing the popularity of a particular producer, whilst also mixing other non-high quality beans into the blend. These mixtures are often mistaken for other, non-blended coffees from a particular region.

Tricks of the (blending) trade

The way of making a particular coffee blend is always important. Coffee blends designed for filters usually emphasize the balance between the four main quality determinants: bitterness, body, taste and aroma. This complexity is usually inadequate for espresso blends, keeping in mind the power of the extraction and we usually emphasize only one of the determinant.

Italians have been blending masters for generations in order to perfect their favorite espresso drink. More often than not, they add a little Robusta to the mixture, which helps form a thicker cream and

The question of when to mix the different coffee beans, before or after baking remains open. Each technique has its own benefits and drawbacks. Coffee experts generally agree that each individual sort should be baked alone in order to sustain its optimal qualities. Even so, some believe that we should mix before baking in order to better integrate the sorted beans in the blend. The latter approach is more functional on a bulk basis which is why it is exceptionally common in large coffee processing plants where large amounts of blended coffee is prepared. The arguments in favor of the first type of blending however present a more convincing case and exceed the ones in favor of the opponent. Not only can we get the best out of taste and aromatic qualities by paying special attention to every type of coffee but we can also bake each sort to a different degree – from “Cinnamon” to “Dark French roast”. This presents a fairly decent amount of good options to choose from when designing our blend.  

Like in blended whiskey coffee varieties differ and so does their constituency. Whichever blend you support, make sure to enjoy it!

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