Blend or single origin? What difference does it make to me?

Blend or single origin? What difference does it make to me?

What's the difference between a coffee blend or a single-origin coffee anyway? And why should you choose one or the other?

When choosing a blend or single origin coffee, there are a few things to consider. It’s a bit like single malt and blended Scotch whisky – it’s down to personal opinion. Some people are massively in favour of one or the other, and some people love both.

The basics

Literally, the difference is that all the beans in a brew of single origin coffee come from the same area – often the same farm – meanwhile, blended coffee can come from a mixture of farms, regions, countries or even continents.

Flavour and story

Blended coffees tend to be consistent. When making a blend, we can choose a selection of beans that come together to produce a certain flavour that is very similar from year to year. Great blends are rich and complex, and advocates say they produce a more flavourful coffee. When you find a blended coffee you really love, you can stick to it with the confidence you’ll get the same taste every time you brew it.

Single origin has more variability, and expresses the changes in flavour that reflect different weather, growing conditions, and farming techniques from year to year. It tells a story about where it came from. We have a relationship with the single origin farmers who supply Switch Espresso, and each has their own story to tell. Each year it’s a pleasant surprise as we explore the new flavours coming through, roast the beans and figure out the perfect extraction techniques to get the most out of each coffee.

How to prepare them

Single origin coffees display stripped-back flavours, and to get the most out of them we suggest brewing them black and taking care to use an extraction method that makes the most of the flavour profiles present in your particular coffee. You might experiment with different espresso techniques, pour-over, French press and cold brewing.

For your flat white or latte, a blended coffee is more likely to give you a well-rounded flavour that stands up to a bit of milk treatment. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it as an espresso or long black!

What do the coffee snobs say?

Who cares? Drink what you enjoy.

If you’re interested in a journey of exploration, finding out about the flavours of coffees from different places, or even tasting different coffees side-by side then give single origin coffees a go. Switch’s single origin offering includes coffee beans from Brazil, Colombia, Congo, Ethiopia, Mexico and Nicaragua.

For those looking for a well-rounded coffee with rich flavour you can depend on, try a Switch blend such as BB IV, Brighton Up, The Dark Horse, The Rev, or Zap.