What's the Difference Between Single Origin and Coffee Blends?

Are you crazy about all things coffee? Do you go to bed each night, fantasizing about the first sip of your morning java, prepared lovingly by your Mr. Coffee® Optimal Brew™ 10-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker? If so, it's likely you've heard the terms "single origin" and "coffee blends" on more than one occasion. But have you ever wondered exactly what the labels mean? And does it make a difference to the taste of your daily brew?

Read on, because we have all the answers below!

What is a Single Origin Coffee?
The term single origin is essentially as it sounds - it means that the beans come from one place only, usually from a certain region or country. Single origin coffees may even be harvested from the same farm or estate. Given that they are sourced from one place only, single origin coffees tend to be available exclusively at certain times of year, contingent on the growing season of the geographical location from which they were derived.

What are Coffee Blends?
When coffee beans from multiple locations are roasted and mixed together, this is known as a coffee blend. It is not uncommon to find coffee blends including beans from nine separate places, although roaster will typically use beans from around two to four different locations.

Single origin coffees are typically derived from the same geographical region.

Understanding the Difference
There are a number of differences between the two kinds of coffee. Here are some of the most notable divergences:

1. The cost and Availability
Single origin coffee tends to be more expensive than blended coffee. The reason is availability and variance in the growing season - single origin coffees tend to be exclusively seasonal and produced to a lesser extent. This is reflected in the price of your coffee as a consequence. Blended coffee, on the other hand, uses a variety of different beans, meaning it can be produced year-round. For that reason, it costs a little less.

2. The Taste
Many individuals, particularly those who are well-versed in all things java, tend to enjoy single origin coffee as it affords them the opportunity to experience one particular taste, in its most stripped-down form. That's why it is more common for people to enjoy single origin coffees black, without adding ingredients such as milk or sugar. If you're someone who loves ordering a creamy cappuccino or a luscious latte at your local coffee shop, it's more likely that you'll be served a blended coffee. In most places this is nicknamed the "house blend."

It is widely argued, however, that blended coffee produces a much more flavorful final product - that's likely another reason why most coffees sold are of the blended variety. Indeed, when mixed together, the beans produce a taste that hits a number of chords - from the aroma, to the smoothness, to the many flavorful notes - think chocolate, citrus and more. Put another way, a blended coffee arguably provides a more layered and diverse drinking experience. That's not to mention the fact that creating blended coffee is something of an art form - bringing multiple different flavors together and balancing them out so they work together in perfect harmony is no easy feat. Kudos to the talented roasters!

Coffee Culture