Saturday, February 6, 2010

Creating Blends

To blend or not to blend is a question many coffee drinkers have discussed.  There are so many fantastic coffees out there that some question the value of blending, preferring to drink and enjoy single origin coffees.  In my mind the advantage of blending is the never ending possibilites of flavor combinations to tantilize the pallet. 

I have read that the best way to develop a blend is to determine the flavor profile that you want to reach with your new blend, and then to experiment with coffees trying to fulfill that profile.  However I have approached this in a different way.  I always have several different coffees sitting in the kitchen.  Often when I want to make coffee I will try combinations of coffees.  Sometimes this works out and sometimes not.  If I like a combination, I then play with the proportions of the coffees until I find a the best possible combination.  I then decide if it is worth trying to sell and will ask friends to try the coffee out and get their perspective.  

There is also discussion among coffee roasters about the advantages of blending coffees before or after roasting.  I have blends that are done both ways.  My Whispering Pines, Baker Road, Sunrise, and Mountain Morning Blends are blended after roasting.  This allow the beans to be roasted to different levels, and allows for a compexity in the blend.  On the other hand for my Dark Star, Moondance, North Country, Sumatra Half Caff, and espresso blends I roast the beans together.  I find this process also works very well. 

Whispering Pines Blend is my best seller.  This coffee is available at the Potsdam Co-op in one of their bulk bins, and from the Mustard Seed In Watertown.  It is brewed at the SLU Bookstore Coffee Shop and Jack & Wezzie's Coffee Shop.  This coffee has nice body and acidity with fruit & chocolate notes along with a little zing added by a small amount of an Ethiopian coffee. 

Moondance Blend is roasted just into the dark roast range.  This allows the full flavors of the coffee to emerge, but keeps away the charred taste of many dark roasts.  It has good body with medium acidity.  This coffee is brewed at Jack & Wezzie's and The SLU Bookstore. 

Dark Star Blend is also a dark roast.  This coffee has notes of dark fruit and berries with a bit of spice in the finish.  Once again there is no charred flavor.  I'm not a big fan of dark roast coffee, but I like this coffee.  This is available from the Potsdam Co-op, Nature's Storehouse, and The Mustard Seed.

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