Coffee purists may argue that high quality arabica coffee should be savoured on its own and, of course, single origin beans can yield a superb flavour and be fully enjoyed without blending. I love experimenting with blends - I think it’s part of human nature to constantly be curious and find out what can be created!
I find that blending is a great way of adding additional flavours and dimensions to our favourite coffees. If we’re creating a blend for ourselves then it generally happens in one of two ways: either we plan a blend for a specific occasion or it’s an organic process following our discovery of a new coffee.
THREE OF THE BEST COFFEE BLENDS
We have loads of brilliant blends in our shop, all created with real care and attention and I’m confident that you’ll find one that you like.
One of our best sellers is the Excelso blend, which is a delightful mix of Kenyan, Java and Monsoon Malabar, recently recommended by John Torode. This blend is quite unusual as it works as both an espresso and in the cafetiere!
If you have a decent espresso machine, then I really like the South American blend - it's sweet, smooth and flavoursome and awesome in espresso form.
If you prefer cafetiere coffee, then look no further than the Mocha Java blend with its sublime mix of Java and Ethiopian Sidamo origins.
CREATING BLENDS FOR OURSELVES
For example, if we’re looking to create a Christmas blend tasting of chocolate, fruit pudding and allspice, then we’ll use our knowledge and experience as to the coffee origin and roast profile that we choose, and basically trial and error regarding the percentage mix of each single coffee. But we also might get excited about new coffees we’ve taken on and decide to experiment to create a fantastic blend.
It’s not possible to fully predict what the coffees will taste like when blended. You could choose a Brazilian for sweetness, an African for citrus acidity and a Java for dark cocoa but when combined they often take on a completely unexpected flavour. This is down to the fact that there are over 380 different flavourants in coffee and, while we can identify them all individually in a lab, it is still mostly unknown how they interact to produce certain flavours and tastes.
CREATING BLENDS FOR CLIENTS
When creating specific blends for clients we need to find out the kind of taste, flavour and strength they’re looking for. This is usually what they believe their customers want. So if they’re creating a coffee blend for their restaurant, then they might want a deep, dark after dinner coffee, whereas a cafe may want an Italian style espresso, for example.
We like to do a coffee tasting with the client, where we’ll arrange around ten cups of different single origin coffees around a table, grouped by geographical location. We will then get the client to taste the coffees to fully understand just how different they taste, and to help them select the coffees they like. We’ll then create a number of trial blends using different percentages of the origins, until the client is happy with the flavour. And voila! A bespoke coffee blend has been created. Sometimes we can create a blend within a day but, often, it’ll take much longer.