by Rich Futrell
(Wait…Single Origin Blend?)
The popularity of blends in the coffee industry has come and gone and come back again. Blends have their rightful place in any roaster’s catalog, as they provide roasters with an opportunity to present a consistent product to wholesale and retail customers who are looking for a good cup of coffee that they can come back to time and time again, year-round.
There is a lot to explore when talking about creating a blend. One fun topic that we have been discussing lately at Genuine Origin is the Single Origin Blend. Yep, that’s right – Single Origin Blend.
When you really get down to it, all coffees are blends. No matter how specific and transparent the lot, every lot of coffee is created by blending and sorting the harvest to reach a desired lot size and flavor profile. Coffee is typically harvested over a period of weeks, and most coffee farms grow at least a few different varieties. Even a single farm microlot would consist of a blend of smaller lots that were harvested and sent into the processing pipeline on different dates, and a blend of the different varieties that are grown on the farm. Further blending can happen at the mill where producers from a specific region or cooperative may blend their individual harvests to present to a buyer. A little further down the supply chain is the QC lab at an exporting company who may blend lots together to fulfill a client’s volume, price or flavor profile requirements.
So why should the fun stop there? A recent conversation with a Genuine Origin customer went something like this: “I cupped through those Kenya Microlots, and I’m having a really hard time deciding between the Iyego AA and the Kiambaraa AA. I like the citrus of the Iyego, but I’m also drawn to the savory black currant notes in the Kiambara. It sure would be amazing to have all of that in one cup.”
Well, there is no reason why you can’t have all of that in one cup! Take a cue from the QC labs up the supply chain and blend the lots to achieve the cup profile that you are looking for. If you are a roaster who is interested in exclusives, this is fun way to make a totally unique single origin product. Genuine Origin’s 65-pound boxes and mixed pallet discounts make it easy to purchase several coffees at once. Like’em both? Buy’em both!
Should you blend the green coffee first or roast first and then blend? What about ratios? These are questions that only the roasters themselves, with sample roasting, cupping and experimentation, can answer. This is the fun part of our jobs – working with the coffees, trying different roast profiles and blend ratios, tasting the results and, finally, deciding what you want to present to the world.