A witty title, or just a typo? Actually an attempt at the former, as I begin my education and experimentation into the world of coffee bean blending. The emphasis here is squarely on ‘begin’.
So far we have looked at roasting set ups, roasting, tasting and a few other bits and pieces set around the humble bean. All things I have been doing for a while now, some longer than others. One area I am yet to tackle is something I know considerably less about – the art of blending. Sure, I know when I taste a good one, though creating one is quite a different story.
Why do I consider this as something worthwhile to spend time on? The answer is a simple why not? It’s all part of learning and developing after all, and is something I hope will provide a better overall taste in the cup. I see two main approaches we could take down this road, and I hope over a series of posts on this topic you will learn something along with me.
Where should we begin?
1. Plan, consider, research, plan some more, roast, read a little and scientifically add a number of different bean varieties together; or
2. Throw together the remaining beans from a couple of roast batches – because it can’t be that hard right?
Where did I begin?
With option 2 above, which, all things considered is very out of character, but something I have been working hard to change (that is, over planning to the point of paralysis). I must admit writing on these pages is largely responsible for that, which is very pleasing given it is one of the main reasons for setting up this blog.
The two bean varieties involved were the Brazil Toffee Cerrado, and Ethiopian Sidamo, both of which I have previously written about as far as roasting and taste testing posts. In combining these blends, my goal was to hopefully get the best of both worlds from their individual strong points. Namely, the body and chocolate / caramel flavours of the Brazilian, and the fruity blueberry profile and acidity of the Ethiopian.
Result – The Whack
How – Aeropress, Latte
Assessment – Overall, a reasonable combination. In the Aeropress, the chocolate, sugar and caramel undertones were present, and with the addition of the blueberry, the overall flavour was somewhat reminiscent of a smoothie, this being particularly evident as you can imagine in the latte. There was a greater depth of flavour overall, however the blend did not reach any great heights. Perhaps this will be more difficult than I thought? In all honesty this is exactly what I expected given there are people who make careers out of roasting and blending.
Conclusion; Know This – Probably the point to make here is that the blend created above was certainly drinkable. Was it better than either of the varieties on their own? In the case of the Cerrado, I would say yes, as the addition of a little acidity and fruit flavours broadened the overall flavour profile nicely, whereas in the Sidamo, probably not, though in initially reviewing this varietal, I did rate it more highly than the Cerrado to begin with. Therefore in ‘knowing this’ I will say yes, a little more research is needed, however invaluable to this process is what we have now. A starting point, the very thing which will now move us forward.
Overall Rating: 3.75/5Follow @petedenison
- What’s Brewing #1 (dept4.net)
- What’s Brewing #2 Ethiopian Sidamo (dept4.net)
- The Whack (dept4.net)
- Sidamo- Deri Kochi, Ethiopia, Butterworth & Son: a tasting note (buyanybeansnecessary.wordpress.com)
- The Coffee You Don’t See in Your Market (ebcoffees.wordpress.com)