'Single origin' is a caffeine status symbol, it's perceived as better, but is single origin coffee really better? Not necessarily and I'll explain why.
A boutique or micro-roaster might prefer a single origin coffee bean as it associates them with a particular region and even a particular farm. Like a vineyard, the beans, if exceptional, can become a brand. The disadvantage
The advantage then, of blending, is that we can take complementing flavours and create a rich, rounded brew, that's consistently the same. When you drink our Barista blend, for example, it's consistency has to do with the fact that it comes from the same region, but not necessarily the same farm. Slight differences in each bean will be offset by the fact that it's blended with other beans.
The art and science of blending is a long process. We play around with flavours and roasting techniques to bring out the best in each bean. Our Java Reserve and Antiqua is the same blend, but the difference is that we roast Java at 218° and Antiqua at between 225° and 228°. Same beans, yet a very different flavour: Java is rounder and more fruity, while Antiqua is slightly more bitter, with lower caffeine - here more sugars and oils come to the surface.
Because we only buy
Blend before or after roasting?
We prefer to roast and then blend. Here's why: The coffee beans from some African countries are smaller than their American counterparts. If you take the green beans, blend them and roast them, you've got smaller, harder beans mixed in with bigger, softer beans perhaps. Each bean will roast differently and you end up with some of them burning and some barely roasting. Each bean will taste completely different and not necessarily complement each other. We prefer to roast each bean type separately, bring out its best notes and then blend them accordingly. We'll roast a Brazilian bean at 215° to bring out its best qualities, an African bean might best be roasted at 218°, but quicker, and a Central American bean might be wonderfully rounded also at 210°, but for three minutes longer. This brings out each bean's individual qualities and we'll then blend them in the best ratios to make the flavour sing.
So when you're next buying coffee, don't get hung up on a term like single origin. Try our blends, you will be pleasantly surprised.
All the best