In the versatile and continuously evolving world of espresso, you’ve probably encountered various degrees of roasts offered by your favorite roasters. The blonde espresso is a particular roast that’s growing in popularity. Considering you’re here, I assume it’s already triggered your curiosity and you’re looking to learn more!
In this blog, we will learn all about Blonde Espresso and how it’s different from a regular espresso. We will explore the intricacies in the roasting process that differentiate it from a typical espresso roast and the complexities in brewing you need to appreciate to bring the best out of your beans.
What is Blonde Espresso?
A blonde espresso is brewed using coffee beans that are roasted anywhere between light to medium on the roast profile spectrum. These beans are roasted for a shorter period and make their way into the cooling tray at lower exit temperatures compared to traditional espresso roasts. This allows the inherent characteristics of the beans linked to the origin terroir and post-harvest processing methods to shine through in the cup. These characteristics can include distinct floral or fruitiness, brighter but pleasant acidity, and a juicy texture that enlivens your palate.
But why is the traditional espresso roast toward the darker end of the spectrum if such pleasant characteristics grace a lighter roast? The global coffee supply chain is complex and roasters have always found it challenging to source coffee beans that are consistent from season to season. Inconsistencies in the raw coffee beans directly translated to inconsistencies in the cup. Pushing the roast toward the darker end of the spectrum revealed more of the roast-related flavors in the cup rather than origin-specific or processing-specific notes. This enabled roasters to bring out consistent (but not necessarily the best) flavors using darker roasts compared to lighter roasts that highlighted inconsistencies in the raw coffee. Furthermore, darker roasts made the coffee more soluble enabling baristas to easily dial in their shots and deliver consistent espresso-based beverages to their customers.
With the growing focus on traceability, direct trade, and superior flavors in the cup, there has been a growing interest in blonde espresso. Specialty coffee roasters tweak their profiles to create lighter and more complex espresso coffee beans to enable brewers to bring out more sweetness, florality, and fruitiness in their shots. However, this also introduces a few challenges to the brewer considering that light-roasted coffees are lower in solubility and a few extra steps are required to dial them in. I’ll cover these extra steps later in this post to ensure you’re equipped with all the information you need to bring the best out of your coffee beans. Let’s explore the major differences between a blonde and regular espresso before we jump into the brewing instructions.
Difference Between a Regular Espresso and Blonde Espresso
Flavor Profile: While regular espresso offers bold, strong flavors expressing chocolate, caramel, and nutty notes bouncing off a rich texture, blonde espressos reveal complex floral, fruit, and spice notes. The lighter roast profile gives a low to medium body in the cup making for a very mild tactile. Blonde espressos are best had straight as they may not react too well with milk due to their milder body and brighter acidity.
Caffeine Content: Blonde Espresso may have slightly more caffeine than a regular espresso due to the short roasting period. However, the difference is minimal and hardly noticeable. The presence of Robusta in a blend has a much bigger impact on caffeine content compared to the just degree of roast.
Versatility in Recipes: If you like to experiment with the configuration of your espresso, blonde espresso roasts are an interesting option. You can allow extended periods of pre-infusion before you move into full-pressure extraction to yield sweet and impressive espressos. You can experiment with different grind sizes, pull extra-long shots like the slayer shot, and even introduce milk to create funky and unique beverages. While most of these tasks can be accomplished with a regular espresso roast, you can expect very unique and impressive results with blonde roast beans.
How to Make Blonde Espresso at Home
While a great deal of experimentation is possible to bring the best out of your blonde espresso roast beans, I have shared a simple recipe below that can be used as a starting reference. Remember, every coffee is different and you may need to tweak parameters such as dose, grind size, and brew time to achieve ideal extraction and the best flavors. But hey, don’t get intimidated by the variables. A little bit of practice will go a long way in transforming your coffee experience.
Coffee & Apparatus:
- Flush your grinder and drop your light-roasted coffee into the hopper.
- Set the grinder to a fine setting and grind out 18g of coffee. Adjustments to the grind size can be made after pulling your first reference shot.
- Prep your puck and begin extracting the espresso (with your timer on) with a weigh scale below the cup to weigh the shot. Stop the shot at 34g – 36g (ratio of 1:2). Check the time on your timer.
- The goal is to extract the shot within a time window of 25 – 28 seconds. If the shot took less than 25 seconds, your grind size should be finer. If the shot took more than 25 seconds, your grind size should be coarser.
- Make adjustments to your grind size and extract the next shot. Keep making adjustments until the shot is extracted within the ideal time window.
- Now it’s time to taste the shot! The ideal shot will be sweet and bright with little to no bitterness. As you are using light-roasted coffee, the coffee will weigh lighter on your palate (lesser body) but that’s just a small compromise for great taste. If you would like more body in your cup, you can opt for medium roast coffee instead of light roast coffee.
If you are unable to get a good cup using the recipe above, you can experiment with dosage, brew time, and grind size (keeping two parameters constant and changing any one) until you find the perfect flavor profile.
Go ahead and practice! I guarantee you’ll be pulling expert shots in no time.
The blonde espresso is a great way to unravel the inherent flavors in your coffee. While traditional espresso continues to remain widely popular, the blonde espresso is gaining a tremendous amount of traction in the specialty coffee space. The next time anyone complains that espresso is too strong or bitter, I recommend introducing them to light-roasted espresso.
Naivo Café brings you the best coffee beans from all corners of the world. Our meticulous roasting process enhances the bean’s distinct flavors while maintaining their innate qualities. We take great pride in delivering a remarkable coffee experience that will leave you longing for more. So, if you are looking to buy coffee beans online, you’ll need to look no further than our online shop.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What type of coffee beans are used to make blonde espresso?
Blonde espresso is made using lightly roasted coffee beans, often a blend of beans with complex characteristics or a traceable, single-origin specialty coffee. You can get blonde espresso coffee beans at Naivo Cafe’s online store.
What is the typical blonde espresso flavour?
Blonde espresso has a smooth and subtly sweet flavor profile with florality, fruitiness, or spice. It has a lighter body compared to regular espresso. It offers a subtler, but more complex taste for those who prefer a complex coffee experience.
What's the difference between blonde and normal espresso?
Blonde espresso is roasted for a shorter time than regular espresso, resulting in a lighter color and milder taste. It has a smoother, sweeter flavor with floral or fruit notes, while regular espresso has a bolder, stronger taste.
Can blonde espresso be used for milk-based beverages?
Yes, some blonde espresso roasts can be used for milk-based beverages. However, considering blonde espresso is higher in acidity, care must be taken with the roast profile to ensure the acidity is balanced enough to mix well with milk without creating any unpleasant flavors.