What Makes A Good Coffee Blend

Are some coffee blends better than others? What makes one blend better than another? Are blends healthy? Let’s look at the pros and cons of good coffee blends vs. bad coffee blends.

good coffee blend

What is a Coffee Blend?

In theory, coffee blends are attempting to achieve similar results as vintners do with wine blends. For example, a wine vintner may create a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre grapes, commonly called a GSM. The hope here is that the end result is better than the sum of its parts.

Likewise, a coffee roaster may desire to develop a blend of coffee beans based on the prominent flavor notes of each type of bean. For example, a roaster may decide to mix beans that have strong chocolate notes with beans that have strong cherry notes. The goal, in this case, is to create a blend that tastes like chocolate covered cherries.

How Coffee Blends Are Made 

Green Bean Blend 

Most blends are made by mixing the different beans while they’re still green and then roasting them all together. Because different beans roast differently; coming to optimal roasting at different temperatures or different times in the roaster, roasting mixed green beans is usually disastrous. Yet, that’s how nearly all industrial coffee companies create their “blends”.

Roasted Bean Blend

Some roasters take the time and effort to roast each single-origin bean separately. That means that they’ll roast, say an Ethiopian bean. Then they’re roast a Nicaraguan bean, and then after they’ve both cooled, the beans are mixed.

Single Origin Roasting Blend

A single origin roasting blend is simply roasting the same beans, from the same field, into their individually different roasts, and then after cooling, blending those roasts together. Thus, this blending technique might look like blending 40% Dark Roast, with 40% Medium Roast, with 20% White Roast. Yet, all three roasts started with identical beans from the exact same fields.

Better Than Grandma's coffee
Spokane Coffee Roaster
Coffee Mold
travel coffee

Bad Coffee Blends

In my professional opinion, most coffee blends suck. Instead of isolating and capturing the best qualities of a bean and then isolating and capturing the best qualities of a different bean, and then blending them together, simply doesn’t work. A vast majority of the time, a blend of two, three, or 10 different beans ends up a muddled mess, tasting like crap. In my opinion a vast majority of blends are 100% marketing hype.

To make my point, there is no such thing as a “Christmas Blend”. Really? Coffee beans that taste like Christmas? Waite a second. I thought that large industrial, limp wristed, light in the loafers, woke coffee companies weren’t allowed to say the word “Christmas”. I guess they’ve probably changed the name to “Holiday Blend”. Whatever!

In reality, large industrial coffee companies buy the cheapest beans that they can find and then blend them together. Then they give this Frankenstein blend a fancy name. These coffee companies truly believe that you’re too stupid to discern between bad coffee and good coffee.

Good Coffee Blends

In my professional opinion, the only coffee blend that actually works, in fact it works very well, is the “Single Origin Roasting Blend”. I didn’t even know this blend was a thing, until several of my customers told me.

  • Dan from Everett, Washington blends 80% of my Costa Rican Delectable Dark with 20% of my Costa Rican White Lightning. He says it has a faint after taste of peanut butter.
  • Eric and Angela from Post Falls, Idaho, blend 50% of our Costa Rican Delectable Dark with 50% of our Costa Rican Majestic Medium for their own personal Espresso Blend.
  • Bev from Post Falls, Idaho blends 50% of our Costa Rican Majestic Medium with 50% of our Costa Rican Delicious Decaf.

Apparently, blending single source beans that all come from the same field, just roasted differently, seems to work quite well. I’ve become a big fan of Dan’s Peanut butter Lightning Blend.

Best Light Roast Coffee Beans
Man size espresso

Espresso Blend

I can’t finish this article without weighing in on the “Espresso Blend” issue. First of all, espresso is a brewing technique. Espresso is not a bean. It is not a roast. And it sure as hell isn’t a blend.

If you like the results of using an espresso machine, then use whatever bean that you like. And use whatever roast that you like. If you like a particular bean roasted a particular way, then by God, go for it. Don’t waste your time or money on Espresso blends, which by the way, is 100% marketing hype.

Good Coffee Blend vs. Bad Coffee Blend

Let me tell you a true story. I used to be a software salesman. I was calling on the Raleigh Bicycle Company, USA Division in Southcenter Washington, just south of Seattle. Being an avid bicyclist, I was totally stoked to be giving this presentation to the executive management team.

Starting out my presentation, in order to develop rapport with my audience, I enthusiastically asked the executives what model bike they rode? With twelve pair of dear-in-the-headlights eyes staring back at me, I enthusiastically asked again, “What bike do you ride”?

Without any shame, they said that none of them rode bikes, BUT they thought that Jimmy in the paint shop road a Kline (competitor). Those pathetic excuses for executives should have been fired on the spot.

Here’s the bottom line. Industrial coffee companies and Wall Street marketing firms, much like Raleigh, care about one thing and one thing only and that’s separating you from your money. They wouldn’t know a good coffee blend vs. a bad coffee blend if it bit them in the butt.

Diabetic Coffee
why roasted coffee doesn't last
Russell and Alisha Volz
Good Coffee Blends vs. Bad Coffee Blends
How To Make Instant Coffee

Lake City Coffee

Alisha and I started Lake City Coffee in 2015 because we couldn’t find decent whole bean coffee in our hometown and not even online. So, we started Lake City Coffee as a 100% online business. This gave us the opportunity to taste test coffees from around the world and it didn’t cost us a cent. Eventually, we came to the definitive conclusion that coffee from Central America was the smoothest and had the best taste for the buck. Then we determined that the best coffee in Central America was from Costa Rica. Finally, we discovered that the best Costa Rican coffee came from the Tarrazu Region. So, since 2015, we have been sourcing 100% of our beans from this region.

Here’s the bottom line of what makes Lake City Coffee unique. Alisha and I generally don’t like coffee. We’re not big coffee fans. Simply put, we’re coffee snobs. If it isn’t world-class coffee, we won’t take a second sip. Each year, we source the beans that we like. Then each week, we roast them the way we like. Then our customers get what’s left over.

Fortunately for you, we have plenty of great coffee left over. In fact, every Tuesday morning we roast, take our cut of the beans, and then ship what’s left over to you. In fact, the beans are still warm when the boxes are delivered to the post office. That’s why we say, “From our roaster to your table in 24-72 hours”.

Good Coffee Blends vs. Bad Coffee Blends


Recent posts

Can I Freeze My Coffee Beans?

April 16, 2024
Can I freeze my coffee beans?

Some of the most common questions that I here from…

Best Coffee Pour Over Made In USA

April 1, 2024
coffee pour over made in usa

A vast majority of coffee pour over brewers are made…

Health Benefits of Coffee

March 9, 2024
How Much Caffeine Is Enough for Athletes

The health benefits of coffee are numerous and have been…

Lake City Coffee

"From Our Roaster to Your Table in 24-72 Hours"