Blonde roast coffee has taken the coffee market by storm. Starbucks, masters of marketing, came up with a way to reintroduce the lightest of roasts to even the most hardcore coffee drinkers.
This roast was usually known before as the “cinnamon” roast, because of its light brown color. The truth is that because of people perceiving lighter roasts as being weak or for novice coffee drinkers, the lighter roasts had been falling out of the mainstream for a while, with people wanting to purchase the darkest, blackest of coffee beans.
How is a Blonde Roast Made?
For all of you who are not too familiar with coffee bean roasting, here’s the simplest way to think about the roasting process:
- The beans enter the roaster, they cook for a while, until…
- The beans pop. This is known as the first crack.
- Then, the beans are left to roast a little longer, and then…
- The beans pop again, though this time not as loud.
Now, usually, for most of the dark roasts, beans undergo all four of those steps. However, when trying to achieve a roast as light as the Blonde roast, beans are “dropped” immediately after the first crack. This makes for the lighter color that’s so characteristic of this roast, and for a much brighter, sweeter taste.
Is the Blonde Roast Weaker than Other Roasts?
Technically, blonde roasted coffee beans are much higher in caffeine content than any other roasts. That might seem strange, because it sounds counterintuitive but it turns out that caffeine is, to put simply, “burned away” during the roasting process. It is believed that the longer a bean it is exposed to extreme heat, the lesser the amount of caffeine we find in the resulting coffee bean.
Process of Roasting
But that’s not all. Coffee beans also have a significant amount of water in them that will evaporate as you roast them: The darker the roast, the smaller the beans are.
So, it turns out, it evens out in the end: The difference, although still present, will not be as pronounced as you might imagine once the beans are grinded.
So What’s the Difference? (Besides Taste)
Blonde might not be just a good option for you because of the taste: Studies suggest that this roast might be a “sweet spot” between undercooking or overcooking coffee beans. The longer beans are exposed to heat, the sugars in the beans start to break down, giving away too many of the flavors we are familiar with in coffee: the buttery or caramel hints in darker roasts, the smoky aroma of some of the darkest ones.
Yet it turns out the longer the cooking process is, the more the coffee bean loses its very well-documented antioxidant properties. So, the lighter the roast, the better it is for you! This is not to encourage anyone to eat raw, green coffee beans: These still require to be cooked for a while for the antioxidant properties to be at their best, and the Blonde roast just happens to last no longer than the moment when these properties are at their peak.
The difference in taste can also be attributed to these: While in darker roasts you will often find toasty, caramel flavors, this roast will offer a taste truer to the coffee fruit: There are citric, fruity notes in the resulting coffee that you wouldn’t ever find in darker roasts.
So, I Should go to The Blonde Espresso?
Well, it depends. The blonde espresso, although marketed literally as a “Blonde Espresso” is just blonde roast, then made into espresso.
For people who usually can’t stand having an espresso, this roast offers a much milder taste with less of that bitter, burnt flavor that is usually associated with espresso. Whenever you’re trying to introduce a friend to the world of espresso, it is highly recommended to make them try a blonde espresso first. Look at it this way: You wouldn’t offer an Irish stout beer to someone who’s never had a beer before, right?
It is also a very good option for sweet espresso-based drinks because you do not have to use as many sweeteners to mask the bitter taste of the coffee: less sugar is always a good deal!
The Acid Blondie
For all of its pros, there is one big, troublesome con to this roast: Its levels of acidity are the worst compared to any other roast.
This is a problem, first because ingesting acidic foods is detrimental for your health already even if you’re a healthy person, but there are people for whom acidic food have to be avoided at all costs. And, even if you’re not particularly affected by acid foods or drinks, if you’re a regular coffee drinker, you’ll eventually start feeling the symptoms.
The second issue with the high acidity content of the blonde roast is that brewed coffee, the higher the levels of acidity, the easier it is for milk to curdle. That can mean that some brands of milk or creamer won’t work as well as they should when drinking this kind of coffee. If you’re an avid fan of soy milk like me, well, you’re screwed. Soy milk curdles easily in even medium-dark roasts: It is incompatible with lighter roasts.
The lighter the roast, the clearer its origins
When it comes to specialty coffee, the Blonde Roast is an excellent option for people who want to tell even the smallest of differences between different origins. Since the longer you roast the beans, the more it will taste of roasted coffee bean, it is highly recommended the choose this kind of roast when you’re buying exotic coffee.
Since Blonde roasts already tend to reveal the flavor of the coffee fruit, which comes mostly from the silverskin, which is an extremely thin membrane of the coffee fruit that remains stuck to the coffee bean even after processing. This silverskin becomes chaff during the roasting longer roasting processes, separating from the coffee bean due to the heat. It’s in this silverskin where some of the most important antioxidant properties attributed to coffee are found and it’s also one of the reasons that your Blonde roasted coffee has those delicious floral and fruity flavors!
Best Way to Have Blonde Roast Coffee?
Well, that’s a good question. Having a Blonde espresso is surely the way to go if you want to savor all of the citrusy flavors of the blonde, however, we really recommend making iced coffee using this coffee! Here’s a quick recipe:
Blonde caramel macchiato:
- In a tall glass, pour a small amount of syrup and ½ tbsp. brown sugar.
- (optional) Before introducing the milk, we like to spike this drink with half a shot of amaretto.
- Pour milk (oat milk recommended) until the glass is half full, then sweeten with 5 grams refined sugar.
- Now pour over one shot of Blonde espresso and add some ice.
- To top it off, add a little caramel sauce on top; you can also add some extra sugar.
You can also try doing this same recipe but in a non-iced version, although we chose iced because Blonde roasts really tend to shine in these kinds of drinks because of their light body and their lack of bitterness: iced, sweet coffee drinks are the ideal match for light roasts, but the Blonde, in particular, goes great with drinks such as this one.